Rob Gronkowski believed he got screwed out of a touchdown reception Sunday night. Bill Belichick didn’t disagree.
Speaking on a conference call Monday afternoon, the New England Patriots coach said he believed Rob Gronkowski got his hand under a Tom Brady pass at the goal line that was ruled incomplete during the Patriots’ 41-16 win over the Denver Broncos.
Belichick acknowledged, however, that the call on the field of an incomplete pass was difficult to overturn. (The officials agreed, upholding the ruling after the Patriots challenged.) He then resurrected his argument that the NFL to institute goal-line cameras into its replay system — a cause he has backed for years now.
“Again, not that it made any difference on that play, but I’ll take this opportunity to say that I am all for trying to get these plays right, and I think that would have been a good example of where a goal-line camera or a pylon camera would have given a good opportunity,” Belichick said. “I think we saw in the Kansas City-Oakland game a couple weeks ago a great shot that the camera gave. In the end, it didn’t make any difference in the game (Sunday) night, but had that been the final play of the game or one of the final plays of the game in a close game, whichever side it was on, you just want it to be right. Whether he caught it or didn’t catch it, just make sure that we make the right call.
“It’s a tough call. The official who made the call was standing pretty close to me on the sideline. He was probably 30 yards away (from the play). It was a close play. I saw it the same way that he did. It was really close. So maybe the league can find a way to finance that process and get a good quality shot of some of those goal-line plays, like they had in the Oakland-Kansas City game.”
Belichick’s note about financing the process brings to mind one of the coach’s greatest one-liners. At the NFL owners meetings in 2014, after he first proposed the rule change, Belichick deadpanned that the league could consider holding a bake sale if the cost of additional cameras was an issue.
“We just spent however many millions of dollars on the replay system,” Belichick said, via ESPN.com. “I mean, there are 1,000 cameras in every stadium, so if somebody spills a beer on somebody, we have it on record, right? Maybe we could have a bake sale to raise some money for the cameras. We could do a car wash.”
Gronkowski told reporters after Sunday’s game he was “100 percent sure” he caught the pass in question.
Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images