Analysis of the New York Jets “tripping” scandal, wherein a Jets coach clearly tripped a Miami Dolphin running along the sideline, photo and video shows Jets coaches and assistants consciously standing in a "wall formation."
The Jets have decided to go on offense for their special teams chicanery. They are now claiming the New England Patriots do the same thing.
"A number of teams do it,” Westhoff said, in remarks transcribed at ProFootballTalk.com. “There is a pretty good team up north that lines their whole defense up when they do it, so it’s something that just kind of happened."
Westhoff was asked if "pretty good team up north" was a reference to the Patriots. He acknowledged that it was.
"When the opponents’ punt team is out there,” Westhoff explained, "they’re up there pretty close to the line so it looks like they are trying to do it. Now are they doing anything illegal? Are they tripping anybody, heck no. I’m not saying that. That’s not the point. But, yeah, they’re lined up there. Is it making a difference? I don’t know."
OK, then, does this guy have a point? Do the Patriots line up in a “wall formation” on the sidelines, to impede, intimidate or outright interfere with the kicking team on punts and kickoffs?
NFL.com posts video of all significant runback plays on special teams, and Brandon Tate had a significant 103-yard kickoff return in this October’s win over the Dolphins. If New England uses the unethical wall formation, surely we’d see it on this replay, right?
Video of Tate’s runback against that very same Miami kickoff team shows no wall of players on the Patriots’ sideline. Not even a very loose formation, let alone the extremely tight, straight line of players seen in photos of the infamous Jets incident.
Granted, it’s only one example. But in that video, Tate runs right along the Patriots' sideline, affording us a very clear view of Patriots' players' placement. If guys were supposed to form a wall, they were comically, ridiculously out of place.
Cheating may, in fact, be part of Bill Belichick’s regimen. But ineffective cheating, with guys lazily standing several yards out of place from where they were supposedly instructed to commit the dishonest act? There’s surely no place for that behavior in the Patriots organization.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who should acknowledge this Jets special teams coach has since attempted to walk back his remarks.