Bill Belichick Used a Blowout Over the Jets to Expose a Weird Loophole

In Tuesday’s Hot Clicks: Bill Belichick makes a statement about the rule book and more.
Publish date:
Patriots coach Bill Belichick smiles vs. Jets

This is what makes Bill Belichick happy

Bill Belichick did a weird thing on Monday Night Football. He smiled. 

Some people might call that more of a smirk than a full-blown smile, but by Belichick standards it might as well be an ear-to-ear grin. 

I wasn’t watching the game (anyone watching the final 10 minutes of a 33–0 pasting needs to have their head examined) so I was really wondering what could have made Belichick so pleased that he had a rare regular season outward display of emotion. The answer, naturally, is some picayune football nonsense. 

Belichick, showing mercy for once, decided to punt with the clock approaching 10 minutes and the Patriots facing a 4th-and-2 from the New York 33. New England intentionally took a delay of game penalty but the Jets declined it. The Pats then took an intentional false start penalty, which was also declined, before finally punting it away. 

Typically you take a penalty there to back the punter up a little bit so he has a better chance of pinning the opposition in deep. That wasn’t Belichick’s aim, though. Up by five scores, he was trying to make a point about the NFL’s clock management rules. 

Because the clock was running at the time of the first penalty, it kept running after the play clock was reset. That allowed the Patriots to run more than a minute off the clock. 

After the game, Belichick was asked if there was any “gamesmanship” involved in the decision. 

“No, it was just the way the rules are set up,” Belichick told reporters. “We were able to run quite a bit of time off the clock without really having to do anything. That’s probably a loophole that will be closed and probably should be closed but right now it’s open.”

Leave it to Belichick to take so much delight in the minutiae of football, and to realize that he could use a worthless play to highlight it and turn it into a news story. 

But the league can’t change the rule until after the season, so I kind of hope Belichick finds a way to use this loophole to win a playoff game. Then he’ll really smile.

The best of SI

Stephanie Apstein’s column about an Astros staffer’s behavior is making a lot of waves this morning. ... As the NBA tips off its 74th season, here are 74 reasons to be excited about this year

Around the sports world

The 49ers are raising ticket prices but season tickets will include unlimited free food. ... Slate spoke with the SkyCam operator who captured that awesome angle of Cordarrelle Patterson’s kick return. ... The coach of an undefeated high school team was fired and his team’s season was canceled because he let a suspended player back on the field under a new identity

MJ is out of his mind

The Patriots defense will do that to you

Big blow for the Warriors


All sports should be analyzed with these awesome graphics

Not sports

A New Jersey couple is suing Taco Bell because their meals cost $2.18 more than advertised. ... A guy named Tupac Shakur was arrested in Tennessee

Somebody has a lot of time on their hands

At least he’s having some fun with it

A good song

Email with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.