BOSTON (CBS) — Rob Gronkowski was flagged for offensive pass interference during the second quarter of last Sunday’s loss to the Panthers. The call was, to be kind, questionable. The officials did throw what felt like a makeup flag on the very next play and the Patriots ended up scoring a touchdown on the drive, but the sequence didn’t leave Gronk any less confused.
Now, the tight end is simply asking the officials for more consistency.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Gronkowski was asked about the frustration of getting called for offensive pass interference, especially when Sunday’s penalty appeared to be a phantom call. He decried the officials’ lack of week-to-week consistency in how they determine what is and isn’t a penalty.
“It’s a little inconsistent, that’s the thing,” said Gronkowski. “If the consistency was there 100 percent then I’d be cool whatever it is. But one week we’re told we can play [and] it really isn’t going to be called. They can hold and you can slap off their hands and then the next week it’s if you touch the guy it’s a P.I.
“I just wish I knew the consistency so then I can base my game off that in practice and be prepared for the game and know the rules going in.”
Here is the play in question in which Gronkowski was flagged for pushing off Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly:
The tight end acknowledged that Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff tries to prepare the team for the officiating crew, and that he does his best to control his emotions even when the calls are not consistent.
“To do what [the officials] are doing, I don’t even really get that frustrated over the P.I. calls. It’s just playing football,” said Gronkowski. “But it’s a tough job out there. Just like us players, it’s a tough job out there too. You’ve just got to go with the flow of the game every game.”
Despite Gronkowski’s call for consistency from the officials, Sunday’s loss was the first time all season he was flagged at all, let alone for offensive pass interference.