Bill Belichick on illegal push: Jets 'were using the play themselves'

Bill Belichick is back to being himself.

A day after issuing a rather uncharacteristic mea culpa about a controversial penalty that ultimately resulted in a New England loss on Sunday, the coach essentially called the Jets cheaters -- or at least hypocrites -- during a conference call with reporters.

Belichick's loaded comment came Tuesday after being asked about reports that the Jets had alerted officials that the Patriots had used an illegal technique while defending field goal attempts the previous weeks against the New Orleans Saints.

“Well, I mean, since they were using the play themselves I don’t even know about all that,” Belichick said of the Jets. “But basically we’re just moving on here.”

Patriots rookie Chris Jones was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for pushing teammate Will Svitek while trying to block a 56-yard field goal attempt by Jets kicker Nick Folk. The kick was no good, but the 15-yard penalty led to a second chance for Folk, who connected from 42 yards out to win the game for the Jets.

After initially denying any wrongdoing, Belichick admitted Monday that the Patriots had misinterpreted the new rule against such pushes on field goal attempts and that the penalty was warranted.

Belichick's comment Tuesday seems to be referring to Stephen Gostkowski's game-tying field goal late in the fourth quarter, during which the Jets' Quinton Coples does appear to give teammate Muhammad Wilkerson a one-handed shove through the line.

But the Jets weren't flagged for that apparent violation. In fact, no team had ever been penalized for it until the Patriots were on Sunday in overtime with the game on the line.

And everybody knows that the Patriots are supposed to benefit from obscure rules not suffer because of them. Maybe that's what is really irking Belichick.


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