Fights happen in the NFL a few times a year and although they aren’t anticipated or welcomed like in hockey, they’re a result of competitiveness on the field.
No team has been more competitive or drawn more ire than the New England Patriots in recent years. But in the Patriots’ case, they typically stay disciplined when fights breakout.
That’s a product of head coach Bill Belichick and his preparedness for any situation. Belichick, who coached the Browns from 1991-95, was aware of what went on in Cleveland on Thursday and has discussed it with his team at length.
During Belichick’s scheduled Friday morning press conference, he brought up what exactly he has told his players when it comes to dealing with escalated on-field situations accordingly and with poise.
“Every situation is different. There’s no two that are the same. We can go back and look at 50 of these through the years, some type of fighting or ejections. They’re all different. I wouldn’t say it’s like offsides penalties. There’s a lot of different things happening, different situations and so forth and so on. Yeah, fundamentally, I told players what we should do in those situations, how we should handle them. I think they’ve done a good job with it.”
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Past Patriots Scuffles
Like any team, the Patriots are susceptible to the antics of on-field skirmishes during tense situations. New England has, in the past, fallen victim to this trap, including on two occasions during the playoffs.
Most famously, the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks got into it at the tail-end of Super Bowl XLIX. With New England having just picked off Russell Wilson on the goal-line and drawn an offside penalty gaining space to take a knee, the punches started flying.
Bruce Irvin and Michael Hoomanawanui got into it, resulting in the former being ejected from the contest. Michael Bennett and Rob Gronkowski also had a coming together and several other players from both teams began shoving as the order was restored.
And in the 2012 AFC Divisional Round, following a third-down punt by Tom Brady, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller took a cheap shot at New England lineman Dan Connolly. Matt Light and others began to engage Miller and the teams spilled onto the Patriots sideline in a cluster of bodies falling all around. There were no ejections on this occasion, however.
Stay off ‘SnapFace’
Belichick is well-known for his dislike and distaste of social media. When asked about this topic, Belichick shrugged it off and offered a sarcastic response.
The Patriots’ coach quipped that he hopped on this morning to check it out as well as interacted with others to get his opinions out there before even hopping out of bed. While Belichick doesn’t use social media himself, he did let on that he understands how it works and is likely able to monitor what his players say and do on those platforms.