Terry McAulay will work as the referee for Sunday’s AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers, according to FootballZebras.com.

Terry McAulay will referee Sunday's AFC title game.  (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Terry McAulay will referee Sunday’s AFC title game. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Terry McAulay will work as the referee for Sunday’s AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers, according to FootballZebras.com.

McAulay began his NFL career as a side judge in 1998 before becoming a referee in 2001. However, New England games have been few and far between for McAulay as of late: This will be the first Patriots game for McAulay since Nov. 8. 2015, a contest at Gillette between the New England and Washington. Overall, it’s just his second Patriots’ game since the start of the 2014 season. (Here’s a closer look at his career, via Pro Football Reference.)

This is a complete list of who has worked as the referee for each Patriots’ game this year and the corresponding penalties for each contest, not counting the flags that were offset or declined:

Sept. 11 at Arizona: Tony Corrente — 8 penalties, 69 yards (Cardinals — 6 penalties, 58 yards)
Sept. 18 vs. Miami: Craig Wrolstad — 7 penalties, 65 yards (Dolphins — 5 penalties, 49 yards)
Sept. 22 vs. Houston: Walt Coleman — 3 penalties, 15 yards (Texans — 6 penalties, 43 yards)
Oct. 2 vs. Buffalo: Pete Morelli — 9 penalties, 74 yards (Bills — 6 penalties, 60 yards)
Oct. 9 at Cleveland: Bill Vinovich — 5 penalties, 61 yards (Browns — 5 penalties, 35 yards)
Oct. 16 vs. Cincinnati: Ronald Torbert — 6 penalties, 55 yards (Bengals — 7 penalties, 46 yards)
Oct. 23 at Pittsburgh: Craig Wrolstad — 4 penalties, 40 yards (Steelers — 10 penalties, 85 yards)
Oct. 30 at Buffalo: John Parry — 10 penalties, 116 yards (Bills — 12 penalties, 84 yards)
Nov. 13 vs. Seattle: Gene Steratore — 7 penalties, 61 yards (Seahawks — 8 penalties, 60 yards)
Nov. 20 at San Francisco: Jeff Triplette — 5 penalties, 40 yards (Niners — 10 penalties, 68 yards)
Nov. 27 at New York Jets: Brad Allen — 2 penalties, 15 yards (Jets — 6 penalties, 66 yards)
Dec. 4 vs. Los Angeles: Jerome Boger — 8 penalties, 46 yards (Rams — 4 penalties, 30 yards)
Dec. 12 vs. Baltimore: Ed Hochuli — 5 penalties, 48 yards (Ravens — 8 penalties, 47 yards)
Dec. 18 at Denver: Walt Anderson — 4 penalties, 30 yards (Broncos — 5 penalties, 49 yards)
Dec. 24 vs. Jets: Gene Steratore — 3 penalties, 20 yards (Jets — 6 penalties, 77 yards)
Jan. 1 at Miami: John Parry — 7 penalties, 64 yards (Dolphins — 9 penalties, 73 yards)
Divisional Playoffs: Jan. 14 vs. Houston: Pete Morelli — 5 penalties, 50 yards (Houston — 5 penalties, 75 yards)

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Tom Brady says what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room — the Patriots PR team must not know that. https://t.co/gmzG8CdTfx pic.twitter.com/oAPrr23rj9

— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 17, 2017

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger sounded mad and disappointed, but not overly upset about Antonio Brown’s now infamous Facebook Live video that captured coach Mike Tomlin ripping the Patriots.

Ben Roethlisberger wasn't thrilled about what Antonio Brown did. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t thrilled about what Antonio Brown did. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger sounded mad and disappointed, but not overly upset about Antonio Brown’s now infamous Facebook Live video that captured coach Mike Tomlin ripping the Patriots.

On Tuesday, Roethlisberger called the locker room “a sacred place,” which is one of the reasons he had an issue with what Brown did.

“I know he’s excited. Everyone’s excited. They want to share it with the world and with fans and all that stuff. And it’s hard, because you are excited. You’re happy, and you won a big game, and you made a big play to win the game,” he said.

“But I am a little disappointed that he did that, because that is a sacred thing. Coach talked, and then I talked. And you don’t want everyone to know what’s going on in there in the family.

“It is what it is. I think it’ll get addressed tomorrow by coach. And we move on — that’s the way it has to be,” he said. “It’s not like this is some make-or-break thing for us, it just is something that’s kind of disappointing, and we move on from it.”

Roethlisberger called in “water under the bridge,” and anticipated it would be addressed by Tomlin sooner rather than later.

“It’s just more disappointing than anger,” he added. “I’m not angry at [Brown], it’s just disappointing that that sacred time was kind of violated a little bit, and that he wasn’t paying attention to coach and myself talking after the game.

“That’s all. Like I said, it’ll be water under the bridge here for me when we’re done talking about it.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Tom Brady and the Patriots will need to play better than they did on Saturday in order to beat Pittsburgh. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady and the Patriots will need to play better than they did on Saturday in order to beat Pittsburgh. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Clearly, the Patriots did not play their best football in Saturday’s win over the Texans at Gillette Stadium. While they won by 18 points — 34-16 — it was about as poorly as a team could play and still win by that much.

As Bill Belichick noted to his team after the game, if it plays like that again, the season will likely be over.

Here are five things the Patriots need to clean up when taking on the Steelers Sunday in the AFC title game.

1. Turnovers

The Patriots turned the ball over three times in the divisional round game against the Texans. If they do that again, there’s almost zero shot of them winning. Besides Tom Brady throwing two interceptions, Dion Lewis put the ball on the ground twice, but luckily the Patriots recovered one of them. Belichick constantly preaches to the team to play turnover-free ball, as that is the No. 1 stat that correlates to winning.

New England is 20-1 in the postseason when winning the turnover battle and also, since 2001 when not turning the ball over the Patriots are 91-10. If the Patriots don’t turn the ball over there’s a good chance they will be going to Houston for the Super Bowl, but if they do multiple times, there’s a good chance they will be watching the game from the couch.

2. Red-zone efficiency

There’s nothing more frustrating than leaving points on the board in the postseason. When the Patriots reach the red zone, they need touchdowns. Even further, when the Patriots have goal-to-goal situations, they really need touchdowns. Including Saturday against Houston, the Patriots have scored touchdowns in 11 of their last 16 red-zone opportunities, but have only eight touchdowns in their last 12 goal-to-goal chances.

The possession that stands out most was at the end of the first half against the Texans. The Patriots had first-and-goal from the two-yard line and came away with a field goal. Sometimes the offense tries to get too cute in these situations instead of handing it off to the NFL’s rushing touchdown leader in LeGarrette Blount. When the Patriots have a goal-to-goal situation, they need to come away with a touchdown.

3. Protect Brady

If there’s a way to beat Brady and the Patriots offense, it’s to frustrate the quarterback and opponents can do that by hitting him. Just look at what Denver did to the Patriots in last year’s AFC championship game when he was hit 20 times. Against Houston, Brady was sacked twice, but hit eight times, the most in a game since Week 8. While the Steelers won’t be able to do some of the things Houston did on defense, when given the chance, the Steelers can deliver a big hit — just look at Matt Moore two weeks ago on wild card weekend. Keeping Brady protected is one of the biggest keys to the offense against Pittsburgh.

4. Defending running backs

If there is one thing the Patriots defense has struggled with over the course of the season it has been stopping opposing running backs, particularly out of the backfield. New England’s linebackers have had issues in coverage, especially Elandon Roberts and Shea McClellin. Roberts could be used more in this game because of his ability to stop the run, but then it leaves the defense vulnerable if the Steelers were to have Bell run routes out of the backfield. Bell also is one of, if not the best back in the league, and his patient running style is nearly impossible to stop. In the earlier meeting this season, Bell ran for 81 yards on 21 carries, while also catching 10 passes on 13 targets for 68 yards. In order to win, they will need to keep Bell in check.

5. No more bad penalties

New England committed five penalties for 50 yards in the win over the Texans, which is more than it would have liked. The biggest occurred on the third drive of the game for the Texans when they went three-and-out for a third straight possession, but cornerback Eric Rowe pulled Houston tight end Ryan Griffin out of a pile by his legs, which was a 15-yard penalty and gave Houston its first, first down of the game. The Texans had zero life to that point, but the penalty gave them a first down and eventually their first points of the game on a field goal. The play showed how much penalties can swing momentum in playoff games and the Patriots can’t afford to make the same mistake again.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — Mike Tomlin is not pleased with his wide receiver.

After Antonio Brown posted a Facebook Live video from the locker room after the win over the Chiefs where Tomlin is seen calling the Patriots a-holes, Tomlin responded Tuesday.

Mike Tomlin addressed Antonio Brown's video on Tuesday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Mike Tomlin addressed Antonio Brown’s video on Tuesday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Mike Tomlin is not pleased with his wide receiver.

After Antonio Brown posted a Facebook Live video from the locker room after the win over the Chiefs where Tomlin is seen calling the Patriots a-holes, Tomlin responded Tuesday.

“I’ll be bluntly honest here: It was foolish of him to do that,” Tomlin said to reporters on Tuesday. “It was selfish for him to do that. And it was inconsiderate for him to do that. Not only is it a violation of our policy, it’s a violation of league policy, both of which he knows. So there are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective. We will punish him. We won’t punish us. And we will do so swiftly, and we will do so internally.”

Tomlin added: “I’d imagine that there are consequences associated with the National Football League in that regard. I’m sure that he’ll appropriately absorb all of those things as he moves forward. But larger than that, he’s got to grow from this. He has to. He works extremely hard. He’s extremely talented. And those things get minimized with incidents such as this.”

Tomlin was not done there.

“You wear on your teammates when they have to routinely answer questions about things that aren’t football-related,” Tomlin said. “It’s our desire for him and everyone to be great teammates as well as great players. And he’s a great player, he’s a hard-working player. He is respected largely in the locker room for those things, but incidences such as this don’t help him in that regard, and that’s just the reality of it. In a nutshell, that’s going to be the gist of the conversation we have. And the reality is, those things don’t apply exclusively to Antonio. It’s a global thing in regards to professional sport. I think that’s oftentimes why you see great players move around from team to team. And I definitely don’t want that to be his story. I’m sure he doesn’t want that to be his story, so he has to address these things.”

While the team continues to say what happened wasn’t a distraction, Tomlin needing to spend this much time on it Tuesday of AFC championship certainly says otherwise.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Roger Goodell will be in Atlanta for the NFC title game on Sunday. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)What an embarrassment.



Roger Goodell is not coming to New England.

A league spokesman told WEEI.com the NFL commissioner will attend the NFC championship game in Atlanta on Sunday, and not the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium.