Sunday’s game against the Jets came down to the wire for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. In the process, it appeared as though the 70-year-old head coach was unable to find his challenge flag after a debatable call in the first quarter. And it made for a hilarious moment.
About seven minutes into the game, New York lined up to punt from around the 20-yard-line. Braden Mann got the kick off, but as he did, New England linebacker Raekwon McMillan came flying in from the middle.
McMillan did not touch Mann while in the process of punting. As Mann came down, he landed on McMillan and took a tumble.
As a result of the contact with the punter, the Patriots were flagged for running into the kicker. Although there is plenty of debate to be had about the rule itself, by rule, the call was not wrong.
However, had McMillan touched the ball before making contact with Mann, it would have been a clean play. The flag would not have been thrown.
And there is a possibility that he got a finger on the ball.
It didn’t seem as though there was contact with the football before Mann booted the ball away, but it was very close. McMillan may have touched the ball, which would have negated the penalty.
As Patriots fans let boos rain down at Gillette Stadium, the Jets got another opportunity to line up and punt. Meanwhile, on the sideline, Belichick considered throwing his challenge flag to see if McMillan got his hand on the previous kick.
There was only one problem. He appeared unable to find the red flag and New York got the snap off before he could issue a coaches challenge.
After the game, Bill Belichick was asked about the challenge that wasn’t. He claims that he didn’t think the close play was worth throwing the flag.
Video would say otherwise and it’s also a lot funnier that way. It sure looked like Belichick searched his pockets, both socks, and every possible orifice that may have held his challenge flag… to no avail.