Mac Jones’ return to the field on Monday night was quite a sight to behold, but not in a good way. After missing three games due to an ankle injury suffered against the Ravens, the quarterback was made available for the Patriots in their primetime matchup with the Bears.
During and since the game ended, Jones has received a lot of criticism from fans and the media regarding his poor performance. Bill Belichick gave him the start over rookie Bailey Zappe, who had won two games in Jones’ absence. But his night was cut short after just three series, and he was sidelined for the rest of the evening.
It was assumed his pull from the game was due to what appeared to be a poorly thrown pass to Jonnu Smith, resulting in an interception. Because Jones has dealt with costly turnovers this season, not much was thought of seeing another occur. But upon further review, a video surfaced showing the football appearing to hit ESPN’s SkyCam wire.
The video began circulating quickly and was picked up by several media members and dissected by all who came across it. Then on Wednesday morning, the ESPN PR Twitter accout released a statement, quoting a tweet containing a zoomed-in video version, claiming the incident did not collide with the wire.
"“This pass from Mac Jones did not hit ESPN’s SkyCam wiring. The 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.”"
Because the network needed to save face, given that if the football did change trajectory due to the wire, the NFL rulebook states the play is called dead, and the down is replayed, it’s not surprising to see their denial of the occurrence. However, the video clearly shows that the collision happened, making their statement much more confusing.
Whether or not the result of the play would’ve remained an interception or not is irrelevant. Proclaiming the wire was 15 feet above the football and that the entire event never happened is downright perplexing when several videos are available to re-watch the play.
It’s unlikely the officials or the Patriots would’ve noticed the incident during the game, clearing the league and ESPN from any potential blame. Nor would a completed pass have changed the remainder of the game. So what is the point of blatantly lying?