Sportress of Blogitude

Bill Belichick: Rule applied reversing Jesse James touchdown ‘clearly stated’

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots were the benefactors of the application of the NFL’s controversial catch rule during Sunday’s victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, perhaps it’s not a surprise the Patriots head coach defended the rule and its subsequent interpretation during Sunday’s game, calling it “clearly stated.”

The play in question occurred late in the 4th quarter when Jesse James appeared to score a touchdown that would have given the Steelers the lead with 28 seconds remaining. Officials ruled, however, that James lost control of the football, thus making it an incomplete pass.

However one feels about the catch rule — and it without question is viewed as one of the more confusing and aggravating aspects of the NFL game — Belichick feels the rule was correctly applied in this instance. Although Belichick left the door open to the possibility the rule could be improved. It’s just not his place to say one way or the other.

“Well, I think that’s really a conversation for people like Al [Riveron] and the league and so forth,” Belichick said during a conference call with reporters, via CBS Sports. “But, there’s always been a philosophy in the league and it’s gone back several decades of philosophically whether you want to have a catch and a fumble or an incomplete pass, and the philosophy has always been incomplete pass. Otherwise, you’d have a million catches and fumbles. I agree with that.

“The catch in the end zone is very clearly stated, so you’ve got to complete a catch. It’s pretty clear. Whether there’s a better way to do that, I don’t know. It’s a tough rule. It’s a bang-bang play. It could go either way, so I think you have to have a philosophy and whatever philosophy you have then there will be people on the other side with a different philosophy and then it really gets back into that whole discussion.

“I think if you’ve got a better way to do it, suggest it and let somebody take a look at it and we’ll talk about it. I don’t know.”