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Subject: Best\Worst Super Bowl play rss

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Blorb Plorbst
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A friend posed these questions about the last minutes of the game. These things about the game last night really bothered me. On one level, I can appreciate the savvy decision-making but what a way to make a game completely un-fun to watch. And poor Ahmad Bradshaw, forced to decide between laying down on the 1 or scoring a touchdown in the Freakin' Super Bowl - no wonder he tried to make it look like he tripped.

Super Bowl Super Questions:
Poll
1. Did the Patriots let the Giants score in order to get the ball back with enough time to score again?
Yes
No
Unsure
2. Was this?
Clever
Stupid
Awesome
Boring Football
3. Did the Giants intentionally put 12 men on the field to have more coverage against the long pass, knowing that they would get a 5 yard penalty, BUT run lots of time off the clock?
Yes
No
Unsure
4. Was this?
Clever
Stupid
Awesome
Boring Football
      74 answers
Poll created by CrankyPants

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Jonny Lawless
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Breaking the rules should always carry enough of a disadvantage that you simply can't do it on purpose. This is my main gripe about basketball, where often the last several minutes are nothing but tactical rulebreaking.
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Chris
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In reading this though -- the 12 men wouldn't actually waste time off the clock. What it DID do, though, was allow better defense against the long pass (so, the odds of it being an incomplete was greater -- and thus, they were only giving up 10 yards).

I still don't think it was intentional; but when it happened, I don't think the Giants cried about it.

And, I don't think the Pats not defending is necessarily breaking the rules. It's no different than (in Basketball) - being up by 3, and fouling the other team in the backcourt, to prevent them from even being able to get off a 3-pt shot.
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Jesse Hickle
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I'm sure both plays were intentional. The Giants were more subtle, but it worked too well to be a happy coincidence. The Patriots conceded the inevitable score early to save some time and a time out...there was even a Patriot coming to push Bradshaw in the end zone if he hadn't fallen over. I thought both were great examples of how coaching can have an impact in a game that is typically about the players.
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Jim §
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That (intentionally-negligent) defensive play by the Pats was bizarre, and might have lost them the game, if we assume that they could get into field goal range (big assumption, I know). That said, it was a calculated risk that came close to paying off. A good move overall.

The Giant's 12-man penalty was probably calculated, looking back on it, but I still think it was lame....

What cost the Patriots the game was their 1st quarter. The safety-through-penalty was the wackiest thing I've ever seen. I didn't even know that was a possibility!! But the Patriots' 12-man penalty late in the 1st, nullifying their recovery of the fumble, thereby allowing a Giant's touchdown was probably their most damaging penalty of the game. I almost switched to rooting for the Giants at that point, thinking the Pats didn't deserve any chance at a win after that play.

Of course, the best offensive play, by far, was Mario Manningham's precision catch on the edge of the field. Just beautiful! The man should be a star ballet dancer after he retires!! Of course, if the Patriots had completed that 50-yard Hail Mary on the last play with the receiver surrounded by 5 or 6 Giants, that would have been the play of the game. What if's don't count in football, though....

Best defensive play? Too many to choose from, almost all from the great Giants defense.

Definitely enjoyed the game more than I thought I would.
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Rob
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On the alleged 12-man decision: If the Pats had completed a long pass play or a TD, wouldn't they simply decline the penalty and let the play stand?
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Rishi A.
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
On the alleged 12-man decision: If the Pats had completed a long pass play or a TD, wouldn't they simply decline the penalty and let the play stand?


Yes, but with the extra man on the field, it was less likely that they'd complete a pass.
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brian
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I am sure the Patriots did theirs on purpose. It is a key strategy at the end of the game. From teh awkward landing of Bradshaw, I figured he wasn't sure until it was too late what was going on and momentum carried him in.

He said as much on Mike and Mike this morning. It wasn't discussed in the huddle and only Eli told him to "Don't Score, Don't Score" as he handed the ball off.

Coughlin didn't tell them to cut short though. You go down if you have the lead but you have to take the lead any way you can. Even a chip shot field goal isn't a sure thing. So scoring was the best thing the Giants could have done.

Belichick just has too much confidence in the offense when the Wide Receivers weren't really doing their part. It was a gamble that he had to take and if it had worked, everyone would be back on the "he's a football genius" bandwagon. I don't think it was clever, but the only choice he had since the Giants had too many ways to win it and not leave him any time.

As to the defensive penalty, I don't know if it was on purpose or not. But the rules should be changed that the time goes back on the clock. If you replay the down, you need to reset the clock.
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Chris
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Yes -- the idea (I think) would be -- with 12 defenders, they could still have 6 DL/LB *and* 6 DBs -- so they could still put 6-man pressure on the QB while playing a dime package, significantly reducing the chances of a long pass being completed.

Of course, if the pass is completed, the Pats would decline. The Giants *may* have been stacking the deck, to ensure (as much as possible) that the pass wouldn't be completed.
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Rob
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
Coughlin didn't tell them to cut short though. You go down if you have the lead but you have to take the lead any way you can. Even a chip shot field goal isn't a sure thing. So scoring was the best thing the Giants could have done.


That's what I was thinking; you can't count on making a field goal. If they're going to give you a touchdown, take it.
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Doug Faust
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I don't have a recording of the game, but I read that the 12th Giant on the field was Justin Tuck, who was making his way off the field on a defensive substitution (the play-by-play says the penalty was on Tuck, too). So, the Giants wouldn't have had more people in coverage on that play.

Intentional or not though, this sort of shenanigans shouldn't be advantageous to the team that commits the penalty. Maybe a rules tweak is in order.

As for the Patriots allowing NY to score, I don't really have a problem with that. I'm not really sure what Bradshaw was doing, though. If Coughlin really wanted to burn as much time as possible while getting a field goal, he could've just had Eli kneel twice on the 6 yard line.
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Doug Faust
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Phrim wrote:
I don't have a recording of the game, but I read that the 12th Giant on the field was Justin Tuck, who was making his way off the field on a defensive substitution (the play-by-play says the penalty was on Tuck, too). So, the Giants wouldn't have had more people in coverage on that play.


I just checked, at around 6:43 on this video, you can clearly see Justin Tuck (#91) running off the top of the field as Brady snaps the ball. Clearly the penalty was unintentional.

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Geeky McGeekface
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Phrim wrote:
I just checked, at around 6:43 on this video, you can clearly see Justin Tuck (#91) running off the top of the field as Brady snaps the ball. Clearly the penalty was unintentional.

I believed that at the time and still believe it. But it's still a loophole in the rules that could be exploited and the league should patch it up. Wouldn't be that hard to do at all.

As for letting NY score a touchdown, it was absolutely deliberate and a good decision. In fact, you could argue that Belichek's biggest mistake was not doing it on the previous down, giving the Pats an extra time out to get their touchdown. The strategy either way isn't clear cut (as opposed to the case where a team is up by 1 point in the closing seconds--in that case, the runner obviously should down himself, lest the other team get the ball back and score a touchdown and a 2 point conversion to tie). But even though NE is in a tough spot either way, they had a better chance of getting a TD with a minute to play than getting a field goal with only about 20 seconds. Consequently, Coughlin probably should have told his team to stop short of the goal line and take the chip shot field goal. It could still be missed, of course, but we're only talking about a 1%-2% chance.
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Erik D
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Lemur wrote:
In reading this though -- the 12 men wouldn't actually waste time off the clock. What it DID do, though, was allow better defense against the long pass (so, the odds of it being an incomplete was greater -- and thus, they were only giving up 10 yards).


Time lost on a defensive penalty is not restored. 8 seconds came off the clock during that play. At that point in the game, there is a monster difference between 17 seconds and 9 seconds remaining.

Until I saw Phrim's video above, I thought the 12-man penalty was intentional. There are rules to cover that if the ref considers it intentional: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palpably_unfair_act, though it would unlikely be called with 12 men (more perhaps though).

In fact, Buddy Ryan of the Houston Oilers often employed what he called the "Polish Defense" that involved intentionally putting upwards to 14 players on the field. http://smartfootball.com/defense/buddy-ryans-polish-goalline...
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Michael Hopcroft
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What struck me more is that this is the first time a game-winning touchdown in a title game could be described as an error on the part of the running back. He was told to down the ball at the one, and actually tried to, only to have his momentum carry him into the end zone.

Clearly the Giants wanted a field goal. How could you prefer a field goal to a touchdown and three points preferable to seven? It was all about the clock. The Giants wanted to leave the Pats with only a few seconds to try and score. Instead they had about a minute -- plenty of time for a Tom Brady offense. But the Giants defense met the challenge (even with the twelfth man, which drew a penalty but burned clock) and the mistake ended up not costing New England the game.

Now New York has beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl twice in two tries. And Eli, the lesser of the Manning brothers in terms of raw talent, has more rings than Peyton and will probably finally retire with more rings than Peyton.
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Rick B
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In a conversation about the 12-men on the field to prevent a long pass situation, a local sports talk guy (Tom Tobert, you might remember him if you are an NBA fan) presented this scenerio: On a, say, 2nd and goal from the 10 with 7 seconds left, just have all your defensive backs push or take down the receivers. Sure you'd get a bunch of pass interference penalties, but now it's 2nd and goal from the 5 with 2 seconds left. The team would have to kick the field goal. Maybe that's an NBA mentality.
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Scott Lewis
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I don't pretend to know all the nuances of NFL football rules, but in high school (which I know VERY well), such situations tend to be covered pretty well.

As a referee, if we count 12 men prior to the snap, most referees I've worked with would immediately kill the play and assess a 5-yard substitution foul (which doesn't run time off the clock, other than what was ticking prior to the foul being called), the rationale being it's better to nip it in the bud early. If the play started and there were 12, the clock would run, but they would be assessed a 15-yard Illegal Participation foul.

Also, in High School (and I'm guessing in NFL, too) there's a provision where if some unfair act happens that isn't specifically covered by rule, the referee has the authority to enforce an equitable penalty (including a score). In cases like this, for instance, if it was deemed that the 12th man was intentional to try and burn clock, the referee could add time back on. (To me, it didn't look intentional, though).
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Doug Faust
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:
Clearly the Giants wanted a field goal. How could you prefer a field goal to a touchdown and three points preferable to seven? It was all about the clock. The Giants wanted to leave the Pats with only a few seconds to try and score. Instead they had about a minute -- plenty of time for a Tom Brady offense. But the Giants defense met the challenge (even with the twelfth man, which drew a penalty but burned clock) and the mistake ended up not costing New England the game.


If they wanted a field goal, why did they try to advance the ball on 2nd and goal on the 6? They could have just knelt (twice) and that way not only prevented this situation, but one I'd be even more worried about: a game-killing fumble. Those concerns would far outweigh the difference between an 18-yard and a 23-yard field goal attempt.
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brian
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:
Clearly the Giants wanted a field goal.

According to Bradshaw, no they didn't. It wasn't discussed in the huddle and only Eli gave him instructions to not score when he handed the ball off. Coughlin confirmed later (I thought) the same thing - that he didn't give him an instruction to not score if he had the chance.

If they clearly wanted just the field goal, they would have done a quarter back sneak to kill clock, center it up and let the kicker try on 3rd down. That way if they had a botched snap or something, they would still have one more chance to score.

If you don't have the lead, not scoring really isn't an option.
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Derek
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1. Yes, clever 2. No, awesome (aka lucky)
On the Giants TD, no matter how they scored the Patriots would still need to drive the ball down the field to score, and that takes time. So why grind it out, waste time off the clock, and hold them to a FG? Part the Red Sea and let them in as fast as possible putting the ball in your future Hall of Famer's hands with a good chunk of time on the clock and a time out.

As for the Giants 12-men penalty, I don't think Tom Coughlin is as much as an evil genius as Belichick. I think it was a mistake that worked out in their favor.
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