The NFL rule book is written in black and white. The same colors adorn the officials’ uniforms. But there is and always will be a healthy dose of gray attached to the rules. It was into that gray that the Patriots’ chances of pulling out a last-second victory over the Carolina Panthers on Monday night disappeared — along with a yellow flag signifying pass interference.
There is nothing special about the Patriots. The league isn’t out to get them. There is no need for a persecution complex or conspiracy theories connecting the Carolina chaos to the obscure pushing penalty on a field goal attempt that sent the Patriots to defeat against the Jets Oct. 20.