New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick came to the defense of receiver Danny Amendola for a huge hit he delivered while on punt-coverage duty during the team's 27-20 divisional-round victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday.
The 30-year-old drew a personal-foul penalty for unnecessary roughness when he drilled Jamell Fleming, but Belichick didn't see anything wrong with it, per ESPN.com's Mike Reiss:
I saw him block the guy trying to down the ball. It is hard to tell from the coaching film where the hit occurred. But it was a legal play. We are allowed to block him. He didn't give a fair-catch signal, so he is allowed to block. Then after the play when [Dezman] Moses came over and snatched his face mask and started shaking him, I'm not really sure what all happened on that. There were a lot of bodies around there and a lot of pushing and shoving and all that. I think you'd have to ask the officials exactly what they called on that.
SB Nation showed the vicious collision and shared a brief quote from Amendola on the play:
Don Banks of SI.com weighed in on the situation, capturing the general feeling surrounding the controversial second-quarter hit delivered by Amendola:
That's a flag in today's NFL. But a 2-yard penalty means Amendola essentially got away with it. It was shoulder, not crown of the helmet.— Don Banks (@DonBanks) January 16, 2016
Simply sticking to the adage of "doing his job," Amendola made a football move, but whether it was malicious in intent is another matter up for debate.
The Providence Journal's Mark Daniels passed along the NFL's thoughts on the matter:
Here's some clarification from the NFL on Amendola's penalty pic.twitter.com/Qxfl1nH2JV— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) January 17, 2016
Belichick did nothing to discourage or disparage what Amendola did, so those who dislike the Patriots won't be too pleased with his comments. All New England does is win, though, as it prepares for its fifth consecutive AFC title game.
Had it been a different team or a player with a prior dirty reputation, perhaps Amendola's dangerous block would be a bit more scrutinized or universally loathed. Given the circumstances of this particular situation, it does indeed appear as though Amendola will face little consequence for his actions.
But just like the controversial receiver-eligible formations New England whipped out last postseason en route to a Super Bowl triumph, Amendola's actions will likely be discussed for some time.
Like it or not, Belichick, Amendola and Co. win more often than anyone in football.