Bill Belichick Disputes Gene Steratore’s Claim About Controversial Fumble Call

'Not reviewable'


Jan 2, 2023

Could the Patriots have challenged Sunday’s controversial non-fumble call on the Miami Dolphins?

We still have no idea.

During the first quarter of New England’s eventual 23-21 victory, Patriots safety Jabrill Peppers forced an apparent fumble on Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert. But the officials ruled Moster’s forward progress had been stopped, a blatantly bogus call that rightfully drew comparisons to Rhamondre Stevenson’s game-losing fumble the previous weekend.

The play wound up not costing New England, as Miami punted a few plays later and the Patriots went on to score a touchdown, but it still was another strange officiating moment in an NFL season that’s been full of them.

The situation got weirder after NFL referee-turned-officiating analyst Gene Steratore offered his two cents.

“Progress was ruled too quickly, but this specific instance is reviewable,” Steratore tweeted Sunday afternoon. “Since the ball came loose following immediate contact and there was a clear recovery, I believe replay would have overturned and awarded the ball to New England.”

Wait, what? Forward progress is reviewable? That was news to seemingly everyone, though Steratore knows more about NFL officiating than most people.

Well, Bill Belichick has a different take.

“Not reviewable,” the Patriots head coach said during a Monday morning Zoom call. “Forward progress isn’t reviewable.”

Thankfully, New England’s season-extending victory spared us another week of heated debate over NFL officiating.

The Patriots now will turn their focus toward next Sunday’s massive road game against the Buffalo Bills. If they win, they clinch a spot in the NFL postseason. Belichick’s team still could earn a postseason berth with a loss, but it would require some help from other teams.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
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