BOSTON (CBS) — Based on the view from the stands at Gillette Stadium and NBC’s struggling TV cameras, you’d think Sunday’s unusually foggy conditions in Foxboro negatively affected the way the Patriots and Falcons played. But as it turns out, the fog didn’t make much of a difference on the field.
Patriots players and coaches fielded questions about the fog, which rolled into Gillette Stadium during the second half, after the team’s impressive 23-7 win over the Falcons in the Super Bowl LI rematch on Sunday night. But they stopped short of making excuses, remarking that the fog didn’t look as bad for the players on the field as it may have appeared to viewers.
“It wasn’t bad field level,” said safety Devin McCourty. “I mean, it was rough for us to see on the big screen when the offense was out there, but once we were on the field, you could see the ball. It wasn’t a problem, I don’t think, for either side.”
Both Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski described the fog as “crazy” but added it wasn’t a real factor in the game. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan echoed McCourty, saying the fog “wasn’t that bad on the field.”
Head coach Bill Belichick admitted that the fog may have presented some unique tests for both teams, but said it ultimately didn’t make a difference in the game.
“Well, I think the coaches upstairs did a real good job on that. It was challenging at times,” said Belichick. “I would say I don’t know what happened with Atlanta, but for us we took a couple of timeouts. It wasn’t really because of the fog. It was just we wanted to get our goal line in there on the goal line. I wouldn’t attribute it to that, but it was not easy for our spotters upstairs to get it. That being said, I didn’t think it really affected the game too much. … I wouldn’t say it was that bad on the field. I mean, it wasn’t clear but I don’t think it changed anything.”
Falcons receiver Julio Jones seemed to disagree that the fog didn’t affect either team’s performance, calling it “crazy” that the Patriots were able to score and shoot off fireworks in the fog. But he also acknowledged that the fog wasn’t as big a deal as it may have looked to those watching the game.
The fog eventually grew so thick that NBC had to broadcast much of the second half exclusively from their lower-level cameras that were positioned behind the offense. Closer camera angles fell in line with players’ postgame comments, revealing that they were able to see just fine on the field.
Brady was dead wrong about one thing. He added on the fog, “I’m sure it looked cool on TV, though.”