The New England Patriots and New York Jets rivalry has been great over the past few years.

The trash-talking Jets have always made the game more interesting, insulting Tom Brady and Bill Belichick on numerous occasions. Of course, the Patriots got their revenge, posting a 7-3 record — including the infamous the butt-fumble from last year's Thanksgiving game — against the Jets coming into Sunday.

However, the New York Jets won on a controversial call due to a new rule. New England rookie Chris Jones committed an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty, shocking both New Englanders and New Yorkers. This penalty negated a missed field goal by Jets kicker Nick Folk, and it set up a 42-yard game-winning field goal.

Initially, the flag confused fans, players and head coaches alike, but was soon made clear when Belichick began protesting fervently on the sideline. The Jets would finally see a penalty not called against them.

The rule is known as Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 from the NFL rule book, which states: “Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.”

For further explanation, ESPN Boston got this explanation from referee Jerome Bolger: “The call was that No. 94 on the defense pushed his teammate into the formation. That is a rule change for 2013 that a teammate cannot push a teammate into the opponents’ formation.”

While some have now deemed the NFL as the “No Fun League”, there appears to be sound reasoning behind the rule. At least according to the biggest beneficiary, Nick Folk.

“What they’re trying to do is clean that up,” Folk said, via ESPN. “The offensive line guys, they don’t get a chance to fire out like a defense they just have to sit there and take it. They made a new rule for the center so you have to stay off them on field goal-field goal block. They can’t get it because they’re sitting there with their head between their legs. They can’t even try to protect themselves. It’s just a protection thing trying to clean up the game.”

Most football fans most likely did not know that these centers were in danger during field goals. This probably explains the confusion and knee-jerk reaction by fanatics across the country. But, in the name of player safety, the NFL established this rule and it was made clear during the preseason. Just ask the victim, who admitted he was aware of the rule after the game:

“The mistake was mine,” Jones said. “I take it.”

The rules are the rules, but it is just a shame that a penalty was the deciding factor in the game.

[Standing O Sports]


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