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: Jul 14, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:43 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

I thought it was John Rocker trucking in from the bullpen the way Cundiff came sprinting in for the kick.

Since: May 1, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:43 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

The Ravens had one timeout remaining, and went home with that one timeout in their pocket.
Call the timeout, and any time discrepancy (if there was one) would be negated.
Thanks for the worthless article Ryan Wilson.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:36 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

I knew there would be some kind of BS excuse but this one take's the cake.Most of us watching at home don't need a scoreboard to know what down is coming up.The Ravens, & all teams, have plenty of people to "help a K & the rest of the team know what's going on but let's place all the blame on the scoreboard absolving the K of all blame.Chalk up yet another suspious win for New England.

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:30 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Is it too early to blame Bill Belichick for tampering with the stadium's scoreboard?

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:30 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

just another in a long line of pro home team mistakes at Gillete stadium.  remeber back to the snow plow incident? the k ball incident  with the jets?

Since: Sep 11, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:29 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Anyone notice that things like this always seem to happen in New England, and ALWAYS in the Patriots favor?  Just Askin'

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:28 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

some teams kick a field goal on third down in the overtime, not in regulation time.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:26 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

i actually thought the hold was tilted forward too much as well. perhaps he should have made the kick, but let's not overlook the complete and total misuse of time in that situation. if you have a timeout, and it is clear you're not prepared for the situation, then you call timeout. you can blame that on whomever you want to.

as for me, the lee evans play was far more crucial. and under two minutes, should have been reviewed anyway. it's irrelevant if you feel like he caught it or not, that play was extremely close. his second foot was either touching, or 1 inch above the ground when moore swiped that thing. in this case, the ravens crumbled under pressure. (i actually think flacco could have easily run for the first down on the third down play that followed) instead, he made an ill-advised throw.

it simply wasn't meant to be, ravens fans. and once again the patriots are on the winning side of crazy circumstances. give them credit for being in position to take advantage of these things.

the tuck rule was one of the worst calls i've ever witnessed, and i'm far from a raiders' fan. at least this result came from players on the field making plays.

Since: Jan 20, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:22 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Man sometimes shank happens

Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:16 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

um, i dont think the ravens wrote this article, idiot.

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