The NFL has changed its rules based upon the success that has surrounded the New England Patriots since 2001, beginning with the “tuck rule,” and more recently and most likely – pass interference challenges and reviews, which may have cemented a Patriots defeat against a high-powered Saints offense had they made it to Superbowl LII on Sunday.
(From Colts vs. Patriots 2004) – 2005: receivers must remain untouched after 1 to 2 yards from scrimmage (theoretically).
(From Rams vs. Patriots, 2002) – 2008: Defensive Headsets Introduced.
(From 2001 Raiders vs. Patriots) – 2013: Tuck Rule Abolished.
(From 2014 Ravens vs. Patriots) – 2015: Personnel with OL numerics must declare eligible if outside of tackle box.
(From 2014 Colts vs. Patriots AFCCG) – 2015: Pregame Football Protocol.
(From 2014 Seahawks vs. Patriots SB) – 2015: In-Game Concussion Protocol.
(From 2016 Colts vs. Patriots) – 2017: No Field Goal “Leaper (touching defensive teammate to gain leverage),” no lining up over long-snapper.
There is also a rule that was admittedly created, “on the fly,” during Super Bowl LII, against the Eagles, where officials disregarded “control of the ball during a catch” on two separate scoring drives that favored Philadelphia. I can’t quite figure out what people are talking about (on the Zach Ertz catch), considering the only call in question was Cory Clement’s second foot being out-of-bounds on his catch in the back of the end zone. But it is what it is.
The Saints, by almost all accounts, should have been in the Super Bowl against the Patriots this past Sunday, and, may have even won the game. Let’s face it, an aging Drew Brees had one of his most prolific passing performances of his career during the 2018 season, and if it weren’t for a blown call, we could be singing a different tune in New England on this 50-degree victorious Monday morning.
Never mind the fact that a fanbase used to going to the Super Bowl, no matter the location, drove pricing down over 40%, citing low interest and overpriced ticket packages.
Plus, one of the more humorous occurrences coming out of Atlanta on Sunday night was the arrest of Barstool Sports’ founder Dave Portnoy from the game during Halftime. Now, I like the Barstool model, but, I don’t actively promote it. I just feel as if the NFL is overstepping its bounds and locking out a fanbase from a brand that thrives on controversy. By arresting Portnoy, the Barstool brand and lore grew even larger. The NFL might as well poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Barstool brand last night, just because of a childish, spiteful grudge that originated against Tom Brady who may have, allegedly, “destroyed” his phone prior to a non-criminal, non-binding investigation on whether or not footballs deflate when exposed to extreme cold.
Bottom line, the NFL can’t even level its own playing field. They have to resort to extreme rule changes, arbitrary policies, and tightened security practices every year, yet the Patriots have managed to make the Superbowl for the second consecutive year when a franchise player, or players, are suspended for violating NFL policies. (Julian Edelman/Josh Gordon, 2018, Tom Brady, 2016).
A brand, in general, thrives on fresh offerings. Like any good clothing store or content machine, things must appear early, often, and different from the items on display on a month to month basis. The Patriots, having earned their 6th ring since 2001, will most likely have to pivot once again to win a 7th (and record breaking) ring, and the NFL will once again be on the reactionary end of it all thinking of ways in which they can level the playing field. So, New England, here’s to number 6, and hoping for a seventh.