- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick opened his Monday afternoon press conference with a statement about the incident at the end of Sunday night's game in which he grabbed an official as he was leaving the field.
"I've been asked about the situation at the end of the game, so I'm just going to take a couple of minutes to explain that, and that'll be the end of it. On the final kick, after we took the timeout, and rushed the kick, from the sideline I saw the ball go pretty close to the upright, I couldn't obviously tell from where I was at where exactly it went. But I saw players waiving that it was no good, then I saw the officials giving the signal that it was good, and I just wasn’t sure from where I was standing whether the ball, when it went over the cross bar, was above the upright or in-between or not in-between the upright. So by rule, if the ball isn’t over the crossbar, and it’s either inside or outside of the upright, that’s reviewable. If it’s over the crossbar, over the top of the upright rather, then it’s not reviewable. I couldn’t tell, from my angle, when the ball crossed the crossbar, where it was. So I didn’t know whether or not that play was going to be under review or whether it wasn’t.
“So when the game was over, I went out and I was really looking or an explanation from the officials as to whether or not the play was under review. I did try to get the official’s attention as he was coming off the field to ask that, but I really wasn’t able to do that.
“I’ve coached in this league a long time. I’ve never been penalized, never had any incidents with officials or anything like that. I have never meant any disrespect or in any way tried to abuse or be disrespectful to the officials and the job that they do. I was trying to get an explanation for obviously an important call/play in that game. That’s the No. 1 thing between coaches and officials, it’s always at the forefront, just communication of what’s going on and what’s happening.
“As many of you know, I’ve been involved in a game like this before, in 2000, here in Foxborough with Johnny Grier as the referee. Drew [Bledsoe] was trying to throw a pass at the end of the game against Miami and the ball was ruled a fumble. The clock ran out and the game was over. Then, as I was walking off the field with Johnny at that time, I talked to him about ‘This seems like an incomplete pass, there should be more time on the clock, we should have another play here.’ [His response was] ‘No, that’s the ruling, the game’s over.’ We go back into the locker room, 10 minutes or so later, Johnny comes back and says they are reviewing the play and we may have to go back out and finish the game. About five minutes after that, players got dressed, we came back out for a final play in that game.
“So I’ve been through a situation at the end of a game where it’s over, but it’s not over, that type of thing. That was really the situation last night. I was trying to get the official’s attention to get an explanation on it. In no way, was I ever trying to do anything other than that.
“I have nothing further to add about that situation, but that’s what happened.”