FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- "And now, we'll cut away from today's game so we can return to our regularly scheduled programming."
This is what New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner, whose physical style of play could be curbed with the league's point of emphasis on defensive holding and illegal contact, jokingly envisions happening if the NFL continues to throw penalty flags at the same rate as the preseason.
“I think it’s only a three-hour slot and window to play a football game, or else 'The Simpsons' are going to cut in, and the game might just cut off in the third quarter," Browner cracked Wednesday.
"The Simpsons," of course, was scheduled to air on Fox after most Seahawks games last year.
The high total of penalties continues to generate a buzz in NFL circles, as the rule targets players at Browner's position, and that's why the 30-year-old in his first Patriots season was drawing a large media crowd in the Patriots' locker room.
Browner admitted it's been an adjustment to see as many penalty flags in two preseason games. In 45 defensive snaps, he's picked up one of them, for illegal contact in the preseason opener at Washington.
"It was surprising how many flags they actually did throw," he said. "Some, I think, could be ticky-tack; there’s a lot of hand-fighting going on down the field with receivers and DBs all the time. They said they were going to do it and they did it. ... It’s just a part of the game. As a cornerback, it will have me more focused and in-tune with hand position and things like that, to tighten up my craft.”
Browner also doesn't buy that the point of emphasis is a response to the physical style of play from the Seahawks, his former team, whose secondary is referred to as the "Legion of Boom."
"I think every year they say that’s the emphasis. Last year, I know that’s what they told us going into the year," he said. "It will be interesting to see how lenient or how tough they’ll be on those calls once the regular season starts. ... Hopefully in the regular season they don't call as many, but if they do, we just have to take emphasis on getting our hands right and the placement. Try to reduce the penalties, because those things can cost you a big game somewhere along in the season."