While the officiating was objectively poor Sunday at Gillette Stadium, Nick Wright is finding it tough to feel sympathetic for Patriots fans.
The case can be made the referees cost New England not one, but two touchdowns in its 23-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The errors surely were more frustrating for Pats Nation given how the team’s offense has been performing of late, and a win over one of the top teams in the AFC could have served as the catalyst for New England as the postseason nears.
But as Wright pointed out Monday morning on FOX Sports 1, lousy officiating happens from time to time and teams are left with no other choice but to deal with it. The “First Things First” co-host believes Patriots fans should know this better than most, as New England has been the beneficiary of a few questionable calls over the course of its dynastic run.
“This is, to me, so rich and borderline unbelievable — the reaction to, for the first time in my memory, some tough calls going against New England,” Wright said. “It’s raining here in New York City this morning. It actually is just all the tears pouring down from the greater New England area from all the crying that’s been going on over the last 12 hours about this.”
"The reaction to, for the 1st time in my memory, some tough calls going against New England is so rich and borderline unbelievable. It sucks to have the calls go against you. That's the NFL in 2019 guys, welcome to it New England Patriot fans." ? @getnickwright pic.twitter.com/BuV5GAhKyT
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) December 9, 2019
Wright continued: “It sucks. Listen, it sucks to have the calls go against you. It sucked early in the game when the Patriots clearly roughed Patrick Mahomes. They threw a flag for it and the refs got together and said we’re not gonna call it. It sucks when there’s a phantom blindside block called on the Chiefs left guard. It sucks when there’s a huge play and there’s a phantom holding penalty called on the best right tackle in football, Mitchell Schwartz, and it sucks when you lose the penalty yardage battle 136 to 25.
“… So Patriots fans, as much as this hurts, you guys remember the Super Bowl you went to a couple years ago? When you were down 10 and would have been down 17 against Jacksonville but the refs whistled it dead? I don’t even have to go back 20 years to when we invented the Tuck Rule. Nobody ever heard of the Tuck Rule. So hey, Pat fans, I feel your pain ’cause the whole league has been feeling this pain except for New England fans for 20 years. In a game where they have 111 fewer penalty yards than their opponent, it still finally feels like, ‘Man, it kind of went against us.’ That’s the NFL in 2019, guys. Welcome to it, New England Patriot fans.”
Yes, the Patriots have the grounds to point to the referees as a leading factor in their second consecutive loss, but it’s off-base to entirely lump the loss on the officials. In addition to the huge gap in penalty yards, New England also won the turnover battle and largely subdued Kansas City’s high-flying offense. The Patriots historically have come out victorious under these conditions, but another lackluster offensive showing prevented New England from vaulting back into the win column.
The frustrating loss likely will linger with Patriots fans over the coming days. But as for the players, their attention already has shifted to the next challenge.