The Jets, To The Patriots: "Hang On A Minute"

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The Patriots' hurry-up offense is quick—too quick, according to the Jets. They point to a crucial moment in the Patriots win over the Broncos two weeks ago in which the Patriots had sped up their offense so much between snaps that the Broncos didn't have time to make substitutions. That's not fair: if the offensive team is making substitutions, then the defensive team should be afforded the same liberty, and moreover, hurrying up only for the sake of eliminating defensive substitutions isn't allowed.

This is the restriction in question, from the rule book on

With the exception of the last two minutes of either half, the offensive team, while in the process of substitution or simulated substitution, is prohibited from rushing quickly to the line and snapping the ball with the obvious attempt to cause a defensive foul; i.e., too many men on the field.


Most teams use their hurry-up offense inside the last two minutes of either half, negating the importance of that rule, but the Patriots "have been leaning on the no-huddle offense to keep opponents off balance," and have even brought in Oregon's fastbreak specialist Chip Kelly to talk to the team. While the purpose of that offense is partly to keep the defense off balance, and your interpretation of the rule hinges partly on your definition of the phrase "obvious attempt," Calvin Pace may have had a point when he described the Patriots strategy as "borderline illegal" this past Wednesday. At the very least, it makes sense to point out the possibility to the referees.

Which brings us to the only part of this that doesn't make much sense: why are the infamously motormouthed Jets talking to the press about this instead of just bringing it up with the officials? A member of the Jets coaching staff told Sal Palantonio, "We have already talked to the league office and Rex (Ryan) will be in the ref's ear about this all game." OK! That ought to work, right? I mean—why tell Sal Palantonio? In a Twitter exchange, Jets beat writer Bart Hubbuch and Patriots beat writer Greg Bedard discussed that exact question. Hubbuch suggested that it made sense to work the refs through any means necessary, including the news cycle. Bedard responded, "[Y]ou're assuming they read stuff on Sunday morning."


It would be interesting to know for sure whether referees do or don't read the papers (or their electronic equivalents) before games, but it's also safe to say the Jets haven't needed that excuse in the past.

Jets Talk To NFL About Pats' Offense [ESPN]