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Jaguars Church fined significantly for hit on Gronkowski Sunday

Florida Football Insiders

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It’s one of the most memorable moments of last Sunday’s thrilling comeback win by the Patriots over the Jaguars for the AFC Championship and the berth in Super Bowl LII. When safety Barry Church leveled Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski late in the second quarter, he drew a legitimate 15 yard penalty for helmet to helmet contact.

The hit knocked Gronkowsi down and out for the rest of the game with a concussion. And on Friday afternoon, the NFL stepped in and fined the veteran safety $24,309 for the blow.

Jaguars fans, some in the media and the internet have pointed to hat hit/call and to the following play where DB A.J. Bouye was called for pass interference for battling with New England WR Brandin Cooks set the Patriots up inside the 10 yard line, as symbols that the officials helped the Pats get back into the game.

We wrote earlier in the week that the facts, especially one penalty total being called in the second half, don’t support that premise.

Back to the Church play, on Showtime and NFL Films “Inside the NFL” this week, their cameras showed the hit and Church vehemently pleaded with the officials that it was not a dirty play. At one point he even takes off his gloves and throws them to the ground at the penalty call.

In Church’s defense, the replays showed and the photo above captured, he is not leading with the crown or actually his helmet at all. Rather, when the taller Gronkowski leaped in the air and started coming down to make the catch, it’s Church’s shoulder first that makes contact and then his helmet to Gronk’s.

The officials did call the hit on “a defenseless receiver” too, which means it didn’t have to be helmet to helmet to get 15 yards on the Jaguars.

As for Gronkowski, he not only could not return to the game, he’s still in concussion protocol. And, he is not cleared to practice this week for the Super Bowl next Sunday. In that regard, New England is fortunate that the game is still over a week away.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kevin J. Murphy

    January 27, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    I thought the greatest factor for the Patriots comeback was the quick whistle that prevented Myles Jack from scoring a touchdown.

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