Bill Belichick wasn't upset with clock running at end; communication his issue


DENVER -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fuming on the sideline Sunday night on the team's final fourth-quarter drive, as the clock ran when play resumed following an "excess timeout" awarded to the Broncos for an injured player.

Why was Belichick so upset?

In his day-after-game conference call, he explained the turn of events from his point of view.

"I think the way that it was ruled was right. The communication involving the play, and all that, probably could have been handled better somehow in the process," he said, before deferring to the league office.

What seemed to irk Belichick was that referee Tony Corrente didn't explain over his microphone, or in a visit to each sideline, what was happening.

This is what Corrente said as injured Broncos defender Malik Jackson walked off the field slowly: "Timeout on the field for an injured player. By rule, Denver will be charged an excess timeout. Will the play-clock operator please set the play clock to 40 seconds."

And with that, Corrente walked back to his position on the field, blew his whistle, and play began again with the game clock ticking down from 24 seconds.

By the end of the next play, when there were 10 seconds left on the clock after cornerback Chris Harris was called for holding, Belichick was hot on the sideline about losing 14 seconds.

By rule, Corrente was correct in running the clock as play resumed, because the clock had been running when Jackson was injured. In those situations, once the player is removed, the clock should start on the referee's ready-for-play signal.

Corrente never explained this -- to the fans watching the game or the coaches on the sidelines.

As for Belichick, he has spoken in the past how one thing he hopes for with all officials is good communication so coaches know what is happening. Sometimes, he explained, it is hard to hear announcements on the in-stadium public address system, so a sideline visit helps. He once shared that is why he appreciates having Ed Hochuli referee games, as Hochuli is known for his verbiage and communication with all involved.