Patriots Mailbag: Only Morons Believe In Officiating Conspiracy Theory

The New England Patriots are still over a week from playing the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, and the effort to drum up controversy has been downright impressive.

Some people are trying really hard to formulate a conspiracy theory on why the Patriots don’t get flagged as much as other teams that isn’t explained away by better coaching and more discipline.

Let’s get into that.

All year Pats have been hammered about getting calls. What do you think?
— @greenleaf_chris
Hello, Chris. I’m glad you asked.

Let’s get something out of the way first. A referee was not celebrating with the Patriots on Sunday in their AFC Championship Game win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Here is the still you’ve seen:

This is what actually happened.

The ref was separating Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson from the Patriots. Patriots offensive tackle Cameron Fleming pleaded with the official, who smiled.

The conspiracy theory, in general, is flat-out idiocy, and I’m not exactly sure what is the accusation. Do folks genuinely believe the Patriots are paying off officials? A team whose reputation already has been tarnished with (overblown) cheating scandals is going to start paying officials? That, with all the risks involved, would be good for business? That would be smart?

Do people genuinely believe in a mass conspiracy by the NFL in which officials are told explicitly to favor the Patriots? If you believe that, then why are watching football? If it’s all rigged, then why do you have a rooting interest in a team that’s not the Patriots? If that’s the case, then exclusively watch WWE. The storylines are better.

Those who genuinely believe the Patriots win because of officiating bias — not because they have the best head coach and quarterback in league history — deserve to sit in a corner and wear a dunce cap made of tinfoil.

No offense.

This is funny, by the way.

Using Ray Lewis to illustrate your point, that is.

There’s more on this topic in here.

Do you think the patriots will re-sign Malcolm Butler this off season #MailDoug
— @Pollock_Jt
It certainly didn’t seem like it coming into the season after the Patriots gave Stephon Gilmore a five-year, $65 million contract last offseason.

But Butler has underperformed his expectations this season. Did that do enough to lower his price tag for the Patriots to keep him around as a free agent? Maybe.

I’d still bet he’s gone after the season, but the Patriots will need to replace him. Gilmore is great as a No. 1 cornerback, but would they have enough faith in Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones (coming off an injury), Cyrus Jones (coming off an ACL tear) and practice squadders Ryan Lewis and Jomal Wiltz to fill in behind? Probably not. So, the Patriots would probably like to replace Butler with another veteran cornerback or a high draft pick.

At a certain price, it would make sense to just bring back Butler.

Do you think we will re-sign Amendola and Lewis this off-season?
— @cooterfarr3
I think Danny Amendola will come back. He has New England roots and has shown a propensity to do everything in his power to stick around in the past.

A team might outbid the Patriots for Lewis, however. He’s significantly raised his value this season, and the Patriots know he’s an injury risk.

I think some Patriots free agents could depart for the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions to follow offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, respectively, this offseason. Both teams would be interesting fits for Lewis.

Dwayne Allen and Phillip Dorsett are they on the roster next season?
— @MannyOrtiz1991
I believe Allen would have to take a significant pay cut to stick around. If I were him, however, I might prefer to be released. The tight end could sign a one-year, prove-it deal with another team, receive more targets and perhaps sign one more decent contract the next season.

Dorsett is worth bringing back in training camp to see if he can beat out other wide receivers. He has plenty of upside and seems to like being a Patriot. He made a nice grab on a flea flicker in the Patriots’ win to advance to Super Bowl LII.

Are Bennett or Harrison back next year?
— @PatrickS1591
I can’t see either one of them returning. Bennett has a better chance of returning if only because he’s actually signed through next year.

I could still see Bennett electing to retire. I’m definitely not convinced the Patriots would be willing to keep him on board for next year’s $6.2 million cap hit.

Bill usually focuses on taking away a teams best offensive weapon, for example Henry (Titans) & Fournette (Jags). Who should be the main focus of emphasis that BB looks to shut down on Philly’s offense? Foles, Ertz, Jeffrey, etc…I’m struggling with this one. #MailDoug
— @coach_pat13
I’d probably go with tight end Zach Ertz, but I also think safety Patrick Chung will do a pretty good job on him. Same goes for wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and Gilmore. Gilmore is an ideal matchup for a big wideout like Jeffery.

I think the Patriots will give Malcolm Butler and Eric Rowe significant help on wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith. Both are big, fast targets.

The Patriots might focus the majority of their attention on beating the Eagles’ run-pass option plays, if anything.

Is it time for Steve Belichick to move up to defensive coordinator position?
— @Doodles_more
No, I expect Brian Flores to be the next defensive coordinator, but I also could see Flores quickly being hired away. He already received interest from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Steve’s father, was 33 years old and in his 11th NFL season when he became a defensive coordinator in 1985 with the New York Giants. McDaniels was 30 years old and in his sixth season when he became offensive coordinator of the Patriots in 2006.

Steve Belichick is 30 and currently in his sixth season with the Patriots as a coach. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to be named defensive coordinator. But he’s currently blocked by Flores.

Let’s go rapid fire.

favorite and least favorite ios game?
— @oko
Hey Magann.

My favorite right now is probably Falling Ballz. I got really into Steppy Pants and Slither.io for a while, though.

how’s olivia?
— @oko
Hey again, Magann.

She’s great. She making a lot of fart noises with her mouth recently, which is pretty cool. I’m impressed when a 5-month-old does anything, though.

who’s going to win each royal rumble?
— @oko
Oh hey, it’s Magann again.

I have no idea, but I’ll say Finn Balor and Asuka.

which pats rookie or young player might not be the X-factor but has the potential to have quietly a really good game.My vote would probably be Adam Butler but Elandon Roberts is due.
— @WalterLongworth
I would go with Adam Butler. He’s been playing well as an interior rusher recently.

Where is media row at the Super Bowl this year? #MailDoug
— @BodenPollack
At the Mall of America. No kidding. I’m spending the week in a mall.

It’s going down.

Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
— @salvaje50
Dunkin Donuts.

Last year at the Super Bowl, I was staying in the Galleria district of Houston across the street from the Patriots’ team hotel. I walked over to the Galleria mall to get a coffee from Starbucks, and I saw Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan walking through the mall together. I was waiting for my coffee, and Ryan walked by and said, “Starbucks guy, huh?”

Offensive co-ordinator suggestions?
— @MikeIsTheBest
My best guess is wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, unless Belichick decides not to name an offensive coordinator, or if they hire from outside the organization.

Thoughts on Vince McMahon launching (Re-launching XFL?) a new football league again? 🤣 #AskDoug
— @BlakeJM
I think it’s the dumbest thing ever.

No one wants to watch bad football.

BK french fries or McDonald’s french fries
— @JakeTurano
McDonald’s.

What’s the best Super Bowl halftime show ever?
— @BruinsScience
You know I’m a sportswriter, right?

Still questioning how you enjoyed The Last Jedi over the prequels. #AskDoug #MemberBerries
— @naulvaldez
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was better than the Star Wars prequels because the Star Wars prequels are boring trash.

Is Josie on a vacation far away? #MailDoug
— @joshuajturano
No, she brings me Mexican food from Sombrero’s just because.

Who wins a fist fight, Brady or Foles?
— @Rivetts5
Tremendous question. I think I have to go with Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. He’s just bigger. Patriots QB Tom Brady is so skinny at this point in his pliable career.

Matt Slater, a potential hall of famer? #MailDoug
— @englander_tyler
Yes. Gilmore is on this bandwagon, too, by the way.

@DougKyed In the unfortunate circumstance that both Brady and Hoyer go down, is there anyone else who can play QB?
— @bruceastrachan
I think the emergency quarterback would be either Chris Hogan or Danny Amendola with Julian Edelman out for the season.

The Patriots don’t even have many players who were quarterbacks in high school. Gilmore and tight end Jacob Hollister were high school QBs, though.

Gun to head you can only chose one for 20 years knowing what we know now, do you chose BB or TB? #MailDoug
— @MikeWLSBaseball
Ugh.

I guess I’m going with Belichick. A head coach/general manager just has more impact on a team than a quarterback.

Why are pats practicing outside instead of indoors seeing as the Super Bowl is indoors.
— @kyle_burd
I would guess it’s mostly because the Patriots have limited space in their practice bubble. If they’re outside, then they have multiple fields on which to work. The field house has a low roof and just one shortened field.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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