The Jets missed a long, 56-yard field goal in overtime that would have given the Patriots very good field position. However, the Patriots were penalised for illegal pushing on the kick, setting up an easier field goal that the Jets did not miss.
On the original field goal attempt, Chris Jones (no. 94) of the Patriots moved in behind a teammate and then pushed that teammate forward in an effort to block the kick (cont. below) …
According to Mike Pereira, a former official, this is a new rule and this is the first time it has been called this season.
However, according to Bill Bradley of NFL.com, pushing a teammate is only illegal if Jones was not on the line of scrimmage at the start of the play. During this play, it appears that Jones is indeed on the line of scrimmage when the play started, which would make the push legal.
Unfortunately for the Patriots the first time the rule was used, it appears that it was used incorrectly, and it came at a very crucial moment, costing the Pats a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Four plays later, Nick Folk made his kick from a much more manageable 42 yards.
[UPDATE] After the game, NFL.com edited the story by Bill Bradley mentioned above. Prior to the edit, the text read (emphasis ours) “Team B players not on the line of scrimmage at the snap cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.”
After the game, the text was changed with the portion in bold removed. It now reads “Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.”
What is especially curious about this is that Bill Belichick could be heard on the sideline yelling at the officials “he was on the line!” That would suggest that Belichick also thought the rule only applied to players not on the line of scrimmage.
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