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Patriots Narrowly Avoid Another AFC Championship Game Scandal

Something everyone, including the broadcast, missed could’ve turned into a controversy

NFL: AFC Championship Game-New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots won the AFC Championship again this year, and fans and pundits around the country are trying to make excuses about how they did it. Pointing out a few questionable calls that went the Patriots way during the game, while omitting the ones that went against them. Well, there was almost an even bigger situation that the Patriots could’ve been dealing with.

The refs did something that confused everyone on the Patriots drive in OT. After Gronk beat Eric Berry for a 1st down on 3rd and ten, the Patriots had the ball 1st and 10 at the 15 yard line. Rex Burkhead then ran the ball for 10 yards giving the Patriots another first down. Or did he? The side judge signaled for a first down, and then the broadcast went to a shot of Andy Reid’s face. When they came back, this is what we saw:

Notice that the graphic says 1st and goal, but the down marker says 2nd down. For some reason, the sticks were taken off the far sideline, but they are clearly there on the near sideline. Then Burkhead runs again, and the Patriots pick up a 1st down, but the broadcast says 2nd and goal:

Burkhead runs it in on the next play, so none of this matters, but, in the 1st quarter they were stopped twice in a row at the goal line. Imagine if that had happened here? What if the nation, including the two guys calling the game thought it was 4th down, but it was actually only 3rd? The country would be embroiled in a debate about how the Patriots get unfair treatment from the league, and how they cheated their way to another Super Bowl.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that, and we only have to listen to legitimate gripes. Like how the Rams are still upset that we taped their walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI. OK, so we’ll have to listen to stupid people saying stupid things all week, but at least this is one less thing they can talk about.

Shout out to Pats Pulpit fan, and Eagle Eye, Evan Picco, for the tip

Pat is the host of The Patriot Nation Podcast

Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats