Sunday, February 01, 2015

A Super Bowl Ending to Make the NFL Year Complete

Picture this:

Game tied.

Time running out.

Patriots have ball in their own territory, call it the 45, need a pass with say 15 seconds left to get into field goal position.

Tom Brady drops back, throws a down-and-out pattern to Julian Edelman, who needs to get out of bounds to stop the clock, because the Patriots have no timeouts left.

Good thinking, except Richard Sherman intercepts the ball and starts to race down the Patriots sideline for what looks like will be a score and second consecutive Super Bowl victory for the Seahawks.

Except that someone on the Patriots' sideline -- it doesn't matter who -- steps onto the field, sticks a leg out, trips Sherman, who goes flying to the ground, whereupon a Pats' player pounces on him to end the play and send the game into overtime.  The Pats' staff member or player gets ejected.  The Pats will get penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct on the kickoff for overtime.  They win the coin toss for overtime and, of course, the Seahawks kick the ball through the end zone because they are kicking 15 yards closer to the end zone that the Patriots are defending.  First and ten on their own twenty for the Pats, and Brady marches the team down the field for a touchdown and Super Bowl victory.

If that were to happen -- and, of course, it's a long shot (and I am not sure that the rules wouldn't prevent the officials from awarding the game to the Seahawks under the circumstances that I described), it would make the Ray Rice scandal look like a trailer for the main feature.  It would also cap an awful year for the NFL.

I hope that something like this doesn't happen.  But when the stakes are great, funny things can happen.  And then what does the league do?  Especially on the spur of the moment.

If the Patriots were to win the game under such a scenario, well, that type of scandal could eclipse both of Major League Baseball's credibility problems -- the strike that canceled the 1994 World Series and the Steroids Era.

Naturally, it's fun to think of hypotheticals like these.

But then again, with the Patriots and Bill Belichick, sadly, the strange has happened.  And could happen again.