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Bill Belichick Wants Another Video Camera Bake Sale for James White

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After the NFL overruled another call on the field, the Patriots head coach decided to speak up.

We've harped on the poor officiating in the NFL this season and we do it without the expectation of improvement. The officials are bad and the NFL doesn't think it's enough of a problem to wipe the Doritos crumbs off their pants, get off the couch, and make a change.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, however, is a perfectionist and he wants the league to improve. He has requested more sideline cameras and pylon cameras to ensure the officials will have more footage to make the correct call. Belichick's requests have been received with snorts of how can we afford these cameras?!

The need for the league to heed Belichick's request reared its ugly head when running back James White made an absolutely spectacular grab down the sideline.

White2

The original ruling on the field was for a completed catch, but Texans head coach Bill O'Brien threw the challenge flag because he thought that White's foot landed out of bounds, which would negate the catch.

Belichick first explained why the Patriots didn't hurry up to the line and run a play before the challenge flag.

"At times we've run up to the line and run a quick play and then it's second-and-10," Belichick said. "And that's not really the answer. And a lot of times if they're going to challenge a play, they're going to challenge it anyways if it's an important enough play. In that case, first of all, I think Bill [O'Brien] would have challenged both those plays regardless."

Belichick admit that he watched the play on the screen in the stadium and thought it was a catch, so he didn't believe the hurry-up was the right decision.

I've said many times before that I think because of the plays on the sideline, on the goal line and on the end line that the league ought to have cameras there. I don't think we should be worried about how much it's going to cost. -Bill Belichick

"I think in particular the White play it goes back to the whole issue of the angle of the camera," Belichick continued. "And was his heel actually on the white or was his toe on the ground and his heel above the white, how close it was.

"And I think I just would say what I've said many times before that I think because of the plays on the sideline, on the goal line and on the end line that the league ought to have cameras there. I don't think we should be worried about how much it's going to cost. If we need to raise money, we should raise money and get those set so that on those kinds of plays we have an absolute down-the-line angle of the play and not I would say the angles that I saw shown up on the screen, which none of them were down the line."

The rule states that "a decision will be reversed only when the Referee has indisputable visual evidence available to him that warrants the change." When there is no camera angle that shows the necessary angle, how can the officials overturn the original call on the field?

The broadcast showed the following still images as their best possible angles for the play:

Foot3

Neither of these are conclusive. The picture on the left looks like the heel is possibly on the sideline, but the picture on the right shows the heel is elevated and not on the ground. Is it conclusive that White's foot hit the sideline? Hardly.

I've highlighted two additional angles, and neither of them are conclusive either. I will say that it looks like the heel doesn't touch the ground in the left image, and that there's clear space between White's foot and the sideline in the right image.

Foot
Foot 2

But Belichick's point is more important than this individual play. The officials didn't have the necessary angles in order to overturn the ruling on the field.

"It's one thing when [the ruling is] very close," Belichick said. "It's another thing when you don't have a really good angle to see it and then therefore you can't make a good decision. I would still like to see a sideline camera on that so that we get the call right, whatever it is.

"Whether it was in bounds or out of bounds, let's just get an angle on those plays. If they happen out in the middle of the field, we all understand that, that's the way it goes. Whatever angle you see, you see. But on the sideline, to not have a down-the-line angle on plays like that or on a goal-line play or on an end-line play, scoring plays, I think we should have those in place."

There was a lot wrong with how White's catch was overruled as both the officiating and the footage left a lot to be desired. Monday Night Football provided a perfect example for the need.

Beckham

The league declared the above catch by Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. incomplete on the field of play, but the sideline camera provided the necessary angle to overturn the ruling and ensure that the integrity of the game was upheld.

Hopefully the league can get this right. The NFL seems to be implementing one Belichick request per year. Maybe the league can wipe off the Dorito dust and make the right decision in the offseason.