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    Wednesday
    Feb062008

    Flag Football

    belichick%20flag.jpgOh, that crazy Bill Belichick. He pulled another trick out of his hat in Super Bowl XLII that nearly had a huge impact on the outcome of the game.  Flash back: 3rd quarter, Patriots 7, Giants 3. Pats have the ball, they've just entered into Giants territory and are driving to go up 14-3, which would really lay the pressure on Eli Manning and the Giants offense. On 3rd and 5 at the Giants' 47, the defense hold Kevin Faulk to a 3-yard gain, forcing the Patriots into a punting situation. Punter Chris Hanson punts the ball to R.W. McQuarters at the Giants 13, and he returns the ball out of bounds at the 14 for a 1-yd return.

    But wait! Belichick is talking to the official and then throws the red challenge flag. His beef? The Giants had too many players on the field. Referee Mike Carey reviews the play and concludes that, yes, the Giants had 12 men on the field when the ball was snapped. Carey then pulled out his yellow flag and called a penalty on Brady%20Strahan.jpgGiants LB Chase Blackburn for Illegal Substitution, 5-yds, 1st down Patriots at the Giants 39-yard line. Tom Brady drives the Patriots to the Giants 25-yard line before suffering a 3rd-down sack courtesy of Michael Strahan at the 31-yd line. Rather than attempt a 48-yard Stephen Gostkowski FG attempt, Belichick curiously opts to go for broke with a Brady pass to Jamal Gaffney in end zone that falls incomplete, and the Patriots turn the ball over on downs with no points scored. The Giants fans sigh with relief.

    The question is, why was Belichick allowed to challenge a non-call for 12 men on the field? Since when can a coach challenge the fact that a penalty should have been called and wasn't? And if that's a legal challenge, then why can't other non-calls be reviewed as well? How about face-masks? Intentional grounding? If you say, "well, it was a dead-ball foul," then how about offsides and illegal formation calls? When Belichick challenged too many men on the field, he technically opened the door for any coach to challenge virtually any situation and mikecareyref.jpgchallenge any non-call by the officials, and that's not the intent of instant replay in the game and it certainly isn't in the best interests of NFL officials or the game itself. Mike Carey is a damn good ref, but it seems like dropped the ball by letting Belichick get in his head when he should've said, "sorry, Coach, that's not reviewable. Period."  It's also baffling that FOX announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman bought all of this hook, line, and sinker. Maybe FOX didn't want them to stir up any controversy during the Super Bowl Pageant, but it's hard to believe someone like John Madden or Dan Dierdorf would've let that call slide without at least some discussion of the ramifications.    

    Reader Comments (4)

    i saw this reviewed a couple times throughout the season
    Feb 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjustin
    Hey, don't rain on my tantrum!!!
    Feb 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjpeydee
    I agree with what you say but there is more. The Pats had already run a 4th down play. They had punted so wasn't it too late too challenge?
    Mar 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJasper
    I'll have to go review my DVR recording of the game. It's probably one of only 10 copies in CT that hasn't either been bronzed or burned.
    Mar 11, 2008 | Registered CommenterJoey

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