New England Patriots

  • Monday night’s Patriots loss to the Bears was undoubtably one of the more bizarre games the team has played. Now, even a full day after the game was played, it’s still getting weirder.

    Mac Jones‘ second quarter interception against the Bears on Monday Night Football last week was already on track to be one of the most talked-about plays in the NFL this season. Jones, who had returned to the field after missing three games with an ankle injury, was pulled from the game after that throw in favor of backup Bailey Zappe. While head coach Bill Belichick told reporters after the game the quarterback switch wasn’t “a benching,” it certainly had all the makings of one.

  • It was an uncharacteristically undisciplined play from Jones, one that has led to calls from fans for a longer look at Zappe (despite the fact the rookie later threw a pair of picks). While the play itself and resulting personnel change put the play under the spotlight enough, one Twitter sleuth has taken things to another level.

    Tuesday afternoon, Twitter user ‘Big Jim’ shared a slowed down version of an upwards angle of the ball in the air before it’s intercepted by Bears safety Jaquan Brisker. He claimed the ball deflects off the wire of the SkyCam, the camera that hangs over the field and is controled remotely. The clip then started making the rounds, going viral by Tuesday night.

  • Suddenly an internet debate the likes of The Dress and Yanny or Laurel broke out. Did the ball actually hit the wire, or not?

    The ball does drop down, although it’s possible it was at the apex of its trajectory. At the same time, the wire does appear to wiggle despite there being very little wind Monday night.

    Had the potential collision been noticed at the time, it would have been a reviewable play. According to the NFL Rulebook’s Rule 7, Section 2, “if a loose ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam, or any other object, the ball will be dead immediately, and the down will be replayed at the previous spot.”

    However, it’s not a play the Patriots could have challenged. That play, like all turnovers, automatically goes to review and cannot be challenged by head coaches. Whether or not the replay official caught the ball at least coming close to the wire would be another question.


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  • By the time Wednesday morning rolled around, ESPN has released a statement on the matter. “This pass from Mac Jones did not hit ESPN’s SkyCam wiring,” the ESPNPR Twitter account shared. “This video creates a false impression, but in reality the SkyCam wire was more than 15 feet above the ball and our SkyCam system followed all NFL protocols.”

    Patriots fans, of course, were quick to second guess ESPN. While it’s certainly tough to tell whether or not the ball did in fact hit the wire, the claim that “the SkyCam wire was more than 15 feet above the ball” drew some second looks.

    Ultimately, it won’t end up mattering. The play went in the books as an interception, Jones didn’t take another snap that night, and the Patriots went on to lose the game. Still, it’s another odd footnote for what was certainly a bizarre night in Foxborough.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.