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: Jan 18, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:11 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

The Patriots handed the Ravens the football game and they choked. Another play that the Ravens failed on was when Tom Brady did a qb sneak at the half yard line and Ray Lewis and two other clowns were 5 yards deep in the end zone. If the ravens studied any game film they would of known that lately Brady has been doing qb sneaks down on the goal line,  then again maybe Ray Lewis was suppose to be on the goal line its just that his old slow ass can't move that quick. Haha Ravens, it will be a very long time before we talk about you crybabies in the playoffs.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:06 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Hey Brand Master B, no cares where you were or what you said to your "friend".  Thanks for wasting 30 seconds of my life.  I should've known better than to read a philty fan's stupid reply...

Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:05 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Blame the company who built the scoreboard or the people who installed it or the people who operate it in a game. Hey!! Who's to blame? We know........who gets paid to do this? The kicker missed. Case closed. The sports media and all the analysts thrive on this crud. This analytical stuff is starting to give competition to the Outer Limits................c'mon, the guy missed the kick. Game over. Let's go to the next one so we can analyze pro/con; before/after; blah, blah, over.

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:04 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Let's be honest here, this was a chip shot for a professional kicker. I could see a college player buckling under the pressure but when you're getting paid a great deal of money for this single purpose, it's hard for me to have sympathy just because of a down miscommunication. I understand this is a team game, but there isn't a more individualistic time during a game then when the kicker kicks a fg. Sure, ball placement and laces out make a difference but lets be real, the guy is soley responsible. Cundiff choked, bottom line.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:01 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Love all the "Harbaugh should have called a TO" comments. Ask Jason Garrett how that worked out for him.

These guys are capable of rolling out of bed and kicking 32 yarders

Cundiff has taken full responibility for missing it, move on people

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:52 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Totally agree Harbough is the "Goat"..I am in Philly watching the game as an NFL fan and commented to a friend who was watching with me"why is Cundiff rushing on to the field? Harbough needs to calla time out".........rediculous.everyone saw him running to get in to position.....what was  Harbough saving the time Out for ? The scoreboard debacle was legit and clearly disrupted the Harbough clearly saw the confusion and rushing for all to get set to make the attempt...he chiked from a coaching perspective.......The guy who they really need to be talking about is Lee do you drop that ball ??? Its in his hands he just needs to secure the ball and clutch it..............Major choke  there....very dissapointing for Ravens fans as the ravens clearly had  that game under control and in position to win.............Oh Well !!! 

Since: Jan 24, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:51 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

A kicker who is unaware of the down in a situation like that deserves to be taken by surprise.
The biggest surprise is that he would admit it.  Holy moly, he is dumber than a box of rocks for both.

Since: Dec 28, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:47 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

I feel the coach should shoulder the blame.  He is watching his field team on the field with no kicker, the kicker rushes on at the last minute and no "bells" go off to call a time out?  What was he saving if for?

Cundiff is not without blame either.  Kickers practice the last minute dash to get the field goal unit on the field and kick.

Since: Apr 21, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:45 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Balty can't win the big game! They are looking alot more like the jets! I think the Ravens time has run out on them as they are getting old!

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:24 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

 The person who really should take a lot of the heat for the loss is John Harbaugh for not calling the timeout.
It's funny.  Cundiff has blamed himself.  The players have stood behind Cundiff.  But any coach worth his paycheck would have stepped up and put the spotlight on himself for blowing the timeout call.  Protect your players and recognize you mismanaged the end of the game, Harbaugh.  It takes a man to do that.......

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