Blog Entry

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Posted on: January 23, 2012 9:18 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 9:20 pm
Cundiff isn't making excuses but admits there was confusion on the sidelines Sunday. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Not long after kicker Billy Cundiff pull-hooked a 32-yard field-goal attempt that would've likely sent the Ravens and Patriots to overtime, we wondered why Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh didn't use the team's last timeout. He said it never occurred to him, even though Cundiff was clearly rushed as he set up for a pretty important kick. By the time the ball was finally snapped, there was just one second remaining on the play clock.

A day later, there were reports that Cundiff "wasn't paying attention" which, frankly, seemed ludicrous.

Stefan Fatsis, who wrote a book on his summer as a training-camp kicker for the Broncos, spoke Monday with Cundiff who explained exactly what happened on that final, fateful play.

Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left that would have sent the game into overtime, and instead sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl. 

Like most kickers, Cundiff has a routine on every drive that starts on first down and ends on fourth down, either with him on the field attempting a field goal or with the Ravens' punting. As he explained to Fatsis, because NFL sidelines are a crowded place, it's easiest to follow the action by watching it live on the stadium scoreboard. Except on the Ravens' final drive Sunday, the scoreboard read third down when, in reality, it was fourth down. Fatsis explains:

"Then, suddenly, chaos on the sidelines. Coaches were screaming — from the opposite end of the field to where Cundiff was thinking his third-down pre-kick kicker thoughts — for the field-goal unit. The play clock was ticking and Cundiff, as per normal, was back from the sideline and farther from the line of scrimmage than his teammates. As he was not expecting to go in yet, he had to run to get into position for a game-tying kick."

The confusion stemmed from an Anquan Boldin catch-and-fumble that was mistaken for a first down. (Boldin had fumbled the ball forward past the first-down marker. The rules state the ball must be returned to the spot of the fumble, which is what happened.)

According to the Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel, "[Terrell] Suggs said there was a discrepancy between the scoreboard at Gillette Stadium and what the officials were saying about what the down and distance was after Boldin’s fumble. The Ravens took shots at the end zone on 2nd-and-1 and 3rd-and-1 before bringing out Cundiff for a 32-yard field goal attempt."

The problem: what was actually second and third down on the field was shown on the scoreboard as first and second down, respectively. Hence Cundiff's confusion and the subsequent scrambling to get the kick off.

Which again raises the question: why didn't Harbaugh call timeout.

It doesn't matter now, of course. Cundiff, to his credit, isn't looking to shirk the blame. And his teammates, to a man, have his back.

"Every single guy who said something to me after the game, in the locker room, or on the plane" was supportive, Cundiff told Fatsis, including Harbaugh.

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Since: Nov 15, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:46 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Wow.... What a shock, a Steeler fan making idiotic comments. 1. Flacco outplayed Brady (look at the stats) 2. The Ravens had a game winning TD (look at the replay) 3. Why are you even commenting on the AFC championship, when your sorry ass team couldn't even beat the Bronco's

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:33 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Well in the end whether you want to blame the scoreboard, or that you non-Patriot fans want to say the Pats cheated - one thing remains the same - Cundiff choked and pulled the kick right - way right too.  I mean it wasn't even close.  On Sunday after the game Cundoff gets up to the microphone and shoulders the blame, and I respect the guy for doing that.  Now a day later he talks about the miscues and circumstances around why he missed the kick.  He is still a stand-up guy for shouldering the blame because he knows he choked.  The person who really should take a lot of the heat for the loss is John Harbaugh for not calling the timeout.  You can't use them when the game is over.  John had to know the situation on his own sideline, and if he didn't then he shouldn't be coaching the team.  As for the typical timeout by the opposing team to freeze the kicker, one must give credit to Belichick for not calling a timeout in that situation.  He recognized from the other sideline what was going on, and saw Kundiff was in a rush to get the snap off before the play clock expired.  So to Belichick thank you for not freezing the kicker in this instance.  You can call the Patriots cheaters but in the end they found a way to win the game.  Sterling Moore made a huge play in the end zone to strip the ball on what would have been a game winning catch.  Were the score board lights in Lee Evan's eyes?  No wait the Patriots must have put some sort of slippery substance on the football so Evans couldn't hang on to it.  All the FG would have done was to send the game to OT.  I wonder how the Patriots would have cheated to win the game in OT?  Pats now go win your 4th Superbowl title and see what they say. 

Since: Dec 12, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:32 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?


Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:08 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Wow. The Patriots have elevated cheating to such a level that now, even when they cheat, they don't appear to be cheating.

Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:08 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

The truly wonderful thing about the Patriots organization, from top to bottom, is that they are so gracious. And it plays over to their fans as well. That is why, all over this great big land of ours, we're all Patriots fans today. Tom Brady, Bill Belechek - stand up guys. Patriots fans who post on these message boards - stand up guys. It's true of Red Sox fans, Celtics fans, Bruins fans and Patriots fans. No matter where you live, work or play, nothing lights up a room like a New England sports fan. I think I'll invite a bunch over for dinner tonight. It'll make my day.

Since: May 19, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:31 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Mar 25, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:12 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

A kicker has one job to do...that's what HE gets paid for...he missed, get over it

Since: Dec 11, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:09 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

the genius bill belchick and the pats are awsome! they always find the most creative ways to cheat. thats why they have now 5 superbowl apperences in the last deacade and 3 superbowl wins. to funny. hey t suggs, you and your boy will now be watching the superbowl at home lmao.

Since: Jun 21, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:59 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Well. lets sign your wife to a contract!

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:53 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Ssoreboard error?  One way to fight the official scorer of course, is with time-outs in your pocket.  Even my wife could figure that one out.  As we sat watching the game on Sunday, she asked aloud rhetorically, "Why are they in such a hurry?  Why don't they just take a time out and get settled?"  By the time she had finished her sentences, the kick was gone and wide.  While we didn't really want Baltimore to win, we were assuming that Balimore was going to take its time and get settled in to tie the game, once the touchdown reception was knocked away.  As I say, her questions were rhetorical and I had no answer. 

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