Bill Belichick has vehemently denied that the New England Patriots cheated to win against the Baltimore Ravens at the weekend. This comes after Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called it unsportsmanlike the way that Belichick and the Patriots made receivers ineligible and ran plays with four offensive lineman.
4 Lineman of the Pat-pocalypse
This debate has sparked a whole heap of conversation on the internet, with people in two distinct. There are those whom think that Belichick is very smart for drawing up the plays, while everyone else is on the side of it being wrong and essentially cheating.
What's not up for debate however, is how much the Patriots managed to outfox the Ravens overall, and the excellent job they did in limiting the Ravens offensive stars in Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett and their use of more conventional plays including Julian Edelman throwing a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola.
No Problem on Punts
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Belichick said when pressed about whether the league should look into the way he lined up his players.
“I mean, that happens all the time. You come in on a punt team, ineligible guys report as eligible. They line up as guards and tackles on the punt team. The center, the center’s numbers in the NFL are eligible players that report ineligible. Then they cover punts."
"We’ve seen it on offense. We see it particularly a lot on special teams, the kicking game, punting game — not so much on the field goals because you have your linemen protecting there. But I’d say it happens every game on the punt team."
"You’re allowed to do that. I don’t really understand what the question is. If you want to talk about the rules, you should talk to the NFL rules people about that. They’ll tell you about it.”
Whilst Belichick is right about this thing happening on punts, he did pretty much do his best to skirt how it never really happens on offense - well in the way the Patriots did it at least.
But then again maybe Don Shula is right after all, calling the Patriots coach "Beli-cheat" earlier this month.