John Harbaugh: Issue With Patriots’ Four-Lineman Plays With Officiating


John Harbaugh is still a little baffled by the New England Patriots’ four-offensive lineman formations.

The Ravens head coach fell victim to some tricky offensive sets from Patriots coach Bill Belichick in Baltimore’s 35-31 divisional-round playoff loss, and after the game, Harbaugh said the formations were “clearly deception” and that “the (NFL) will look at that type of thing.”

But Harbaugh told reporters Tuesday that his issue was with the officiating, not the formations themselves.

“My thoughts are the same as they were during the game and after the game,” Harbaugh said, per The Baltimore Sun’s Jon Meoli. “It was about the mechanics of the officiating. I never had an issue with the formation, never even brought that up. It wasn’t about the formation at all.

“I had a chance to talk to (referee) Bill Vinovich during the game, and he addressed it. He said that was right. There’s a certain timing that goes with that, in terms of the referee getting back into position to referee the game. The ball was snapped so quickly that he didn’t have a chance to do that. … Bill was great about it. He said he would slow it down.”

Harbaugh went on to say that while he did call the league about the officiating, he didn’t believe it had an effect on the game’s outcome.

“I thought it was well handled, and talking to the league afterward, since then, (vice president of officiating) Dean (Blandino) has told me it’s being looked at, and the mechanics are being looked at, and some changes will have to be made,” Harbaugh said. “In no way did I think it determined the outcome of the game. I was asked about it, and I answered.”

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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