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Bill Belichick sneaks in not-so-subtle shot at replacement refs despite NFL's request

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Belichick was less-than-thrilled with the officiating Thursday, even if he didn't say it. (US Presswire)

On Thursday, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reported on a memo from the NFL to coaches and front offices around the NFL, instructing them to support the replacement refs and to avoid public criticism.

Bill Belichick was asked about the job the replacements did in the Saints-Patriots preseason tilt (a 7-6 scorcher of a win for New England) and while he didn't comment on them technically, he probably didn't fall in line with the spirit of the NFL's memo either.

"I think Mike Pereira has made his comments on the officials," Belichick said when asked about the refs. "I don't know who knows more about NFL officiating than Mike Pereira, so we'll leave it to him. I'm just trying to coach our team and get our team better. I'm not worried about what everybody else is doing; it's not my job."

This is a decidedly Belichickian comment. Not only does he not say anything, but the Pats coach also purposely alerts the media that he's not speaking on a subject ... all while actually making a stinging comment on the replacement referee situation.

Pereira, who now works for FOX Sports as an analyst, has been particularly critical of the replacement referees. And as a former official and then head of officials, he does know as much, if not more, than anyone when it comes to officiating in the NFL.

But it needs to be said: Pereira has an agenda when it comes to the officials. They are his former colleagues and employees and friends.

That being said, Belichick's comment has nothing to do with whether or not Pereira's being entirely fair with his comments about the replacement refs. It has everything to do with the fact that coaches are, quite clearly, not thrilled about backups handling the officiating and probably also not thrilled about their inability to say anything about said officiating in a public forum.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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