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.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.

Since: Jun 29, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:00 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

So would have my Grandma! lol

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 2:58 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Maybe it's me, I was at the game and I knew what down down is was.  I was looking at the sticks not the board and I'm sure cundiff had a better view of the sticks then I did.  Catch the ball or make the kick, plain and simple.  As for that Denver fan, still smarking from that beating the Pats put on your team?

Since: Feb 22, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 2:37 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Just did the giants offense cause the 49rs to go 1-19 on 3rd downs...dont be a hypocrite, giants defense showed up more then the 49rs defense, just judging from turnovers alone.

Since: Dec 19, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 2:13 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

As a 49er fan, and proud one still, why not ? My team lost to an offensively better team this year..NOT Defensively and for that I'm satisfied for now.. 1 for 19 on 3rd downs with 1 reception to our WR's (NOT TE's) says it all.. Thank God we have a stand up team and doesn't go for excuses like the extremely quick whistle on the Bradshaw fumble on our 20 with 2 mins. to go..or our punt/kick returner being put in to fill in for our reg. returner due to injury...INSTEAD Kyle Williams faced the cameras and took the heat.. Disappointing season Not at ALL..Disappointing to the 1 game's results ..of course..49ers will be back next year as for Cundiff ? Probably not as a Raven..

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:30 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Enough with the excuses! Scoreboard errors are famously routine, especially after close plays. You check with the officials (or your coaches do) and you proceed accordingly. This is simply an attempt to deflect responsibility for a poor kick, nothing more.

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:23 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 2, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:23 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

u gonna be on the field schroder???? LOL

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:19 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Ha ha ha, that's what you get for watching a replay of the game and not just watching the live game itself. Stand on the sideline, watch the game, follow the downs, know what is going on.

Is he supposed to pace up and down the sideline all game following the action next to the coach?  do you suppose he watch the game and warm up at the same time? I thought it was obvious that he follows the game on the scoreboard because ITS EASY TO SEE. 

In the end, it's up to the coach to know what down it is -- could he not see the sticks? -- and call timeout if he feels his kicker needs a second to regroup and get his focus back. It's not "icing" your own kicker if you call the damn timeout as he starts running on the field.  

Since: Dec 29, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:16 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Pretty lame excuse.  Is he saying he couldn't make a 37 yarder if they get a delay of game penalty?  Then again, he couldn't make a 32 yarder, so......

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:03 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Baltimore deserved to win that game, Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff each took turns losing it.  New England got lucky, period.  As for the NFC game, it is hard to say what would have happened without 2 muffed punts/fumbles by Williams, but he certainly did his part to lose that game.  For the record, I had no rooting interest, these are just my observations. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or