Did the Patriots tip off officials to watch for tripping on Cowboys?

The Cowboys two tripping calls Sunday after only seven were called in the first 162 NFL games this season. So did someone tip off either the league office or officials to watch for tripping?

That’s a hot topic in Dallas-Fort Worth this week after the NFL confirmed to the Cowboys that the tripping calls were bad calls.

Bill Belichick was asked Tuesday whether he had seen something on film that alerted him to alter either the league office or game officials.

“No. I mean, the Cowboys are one of the least penalized teams in the league. They do a great job,” Belichick said. “I want to say they had the fewest pre-snap penalties — you know, illegal formation and false start and stuff like that. They had one in our game offensively, but they rarely have that. They don’t have a lot of offensive holding or pass interference or penalties like that. They’re one of the least penalized teams in the league. I think that their coaching staff, Coach [Jason] Garrett and their coaches, they do a great job of that. I’d say just in general they’ve had some personal foul penalties, but as far as the fundamentals of blocking, tackling, alignment – things like that – offsides, false starts, they’re one of the least in the league.”

So the Patriots didn’t alert officials? Or did they?

“Yeah, I’m saying it would be hard to find examples of it because they’re just a team that was not penalized very much,” Belichick said. “We haven’t been penalized a lot either. I mean, when you looked at the matchups in that game from a penalty standpoint, statistically it didn’t look like there was a big edge either way. And sometimes, it evens out. One team has more in one area and the other team might have more in another area or something like that. So, I would say that really wasn’t the case. I was really impressed in watching Dallas, and then going back and looking at the numbers, they only had like three or four of those pre-snap penalties offensively the entire season, which is – I mean, hell, sometimes you see that in one game. But, those guys rarely had that, and they didn’t have very many offensive interference, and holding and stuff like that. I mean, they just don’t do much of it.”

Actually, only 13 teams have more penalties than the Cowboys’ 82 and only four teams have more penalty yards than their 773. The Patriots have 68 penalties for 629 yards.

The Cowboys now have three tripping calls this season, with Zack Martin getting one earlier in the season to go with those called on Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith on Sunday.

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