Be prepared for a new NFL rule next offseason, preventing full defensive line shifts.
The New England Patriots drew the Pittsburgh Steelers offside early in the fourth quarter Thursday night when they shifted their entire defensive line in the middle of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s cadence. Roethlisberger was visibly upset after the flag was thrown and wanted the officials to penalize the Patriots on the play.
“I thought that there was a rule against that,” Roethlisberger said, via USA Today’s Tom Pelissero. “Maybe there’s not. Maybe it’s just an unwritten rule. .. We saw it on film, that the Patriots do that. They shift and slide and do stuff on the goal line, knowing that it’s an itchy trigger finger-type down there.”
The penalty pushed the Steelers back to the Patriots’ 6-yard line, and Pittsburgh was forced to kick a field goal after failing to get into the end zone. The Patriots beat the Steelers 28-21 in the NFL Kickoff game.
The Patriots have found another loophole in the rulebook, according to the Steelers, that could be closed after the season, much like the ineligible formations New England used against the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin also insinuated after the game that the Patriots mess with opposing teams’ headsets, even though the NFL controls the communication systems. The Steelers heard the Patriots’ radio broadcast on their headsets. Bill Belichick said the Patriots also experienced problems with their communication system.
h/t to ProFootballTalk
Thumbnail photo via Phil Sears/USA TODAY Sports Images