Professional football players have a lot on their mind. They must remember to attend practices and games, decide which colour of Escalade to buy and, of course, decide which butt cheek gets this week’s injections.
If only more players had a coach like the Eagles’ Andy Reid, who doesn’t pester his players with the expectation that they know minute details, like the rules of football.
On Sunday, after a scoreless overtime, a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals ended in a rare tie, 13-13.
The previous NFL tie dates all the way back to 2002, a simpler time, before oil was a cause for war and when everyone was throwing away their money on overnight fads, like the iPod.
But what makes the game more remarkable is that at least four Eagles players were unaware that regular season games could end in a tie.
“I’ve never been a part of a tie,” Eagles’ Donovan McNabb told the American Press after the game. “I never even knew that was in the rule book…
“I hate to see what would happen in the Super Bowl and in the playoffs,” added the 10-year veteran, unaware that, like in the NHL, all post-season games in the NFL continue until there’s a winner, no matter how many overtimes it takes.
But what’s funny — I mean, ridiculously so — is the NFL’s tie rule is 34 years old and out of the 17 games that have finished in ties since its conception, four of those were Eagles games!
Hey, McNabb, just so there are no other shockers for you: a pigskin, is another word for a football.
“I’m sure there are plenty of rules that guys don’t understand, but I don’t think that has any factor whatsoever to do with the outcome of this game and how they played in the overtime,” Reid told the American Press on Monday.
“I think that’s absurd. You play to win in that time, whether you think you have another overtime period or you don’t. And you play your heart out to win it in that time, and that’s how we approached it and that’s how the players approached it.”
Yes, working in the NFL is like working at the CIA: everything is on a need-to-know basis. Just like how the Bengals don’t have to know they’re named after Bangladesh’s national animal, which is also second largest subspecies of tiger after the Siberian tiger. Nor do they have to know that Bengal tigers will probably be extinct in the wild long before the team wins their first Super Bowl. (Any long-term football/ecology gamblers out there?)
Unfortunately for Reid, football is not chess. He has obviously been playing a little too much of the ol’ John Madden Football on his X-Box, where quarterbacks can be omnipotently controlled, and the rest of the team operate as programmed.
But in real life it can be extremely important for players to know the rules of the sport they make millions of dollars playing. Assuming there is another overtime coming can be the difference between a player playing it safe, or going for the win and possibly taking the game.
And that one point separating a win from a tie could mean the difference between a spot in the playoffs and Sundays on the couch.
Pardon my hostility, but what the hell is wrong with you Eagles?! Christ Almighty, you play the sport for a living! Don’t you ever read the sports page — what the hell did you think the “T” next to the “W” and “L” stood for?
If you said “Tuned-in,” I’ll admit that would explain why that column next to your team name was filled with a zero for so many years!
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com