Big Ben accuses Pats of violating an "unwritten rule"

You may not be able to tell from the landscape of sports commentary today, but actual things happened on the field in last night's 28-21 victoy by the Patriots over the Steelers.

Still, while much attention is being brought to the malfunctions in teams' headsets, there was actually another infraction the Pittsburgh Steelers were complaining about after the game. That is, the violation of an "unwritten rule" by the Patriots defense.

Early in the fourth quarter, with the Steelers driving and at the goal line, Big Ben went through his cadence at the line. Suddenly, the entire Patriots defensive line shifted, getting the Steelers to jump and prompting a false start penalty. Big Ben ran at the refs, irate. Apparently he thought the move warranted a penatly.

“I thought that there was a rule against that,” Roethlisberger said, via USA Today’s Tom Pelissero. “Maybe there’s not. Maybe it’s just an unwritten rule. .. We saw it on film, that the Patriots do that. They shift and slide and do stuff on the goal line, knowing that it’s an itchy trigger finger-type down there.”

Find a GIF of the paly in question at the NESN link above, but the reason Big Ben was so upset was because the Pats shifted their entire defensive line in the middle of Big Ben's cadence. As he points out, that obviously coaxes the offensive line to jump, since they are waiting for Ben to snap the ball at any second.

It's obviously a legal move, but clearly a cheap one. What's fair is fair though, if it's allowed in the rules, the Steelers should be better prepared and disciplined for that sort of tactic. Especially since, as Ben points out, the Patriots tend to do that a lot. As a fan that just casually watches the Patriots, I could've told you that.

That said, this sort of "cheap move" isn't necessarily specific to the Patriots. Tom Brady grew upset at the Colts in 2010 when one of their defensive players started yelling in the middle of his cadence. That kind of violation of an "unwritten rule" is designed to have the same effect. The Pats didn't jump.

Brady was called a cry baby for complaining to the ref in that instance. Somehow I think that there won't be any cricitism levied at Big Ben.