Report: NFL Says Patriots’ Four-Linemen Formations, Substitutions Were Legal

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The NFL took no issue with the New England Patriots’ unique substitutions and formations Saturday night.

The Patriots caught the Baltimore Ravens by surprise with a rarely seen formation utilizing just four offensive linemen. The formation clearly confused the Ravens to the point that Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh called the moves “deception.”

However, an NFL spokesperson told ESPN on Sunday morning that the Patriots did nothing wrong, as their formations and substitutions were legal and within the rules.

Harbaugh’s biggest gripe, though, was he thought the Ravens weren’t given enough time to decipher the situation.

“We wanted an opportunity to be able to ID who the eligible players were, because what they were doing was they would announce the eligible player and then time was taken and they would go over and snap the ball before we even had the chance to figure out who was lined up where, and that was the deception part of it,” Harbaugh explained after the game.

“And that was where it was clearly deception. So the officials told me after that they?d give us the opportunity to do that, which they probably should have done during that series but they didn’t really understand what was happening.”

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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