AFC East: Bill Leavy

Will trash talk boost Jets-Pats penalties?

January, 15, 2011
Here's example No. 1,675 why it's a bad idea to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.

In response to the kind of colorful dialogue you might hear in a Quentin Tarantino film, the NFL has warned teams to watch themselves on the field and that any intimated threats can be used against players if they commit unsportsmanlike acts in the game.

In two tweets, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed league vice president of operations "Ray Anderson contacted multiple clubs this week so they could remind players comments of a physically threatening nature are always taken into account in evaluating discipline for illegal physical contact on field."

That goes for you, Bart Scott.

The vociferous New York Jets linebacker suggested they would be hunting for New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who made several soulful remarks about Sunday's game, likely an homage to the foot-fetish videos Jets coach Rex Ryan and his wife posted on the internet.

"I'll tell you what," Scott told Newsday reporter Roderick Boone. "Be very careful what you say about our coach. [Welker's] days in a uniform will be numbered. Put it like that."

Teams have complained Patriots quarterback Tom Brady receives preferential treatment as it is.

This week's rhetoric, most of which has emanated from the Jets, will have referee Bill Leavy's crew on high alert for head shots, unnecessary roughness and other such unsportsmanlike penalties that could prove costly, especially for Scott, who has been flagged for those types of infractions a few times already this season.

A breakdown of the Jets' misbehavior penalties in the regular season:
  • Unnecessary roughness four times.
  • Personal foul three times (Scott with two of them).
  • Roughing the passer twice (Scott with one of them).
  • Roughing the kicker once.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct once.
  • Taunting once.

And the Patriots' rundown:
  • Unnecessary roughness four times.
  • Personal foul twice.
  • Roughing the passer twice.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct once.
  • No roughing the kicker.
  • No taunting.

Although Levy will be working with an all-star assembly Sunday, his guys in the regular season called unnecessary roughness five times, roughing the passer five times, personal foul twice, unsportsmanlike conduct twice and taunting once. They ejected one player (Tennessee Titans safety Donnie Nickey in Week 8).

Both personal fouls on Levy's watch happened in the Patriots' overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6. Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather (for his hit on defenseless Ravens tight end Todd Heap) and Ravens fullback LeRon McClain were the perpetrators.

G'day from Gillette Stadium

October, 17, 2010
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Despite a glorious New England autumn day, traffic on the way to Gillette Stadium Sunday morning was atrocious for whatever reason. So I'm finally in the press box and ready to cover a big clash between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.

ESPN will have you blanketed like nobody's business. In addition to the AFC East blog, be sure to visit to read the insights of Mike Reiss, Jackie MacMullan and Mike Rodak et al. Michael Smith will be reporting for television.

Check out our "Countdown Live" in-game chat starring Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson, Reiss, Rodak and me.

The Weather Channel's forecast is for a high of 65 degrees with no chance of precipitation. But wind could be a factor, with gusts up to 15 mph expected.

The referee will be Bill Leavy. A review of game data through five weeks shows Levy's crew's most common penalties are false start (13), offensive holding (12), defensive offside (eight) and defensive pass interference (six).

Also of note, since Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has derided Patriots quarterback Tom Brady about whining over too much contact and begging for flags, Levy's crew has called roughing the passer only once, but on other over-aggression penalties they've flagged unnecessary roughness four times and unsportsmanlike conduct twice.