How awful was the ending of the Patriots-Jets game today? I know I’ve mentioned how annoying Boston is, so seeing the Patriots get shafted should make me happy, but the end of today’s game was preposterous. Now, this opinion may be affected by the fact that I had chosen the Patriots in a survivor pool, but still.
As Jets kicker Nick Folk yanked a 56-yard field goal attempt wide left in overtime, Chris Jones of the Patriots was flagged for pushing one of his teammates forward into the line of scrimmage.
That’s right, this season, it’s now illegal to push a teammate into the line on a kick attempt. This rule has been a bugaboo for special teamers, drawing flags across the league throughout the first six weeks of the season.
Oh, wait, I’m sorry. This foul has NEVER BEEN CALLED IN A GAME EVER.
With the extra 15 yards and a first down, the Jets went on to kick the game-winning field goal a few minutes later.
Look, I understand rules are rules. I do. And this is a rule, so theoretically it was the right call; I’ve seen the replay and I can’t tell if he pushed his teammate or just ran into him on his way to the kicker. The problem is, why is this a rule?
Apparently it’s because of “player safety.” But who are you protecting by outlawing pushing your own teammate into the line? You’re not banning guys from pushing the other team’s ball carrier out of bounds. You’re not telling guys they can’t push a receiver to the ground after he makes a catch. Pushing in and of itself is legal all over the field; why is this different?
Regardless of what I think, the rule is on the books, and as such, officials should call it. However, it’s been missed (or ignored) so often this season that the league sent out videotapes to officials, showing them all the times it should have been called but wasn’t. Unfortunately for the Patriots, the umpire decided that today was the day he was going to notice it.
I’d be interested in seeing footage from every kick in that game to see if this really was the only instance of that happening. If so, fine. If not, that’s a horrendous decision by the official and should be punished.
One more thought: this game was in New Jersey, which according to the NFL is part of New York. Had this game been played in Foxboro at the Patriots’ home stadium, there is absolutely zero chance that flag gets thrown. None.
Why not? Safety, of course. For the officials.