Tedy Bruschi watched Sunday night’s game between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. And he, like many Patriots fans, wasn’t quite sure what to make of the officiating.
Several questionable calls went against the Patriots in New England’s 30-24 overtime loss, including a critical offensive pass interference penalty on tight end Rob Gronkowski in the fourth quarter. Even if penalties weren’t directly to blame for the Patriots’ first defeat of the 2015 season, they undoubtedly played a role, and Bruschi expects Bill Belichick and Co. to take a proactive approach.
“I shake my head at the officiating,” Bruschi said Monday on WEEI’s “Dale and Holley.” “I see the team, like (quarterback) Tom (Brady) especially, arguing the calls and how it was called and what Rob (Gronkowski) did, especially on the offensive pass interference, because Rob has had those calls in the past.
“So this is what I know: (The Patriots) are going to talk to the league. They are going to call the league and say, ‘We have a player. He’s been called for multiple offensive pass interference calls. We want to know exactly what he’s being called for, why he’s being called and how can we adjust it?’
“They make that call. After that call, they have a meeting with the player. They go into an offensive meeting — or whatever it may be, it may be on the practice field — and say, ‘OK, you’re getting called because you’re doing this. However, if you do it this way, it should be OK.’ ”
It sounds like Bruschi might have seen a similar situation play out during his 13-year career with New England. If not, the former Patriots linebacker, who now serves as an NFL analyst for ESPN, at least knows firsthand how meticulous the organization can be when it comes to such issues.
Gronkowski has been called for more offensive pass interference penalties than anyone in the NFL this season. Bruschi even wonders whether the Pats already reached out to the league for clarification.
“It seems like that is the information they got,” Bruschi said. “If he were to put his forearm out and use that to shield himself rather than get off and push with both hands, maybe that is what they were told and maybe that is why players like Tom were so upset about it, because that is the information they got.”
Don’t expect the Patriots to blame poor officiating for Sunday’s loss, even if they’re upset behind closed doors. NFL referees have dominated headlines this season, though, and the Pats have been right at the heart of their controversial ways.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi