By: Ian Logue
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick stood at the podium following Monday night’s disappointing loss the the Panthers and he clearly wasn’t happy.
In the background there was plenty of cheering as noise filtered in from what was a jubilant stadium after seeing their football team defeat New England in what ended up being a wild ending. The Patriots had been handed their third loss of the season following a controversial call, or in essense, non-call, by the officials at the end of regulation. It sparked a profanity laced tirade that had been caught by the broadcast from Tom Brady, who went off on the officials at the end of the game as they were walking off.
Belichick didn’t get that chance nor the courtesy from the officials to explain why a flag was thrown and later picked up at the end of the game that would have given his team once more shot to pull off the win. Now here he was, quietly fuming while the Panthers and their fans were relishing in the victory.
Bill Belichick wasn’t happy with the lack of an explanation as to why a flag was thrown and then picked up Monday night in Carolina. (USA TODAY Images)
For the first three minutes of his press conference he talked about how his team simply didn’t make enough plays, and that “it wasn’t good enough” and how “they just came up short”. In between each answer was plenty of dead air and eventually team spokesperson Stacey James tried to pull the plug 3-minutes in when it seemed like this post game ritual was headed no where.
But Belichick, oddly enough, turned to him and said, “I’m O.K.” and stared him down, seemingly indicating he had more to say. Now if only someone would just come forward and prod him so he could voice some of this frustration with how it all ended.
After all, fifteen minutes earlier his team was trailing 24-20 yet they were driving down the field for a potential go ahead touchdown, having battled their way from their own 20-yard line down the the Panthers 18. With :03 left all they needed was one play. Once chance. Just one opportunity to try and pull off their second dramatic win of the season.
Tom Brady dropped back to throw and decided to take a chance on letting the guy who had previously caught his 40th career touchdown reception earlier in the game get that opportunity, so he let it fly, hoping the tight end Rob Gronkowski could help pull off that miracle.
Unfortunately Gronkowski wouldn’t get that opportunity after he was face guarded and wrapped by Panthers’ linebacker Luke Kuechly, who pushed him out of the play and allowed safety Robert Lester to seemingly ice the game with the interception.
But the back judge saw the violation and threw the flag, and suddenly it seemed like the Patriots weren’t done just yet since a penalty in that situation would have given them new life.
Instead, the officials held a quick conversation, the flag was picked up, and then the men in striped shirts scurried out of the stadium without much of an explanation, leaving Belichick and his football team wondering exactly what happened.
Now here he was, still standing there after refusing to end his press conference. Perhaps he was looking for an opportunity to voice his displeasure and just waiting for someone to ask him just the right question?
Fortunately WBZ’s Steve Burton spotted what was going on and asked Belichick if he had gotten a sense of exactly what happened on the play, and this appeared to be just what he was looking for.
“No,” said Belichick. “There was no explanation given to me.”
Burton seemed surprised that an NFL head coach like Belichick wouldn’t have at least received some sort of explanation of what had just unfolded. But according to Belichick, that’s what happened – and he wasn’t happy about it.
“No. The officials ran off the field, and I didn’t see anything,” said Belichick. “I’ve gone through that before. The last time I tried asking an official a question about a call, that was the wrong thing to do. So I have no idea.”
What Belichick was referring to was what happened last season when he chased down an official during their loss to the Ravens and tried to get him to get him to explain what ended up being a pivotal call at the end of the contest. The official continued to run off the field and Belichick tried to grab his arm to get him to turn around and talk to him. He paid the hefty price of $50,000, a for that transgression and decided he wasn’t going to go that route this time around.
“We’ve been down that road before,” said Belichick when asked if he deserved an explanation. “Didn’t get one tonight, didn’t get one at the Baltimore game. Guess that’s the way we do it.”
It seemed to at least be the verbal jabs he was looking to land to make it clear he wasn’t happy with how the situation was handled, and he later said he’ll be following up with the league regarding that lack of an explanation.