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September 28, 2005

Damn Yankees: Another Strange Call Helps Patriots Win An Important Game

I like the Patriots, but I sure do understand why some people despise them. People from the Oakland area, for example. Cheated out of a playoffs win by some strange and dubious "tuck" rule that turned what looked like a clear Tom Brady fumble into an incomplete pass.

And now Pittsburgh feels the pain-- 52 seconds were added to the Pitt-NE gameclock, allowing the Patriots to win the game (as usual) on a one-second-left Adam Vinitieri field goal.

Tom Brady, among the league's best in late-game drives, led the Patriots down field for the winning score against the Steelers in 1:21 on Sunday.

But could he have done it in 29 seconds?

The NFL confirmed Monday that the game clock was improperly set early in the fourth quarter, adding 52 seconds to the game.

The error occurred at the beginning of the fourth quarter. With 14:51 remaining, Steelers receiver Cedric Wilson ran a reverse and was held to no gain; the play ran the clock down to 13:59.

A false start was called on Steelers guard Kendall Simmons on the next play, but instead of resetting the clock to 13:59, the clock operator set it back to 14:51 -- the time before Wilson's running play began. No one noticed the error, including the officiating crew.

I think the Giants were playing the Patriots, back in '94 or thereabouts, when a strange officiating mistake helped the Pats. The Giants were driving to the endzone, when the ref flipping the down-indicator incorrectly flipped the down from second to fourth. The Giants argued about it -- where did third down go? -- but the refs insisted it was now fourth down, and the Giants had to settle for a field goal.

It's better to be lucky than good, they say. But it's better to be the Patriots, who are both.

Meanwhile... the NFL is considering adding more games played in foreign countries.

Thanks to Chickpea.

I Guess... that Pittsburgh also would have had 52 less seconds for their game-tying drive. Still enough time to score, but having less time might have made their offense more one-dimensional -- less chance of a run, less chance of a pass to the middle of the field -- and the Patriots would have had a defensive advantage as they adjusted to that fact. So, with 52 less seconds on the clock, who knows, maybe the Pats would have stopped them from scoring at all.

But I don't think that's going to cut much ice with Pittsburgh fans.

One More: Testaverde called out of mothballs to be Jets' number two quarterback.


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posted by Ace at 12:10 PM

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