Chuck Cook/USA Today Sports

Bill Belichick uses Rob Gronkowski's near catch to note he still wants goal-line, pylon cameras

Ryan Hannable
November 13, 2017 - 2:23 pm

Rob Gronkowski has five touchdowns this season, and almost had a sixth Sunday night against the Broncos.

In the first quarter, Tom Brady appeared to thread the needle on a low throw to Gronkowski at the goal line. Gronkowski dove and did everything he could to prevent the ball from hitting the ground, but the play was ruled incomplete. The Patriots needed to call a timeout before the next play and during the timeout Bill Belichick threw his challenge flag, but in the end the ruling of an incomplete pass stood.

Speaking on a conference call Monday, Belichick thought his tight end caught it, but understood where the ruling came from. He also used it as an opportunity to note how he still wants the league to have goal-line and pylon cameras.

“First of all, I do have a lot of trust in Rob and I think Rob knows when he catches the ball and when he doesn’t," he said. "Like you said, all players like to think they catch them all. Sometimes that isn’t the case. That’s OK. I understand that. I don’t put a lot of faith in that, although the fact that he did feel like he caught it, I think made me look at the play a little bit closer maybe than I would have if he hasn’t been so emphatic about it. As we looked at it, I took a timeout, which didn’t have anything to do with the challenge. I could have just challenged it in the first place, but I didn’t do that. I probably should have, but anyway.

"We did have time to look at it a little bit longer during the timeout and it looked to me like he caught it, but the ruling on the field was that he didn’t. In the end, it might not have been enough video evidence to overturn it. Had the ruling gone the other way, I don’t know if there would have been enough evidence to overturn if it would have been ruled a catch, I don’t know if there would have been enough evidence to overturn that the other way. In any case, it went the way it did. I understand that.

"Again, not that it made any difference on that play, but again, I’ll take this opportunity to say 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 pylon camera would have given a good opportunity. I think we saw that at the end of the Kansas City-Oakland game a couple of weeks ago that the great shots that the camera gave. Again, I think this would be just another example of — in the end it didn’t make any difference in the game last 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 you are 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 that made the call was standing pretty close to me on the sideline. He was probably 30 yards away. It was a close play. I saw it the same way he did. It was really close. Maybe the league can find a way to finance that project and get a good quality shot on some of those goal-line plays like they had in the Oakland-Kansas City game.”

This dates back to 2014 when at the owners meetings, Belichick suggested the league hold a bake sale to finance these cameras.

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