February 07, 2013

Flacco Wanted to Cheat on Super Bowl's Final Play: As the Baltimore Ravens prepared to punt on the final play of Super Bowl 0x2F, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco urged teammates on the sideline to tackle San Francisco 49ers returner Ted Ginn Jr. if he got past all of the Baltimore defenders. NFL video shows Flacco making the suggestion several times. "If he starts to break it, go tackle him," Flacco said. "If he breaks this ... if he busts it for some reason? Tackle him! Go tackle him."

posted by rcade to football at 06:16 PM - 13 comments

Well, I guess if Woody Hayes is elite, then Flacco must be elite.

posted by beaverboard at 06:23 PM on February 07

If the refs gave them the touchdown anyways, I'm not sure it's really "cheating", as much as going offside or pass interference is "cheating".

It reminds me of the last World Cup where the Uruguayan player (Luis Suarez) deliberately used his hands to stop an obvious winning goal by Ghana in the last moments of the match.

If he's punished by the rules, then it's not cheating.
To me, cheating is if you do something outside the rules that isn't caught and isn't even visible to those watching the game/match.

An example would be the 1951 New York Giants using a telescope and electrical buzzer system to steal catcher signs.

posted by grum@work at 06:46 PM on February 07

I would say that planning to break the rules is cheating. The vast majority of penalties are heat-of-the-moment things, but saying ahead of time, "Okay, if this happens, we're going to break the rules," is a violation against the very concept of sport. Like Hack-a-Shaq.

posted by Etrigan at 07:29 PM on February 07

If he's punished by the rules, then it's not cheating.

I think a premeditated attempt to send an extra player onto the field to make a tackle, believing the rules might not award a touchdown and thus give your team a victory, crosses beyond gamesmanship into cheating.

For something to be gamesmanship, there has to be a penalty you're willing to suffer to commit the infraction. What Flacco hoped to do had no penalty of any significance.

A sideline tackle happened in the 1954 Cotton Bowl. The video is worth watching all the way to the end to hear Dicky Meagle's impersonation of coach Jess Neely.

posted by rcade at 07:46 PM on February 07

Flacco kind of knew that they might reward a touchdown. He briefly says so 13 seconds into the video. He wasn't oblivious to the outcome of his rule breaking.

If the rule specifically said that a touchdown wouldn't be given, and therefore Flacco (and his team) would benefit from breaking the rules, then I might say it was cheating.

Actually, the better example of this was on the very play before this one. When the Ravens' punter was running around in the end zone, the offensive line (and other Ravens) were holding onto the defensive players (even tackling them). In this case, the penalty (holding in the endzone, and therefore a safety) was the result they would like. Their actions allowed the punter even more time to run off the clock which was definitely in their favour. There is no rule that the referees could enforce that would either put time back on the clock OR allow for extra penalties to be applied to the Ravens (and benefit the 49ers after the kick).

Therefore, the Ravens benefited from breaking the rules and could therefore be considered "cheating".

posted by grum@work at 09:17 PM on February 07

Therefore, the Ravens benefited from breaking the rules and could therefore be considered "cheating".

Yep. I'm pretty comfortable at calling that cheating too.

posted by Etrigan at 10:01 PM on February 07

Joe Flacco, working hard to annihilate any goodwill he may have ever built up (which probably isn't much anyway, but still...).

posted by Bonkers at 11:08 PM on February 07

Joe Flacco, working hard to annihilate any goodwill he may have ever built up

Eh, I see it as a heat of the moment, WE ARE SO PSYCHED UP AND GOING TO WIN THE ULTIMATE PRIZE NO MATTER WHAT, BITCHESSSSSSSSSS!!! I saw this whole segment and just chuckled. I'm guessing he's not the first person with the brilliant idea, even if it almost never going to fruition.

posted by jmd82 at 10:03 AM on February 08

It bothers me that Flacco was willing to do that.

Though it if had happened, it could have been the most memorable play in NFL history.

posted by rcade at 10:40 AM on February 08

Kind of fits with the Ravens' mindset - it's not a penalty unless it's called; it's not murder unless you are convicted.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:52 AM on February 08

Ravens == new Raiders??

posted by billsaysthis at 11:41 AM on February 08

So my mythical wing of the baseball HoF that would house exhibits on outstanding baseball players who happened to be total assholes was going to be called the "Ty Cobb Wing."

Who would we name the football HoF asshole wing after? Simpson?

If Flacco continues to play well (I wouldn't say he's elite yet, but he has the potential to get there), maybe that wing is where he'd end up.

Don't ask me what kind of player gets into the Greg Maddux wing of the HoF, but I will tell you that only 1 out of 3 fans lives to describe it.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:28 PM on February 08

Last I can recall this in an active form was when the Jets' strength coach Sal Alosi moved his knee to trip a Miami punt-coverage player. He got fined and suspended; the Jets got fined.

Of course, there is one aspect the Ravens would have needed: Ginn would have had to run the sideline, not through the middle.

As of now, Flacco is loved and hated within New Jersey: loved in the south because he's a Super Bowl champion, and hated because he said having next year's Super Bowl outdoors, in the Giants/Jets Meadowlands stadium, was stupid. Wonder if he'll be invited to Gov. Christie's office anytime soon.

posted by jjzucal at 08:43 PM on February 08

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