The Monday Morning QB

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Monday Morning QB

I've been watching professional football now now for over 67 years, and I've never seen anything like the final ten (10!) seconds of Sunday's NFL NFC Divisional Playoff Game in Minneapolis.

Anyone who follows the sport knows what happened and has seen multiple replays of the game-ending touch­down-that-should-never-have-been.

That it did happen was not a fluke like the 1972 Franco Harris "Immaculate Reception," but an inexplicable "whiff" by New Orleans safety Marcus Williams when he went to tackle Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs who then sped into the endzone to complete a 61-yard game-winner as the final gun sounded.

Diggs catches pass from Case Keenum as Williams studies artificial turf.

It wasn't even a true ¡olé! because Williams, (#43 above) didn't pull off at the last second, he wasn't even close to tackling Diggs (#14, with the football).

He wasn't blocked by another player, he just missed Diggs entirely.

(Presciently, my cousin Charlie Clifton texted me from Florida two hours earlier that the Saints "...need d tackling practice.")

Williams, a rookie safety who'd made a critical inteception earlier in the fourth quarter, didn't duck media questions after the game:

"It was just my play to make. The ball was in the air. I didn't go attack it. And he came down and made a great play, and that's just on me. I just got to be that guy and go up and get the ball. As a safety back there, you got to be the eraser. And that was my job."

Admirable... but still inexplicable, enough so that the end of the game is likely to launch as many conspiracy theories as when the President was shot in Dallas!

The line on the game was New Orleans +5½, so those gamblers who'd taken Minnesota and given the points had a lot riding on the obligatory extra point following the game-winning touchdown that made the score 29-24.

While NFL rules state that all points-after-touchdowns must be attempted, the losing Saints were in their club­house destroying their lockers and the giddy Vikings were scattered around the playing field giving interviews.

In Las Vegas, no wagers were being settled since the final score was yet to be declared "Official."

The striped shirts finally prevailed and enough Saints were assembled on the three-yard line to defend against an unexpected two-point attempt.

(An "automatic" kick would have allowed Viking supports to cover their bets as the final score would have been 30-24, a half-point over the line.)

But wait... when Minnesota snapped the ball, QB Case Keenum took a knee, the play was whistled dead and the official score was entered as 29-24.

New Orleans fans still lost the game, but Saints bettors covered and collected their winnings as Viking supporters cursed their team's "humanitarian" decision.

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