“The replay system is not working. The ruling on the field stands. New England will not be charged a timeout.”
That was the announcement made by referee Walt Coleman midway through the fourth quarter of the New England Patriots’ 30-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night, and represented an embarrassing moment of sorts for the NFL.
The Patriots (leading 30-13) had challenged a completion to receiver Julio Jones, directly in front of the New England sideline. Bill Belichick was decisive in throwing his red challenge flag after it was ruled Jones had made the catch.
Then, after what seemed like a lengthier-than-normal delay, Coleman informed the nation that the replay system was down.
We all saw Belichick’s reaction, his arms lifted into the air, his palms pointing up, his head shaking as if to say, “Are you serious?” (we're going with the PG, family-friendly version here.)
A day later, he was asked about the unusual occurrence during his weekly radio interview on sports radio WEEI.
“In that situation, you’re just playing without replay, which is the way we played for years and years. That’s what it is, but I mean, the fact we have however many zillions of dollars committed to this system and it doesn’t work, that’s a whole another discussion,” Belichick said on the “Salk and Holley” program.
Nice little zinger there from Belichick, who said he also would have challenged the second play after Jones’ upheld catch, when he felt an incomplete pass should have instead been a Chandler Jones sack.
The system was later fixed.
“That’s a question that really should be asked to the league office and the officials, because I don’t have a good answer for it,” Belichick said.