New England Patriots playmakers beware: If you reach for the pylon, Bill Belichick is going to put you on the bench.
“Interesting tidbit from [Michael Lombardi] on GM Street [podcast],” wrote NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling. “Patriots players are forbidden from extending at the pylon or while falling across goal line in process of catch. Belichick has made it clear they will be benched.”
The reasoning here is pretty simple. Almost nothing good happens when the player doesn’t fully control the ball, and Belichick knows it.
Take his win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Sunday, Steelers tight end Jesse James appeared to catch a pass and then extend the ball while lunging for a winning touchdown. Review showed that the ball hit the ground and came loose, though. Rather than a catch that won the game, it was an incomplete pass. After that, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw another pass that was tipped and intercepted, and the Patriots won.
That’s exactly what Belichick doesn’t want to happen to his offense. He’d far rather just have a catch to the one-yard line with another chance to punch it in.
Plus, there are plenty of examples of players reaching for the pylon and losing the ball, fumbling it through the endzone. Not only is that not a touchdown, but it’s a turnover. It technically creates a touchback and gives the ball instantly to the opposition.
Belichick’s position is clear. If you can’t score with full control, just go down. Give the offense another chance. Don’t take the risk.