Revis holding out hope refs might ease up

Revis holding out hope refs might ease up
August 19, 2014, 3:45 pm
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FOXBORO – It’s beyond debate that some players get calls that others don’t.

Regardless of the sport, if you’ve established consistent excellence then, once in a while (or maybe more), officials, umps or refs will yield to that reputation when faced with a borderline call.

Every sport.

Why did Greg Maddux get to live on the black and then some? Because he could throw a baseball to within an inch of his intended target with greater consistency than anyone else in the sport.

Why doesn’t Tiago Splitter go to the line after a contested drive as often as Dwyane Wade or Kevin Durant? Because Splitter gets his mess blocked more often that those two.

Why did Aqib Talib draw two pass interference penalties and four defensive holds in 13 games in 2013 while Darrelle Revis drew just a 3-yard pass interference in 16 games.

Because Revis is regarded as the best corner in the NFL and Talib was – at least prior to last year – only a good one without that “shutdown” label.

Officials are human. A player proficient at his craft will get the benefit of the doubt. And Revis has – in the minds of many – always enjoyed that.

That was one of the storylines to the 2011 season. Revis’ getting preferential treatment.

After a 100-yard interception return against the Dolphins, ex-Miami receiver Brandon Marshall said, “I think they gave him ‘The Jordan Rule. You get a little close to Michael Jordan, they’re going to call a foul. It works that way in football. Some guys, they’re scared to throw the flag. . . . He may be getting that rule.”

When grilled on New York radio about the play, Revis hung up (at the suggestion of a Jets public relations staffer).

On Tuesday, Revis was asked (for the 732nd time) about this season’s emphasis on illegal contact.

The first part of his answer was by rote: “It’s tough. I think we just gotta work through it. Teams have been working through it and I think it’s a learning situation for everybody. It’s a new rule, the refs are trying to do the best they can, we’re trying to do the best we can by keeping our hands off the receivers down the field.”

Revis added a caveat, though, which made it sound like he’s holding out hope he’ll still get to be handsy.

“Maybe in the regular season things might change, you never know, but at this moment, everybody’s trying to do the right thing by following the rules,” added Revis.

Revis may get away with more than most but probably won’t make it through with just one DPI in 2014. His last chance to get his hands-free style down comes Friday against the Panthers.

“The butterflies, they’re coming back,” Revis admitted. “You get anxious and you get real excited just to start the season up. This is a great game we play and we’re ready, we’re ready to go. We just got to keep on pushing and get ready for that first week. I think a lot of guys are very excited about this year and we gotta go out and prove it every week.”

Revis’ role with the Patriots has so far been streamlined. He’s lined up on the left side of the defensive formation almost exclusively.

Revis says he has no idea whether that will last through the entire season.

“It is what it is,” he shrugged. “Whatever my job is, and it’s been playing left corner, that’s fine with me. Whatever’s best for the team and however coach feels I can best help the team is fine with me. We try a bunch of things during practice even going back to OTAs.”

Last year, the Patriots would have Talib shadow the opponent’s best offensive weapon – from against New Orleans it was tight end Jimmy Graham. Against the Dolphins, it was tight end Charles Clay.

It’s reasonable to assume Revis will get the same level of responsibility but so far, not yet.

To borrow a phrase from the man himself, maybe in the regular season, things might change.