The New England Patriots have been the most dominant franchise in sports for almost two decades now, and while many of their numerous wins and accomplishments have been rightfully earned, it would be unfair to say they haven’t benefited from a little luck along the way. Much of this luck has come from poor officiating that has placed New England in advantageous situations.
With that in mind, here are five instances in which the Patriots received some help from the referees.
Believe it or not, the New York Jets had a chance to beat the Patriots in this game. Seferian-Jenkins caught what looked to be a touchdown and was originally called as such, but the call on the field was overturned and ruled as a touchback due to the fact that the tight end ever so slightly juggled the ball as he broke the plane of the end zone. Not only did the Jets miss out on a touchdown, but they also lost possession of the ball and went on to lose by seven points.
The Jaguars had bottled up the Patriots offense for almost the entire first half of this game and were a minute and a half away from heading into halftime with a 14-3 lead. However, the refs called a very questionable pass interference penalty against A.J. Bouye that gave New England the ball inside Jacksonville’s 10-yard line. The Patriots would capitalize on this and eventually go on to win the game thanks to some Brady heroics in the fourth quarter.
The most recent example of the Patriots being aided by the Zebras came on Sunday vs. the Dallas Cowboys. New England benefited from not one, but two tripping penalties called against offensive linemen that were the definition of ticky tack. Seriously, when was the last time you even saw a tripping penalty called in an NFL game? We can’t recall either. This is just the latest example of how things always seem to work out for the Pats.
The NFL could not figure out what a completed catch looked like in 2017, and this was the most glaring example of all. The Pittsburgh Steelers scored a go-ahead touchdown with less than 30 seconds left in the contest when James caught a pass over the middle and extended the ball over the goal line for six. The officials reviewed the play and eventually ruled it an incomplete pass since the tight end did not survive the ground with possession of the ball. Roethlisberger threw an interception on a fake-spike attempt a few plays later that sealed the Steelers’ fate in this one.
Ah, yes. The bogus rule that jump-started New England’s dynasty. Who could forget this one? The Patriots were trailing the Oakland Raiders by three points late in the fourth quarter of a snowy game when Tom Brady seemingly fumbled the ball … or did he? The refs went on to overturn the call on the field, and New England went on to win the first of their six Lombardi Trophies. The Tuck Rule would later be removed from the NFL rulebook in 2013.