Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Life of Reilly
By Rick Reilly
Donovan McNabb is getting $6.3M this year to play in the NFL, and yet was clueless that a regular-season game can end in a tie after one overtime. Then he added, "I'd hate to see what happens in the Super Bowl. You'd have to settle with a tie."
(Sound of America slapping its forehead.)
Oy. It'd be like a pro golfer going, "You mean I have to get it all the way into the stupid hole?" So I devised a little unscientific quiz to see if it's just Duhnovan who's brain-dead about his line of work, or if other players are rules-challenged too. Cover your eyes. It's not pretty. "WAIT, YOU'RE TRYING TO TRICK ME."
Q: What does happen in the playoffs if the game is tied after the first overtime?
Correct answer: Play continues until one team scores.
Q: How many points do you get for returning a blocked PAT all the way?
- Sam Madison, CB, Giants: "Are they gonna do a coin toss? The rule needs to be changed."
- Shaun O'Hara, C, Giants: "Yeah, we don't want the Super Bowl decided by a coin flip."
Correct answer: Zero.
Q: If a punt is in the air while the game clock expires and the receiver signals and makes a fair catch, is the game over?
- Calvin Pace, LB, Jets: "Two? Isn't that the rule in college?"
- Kerry Rhodes, S, Jets: "Wait, you're trying to trick me. It's either two or none. I say none."
- Nick Mangold, C, Jets: "Seven? I have no idea."
- Dustin Keller, TE, Jets: "I think it's two."
- Madison: "Two."
Correct answer: No, the receiving team can try a fair-catch kick.
Q: What is a fair-catch kick?
- Danny Clark, LB, Giants: "Yes."
- Madison: "Yes."
- Damon Huard, QB, Chiefs: "If the punter touched it, then the game is over."
- Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: "Yes."
- Pace: "Yes. It's an untimed play, isn't it?"
Correct answer: A fair-catch kick is a field goal attempt following a fair catch. It can be a placekick or dropkick, but no tee may be used. It cannot be defensed.
Q: What is the penalty for running into the kicker on a quick kick?
- Brendon Ayanbadejo, LB, Ravens: "The ball is put on the tee, or maybe there's a holder holding it, but there's nobody covering."
- Jarret Johnson, LB, Ravens: "You kick from the 50, off the tee. You can cover it. We've gone over it in meetings, but you don't practice it because it's the kicker kicking off a tee."
Correct answer: No penalty.
Q: What's the maximum number of challenges a coach can make in a game if he's always right?
- Clark: "Personal foul."
- Jonathan Goff, LB, Giants: "Same as on a normal punt."
- O'Hara: "Personal foul."
- Ayanbadejo: "Roughing the kicker? Automatic first down? No, wait! If he's showing that he's running the ball, then you can hit him just like anybody else."
- Johnson: "Fifteen yards and a first down."
- Chester Pitts, G, Texans: "It's a 15-yard penalty. If you annihilate him, I guarantee someone will throw a flag."
- Eric Barton, LB, Jets: "No idea."
- Pace: "There isn't a penalty. I just took a wild guess on that one."
Correct answer: Three.
Q: When can the first-string QB reenter the game if the third-string quarterback is inserted before the fourth quarter?
- Clark: "As many as he wants."
- Goff: "Two per half."
- O'Hara: "Four."
- Barton: "If he's right, why stop him?"
- Pace: "Six."
- Mangold: "I don't know. There goes my coaching gig."
- Rhodes: "Three. You're not going to get me."
Correct answer: Never. If the third quarterback is inserted before the fourth quarter, a team's first two quarterbacks cannot be used in the game at any position.
Q: Can the kicking team recover its own blocked punt and advance?
- Huard: "After the fourth quarter, the first-string quarterback can come in."
- Johnson: "You have to declare who your first- and second-string quarterbacks are?"
- Pitts: "They're interchangeable. If someone wanted to wake up and start the third quarterback and then put in the first quarterback on the next series, they could."
Correct answer: Yes, if the kick is caught or received behind the line of scrimmage.
Q: Are most of these players very much hoping their coaches don't read this?
Correct answer: Yes.
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- Johnson: "No, it's dead."
- Barton: "I don't think you can advance a blocked punt."
- Mangold: "Don't know, great question."