Video claims to show officials moving first down marker in Patriots game
And so, we welcome you back to yet another edition of 'are the New England Patriots gaining an unfair advantage in the NFL via some nefarious wrongdoing or other'.
Granted, not the snappiest feature title of all time, but you get the gist. At this point, accusations of misdeeds by the Patriots organisation is a yearly tradition to rival the coming of the tooth fairy and the New York Knicks enraging their own fan base.
Belichick's Patriots have, of course, something of a chequered past when it comes to toeing the line of the NFL rulebook, as fans of literally any other team will be all too happy to point out. We need only to cast our minds back to Spygate and Deflategate to remind ourselves of the times that Brady et al have found themselves on the wrong side of Roger Goodell's wrath.
But while there was some evidence to back up those claims of wrongdoings past, a new video that has emerged claiming to show the Patriots cheating after a first down marker was moved is perhaps a little more tenuous in its legitimacy as corroboration of some Patriots plot to game their way to a W.
Take a look at the footage yourself and see if you think the Patriots were cheating:
What do you think? At the very worst it looks to be an officiating error, rather than evidence of a league-wide conspiracy to help the Patriots, but as Yahoo Sports points out, the issue with the play actually appears to be the initial placement of the ball at the 15-yard line, instead of the 14 after a roughing the passer call.
In any case, this incident perhaps had less impact on the game than the divisive tripping call that was called on the Cowboys late in the game. The penalty all-but killed any hopes the Cowboys had of winning the game, and former Jets coach Rex Ryan theorised that Belichick may have sent film to the league before the game to put officials on the alert for potential tripping violations.
However, the Patriots head coach was asked about those accusations in a press conference and responded:
"No. I mean, the Cowboys are one of the least penalized teams in the league.
"They do a great job. I want to say they had the fewest pre-snap penalties -- you know, illegal formation and false start and stuff like that. They had one in our game offensively, but they rarely have that."
Another year, another Patriots conspiracy theory.