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: Nov 26, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:58 pm

The Patriots Cheated

I love NON PATS fans who love to bring up the whole cheating thing, I like to point out that there are these guys on the field with little flags they throw every time a player cheats... Every flag thrown means someone broke the rules.  So yes the Pats like every single team in the history of the game got busted and a BIG flag was thrown.  But there's not a team, player or coach in the league who has never cheated to gain an advantage.

Folks will rank on teams, players, coaches and owners of teams they dont like, I had a huge argument with dude over Michael Vick, now I'm not a Vick fan but in a league where guys are dealing drugs, killing their pregnant girlfirend, killing old dude's while driving drunk, have 6 or 7 babies with different women put it in perspective, I don't condone what he did but he in no way ranks up with some of the real bad boys of the NFL.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:52 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Vinatieri woulda made the kick regardless.... (same with a bunch of other kickers) Sorry Billy

Since: Mar 9, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:38 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

And all you steelers lovers have had your off season excuse (ben was hurt) for a while now since you were eliminated weeks ago (by tebow, insert laugh). And our QB kicked your QBs butt twice this year. And he don't go around raping girls. So I will take Joe over Ben anyday thanks. See ya on the field next year.

Since: Dec 23, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:37 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Not sure if anyone else mentioned it, but I was watching the game and asking why the Pats didn't call a timeout.  Try to freeze the kicker like most teams do.  If this is all correct, Bill must've noticed the clock expiring, seen Cundiff rush out and decided to let it roll.  Call Bill what you want, but that's what good coaches do...they don't freeze up in crunch time.

Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:35 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:34 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Rushed? Are you kidding me? How many kicks from all distances and angles does this guy take during a week? You can't tell me that he was rushed unless he was still running on the field when the ball was snapped. As you can see from the video he is set and ready to attempt that kick. The guy is paid $2.1 million to kick a ball and people are saying he was rushed? Sorry but for that kind of money and a chance to possibly go to the Super Bowl, I would think he wouldn't have his head up his rear at that moment.  I don't care about the Ravens or the Patriots but the fact is that he flat out shanked that kick and it cost the Ravens at least OT. 

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:24 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

I knew when I saw this article that the Patriot-hating morons would somehow turn this into a "New England's cheating" argument. It's just as another poster said, whenever the Pats win, they somehow cheated. When they lose, it's because they couldn't cheat. We've even had a Raider fan here bringing up the Tuck Rule.

If Cundiff and the Ravens have to rely on the scoreboard clock, they have no business beingin the game. Someone, Harbaugh, Cundiff, the defense, ANYONE, could have and should have called a timeout. Cundiff blew the kick. That's it.

Those that constantly lean on the cheating argument just hate because their teams usually lose to the Patriots.

Since: Apr 9, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:20 pm

watch the game LIVE!

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.

No sympathy. I hate the fact that stadiums even have replay screens, as it takes away from the live game itself. Why not stay at home and watch on t.v. if you want to watch it on a screen?

People are obsessed with video images these days. No one even pays attention to reality, just images.

Ha ha ha, sorry Ravens, sorry Baltomorons.

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:08 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

I fully agree with you on the stuped remarks that comes from the media. The Pats won period. They played 60 minutes of football and came out on top. Just like the Giants/49er's game, the media say's the 49er's gave the Giants the game. I'm not a big Giants fan but the Giants just like the Pats won fair and square. If the Ravens and the 49er's had played better than the Pats and the Giants they would have won plain and simple. It will be a great Superbowl. Pats vs Giants rerun. Can't wait.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:08 pm

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Now the crying Raven lovers have their off-season excuse. Get a QB, and get your coach to stop crying.

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