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ESPN Releases Statement On Mac Jones SkyCam Controversy

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones vs. Bears

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones didn't last long in his return from injury.

Jones was removed from the Patriots' loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football after a slow start that culminated in an interception in the second quarter.

Some believe the interception wasn't actually Jones' fault, though.

An online sleuth uncovered a replay angle that appears to show Jones' pass coming into contact with a wire of ESPN's SkyCam, which is suspended over the field to provide aerial shots. ESPN, however, denied that on Wednesday.

"ESPN statement on this: 'This pass from Mac Jones did not hit ESPN’s SkyCam wiring. This video creates a false impression, but in reality the SkyCam wire was more than 15 feet above the ball and our SkyCam system followed all NFL protocols.'" -- Ari Meirov

In the video, the rotation of the ball does appear to change slightly as it passes the SkyCam wire — although, even if it did nick the wire, the contact probably was not enough to impact the pass. 

ESPN claims that's an optical illusion, that the SkyCam wire was more than 15 feet higher than the ball.

Perhaps the best evidence that the pass didn't contact the wire was that neither Jones nor tight end Jonnu Smith, the intended receiver on the play, protested after the interception.

The turnover was significant not only because it led to Jones being pulled in favor of rookie Bailey Zappe, but because it marked revenge for Bears defensive back Jaquan Brisker, who Jones kicked a few plays earlier.

As for whether the pick helped cost Jones his starting job for good, Bill Belichick is being characteristically coy about who will start when the Patriots face the New York Jets on Sunday.