Just minutes after Aaron Rodgers connected with Jeff Janis on an improbable 41-yard Hail Mary that tied the game at 20 on the final play of regulation, the captains from both teams were called to midfield for the overtime coin toss.
Maybe the ref was tired, maybe the ref was confused or maybe he was still in shock from the Hail Mary, but whatever the reason was, he botched the coin toss.
As the visiting team, the Packers were asked to call heads or tails. After referee Clete Blakeman attempted to flip the coin, Aaron Rodgers called tails, and that's when the chaos started.
WTF? Did another coin flip? pic.twitter.com/xM3o8cKDia— MarcusD (@_MarcusD_) January 17, 2016
The coin landed on heads, but it never flipped while it was in the air. Rodgers and his teammates started complaining immediately, so Blakeman decided to flip the coin again.
Now, this is interesting for two reasons:
1. Nowhere in the NFL rulebook does it say that coin has to "flip" during the coin toss. The only thing the rulebook says is that "The referee, in the presence of both team's captains, shall toss a coin at the center of the field."
2. If Blakeman was going to flip the coin again, it's fair to think that Rodgers should have gotten to call heads or tails again.
After the game, Rodgers called the entire coin flip situation a "debacle."
Rodgers explained that he only called "tails" because he saw heads showing in Blakeman's hand and went the opposite route. It's possible that maybe he had planned to use the same strategy on the second toss.
"Clete had it on heads. He was showing heads. So I called tails. And it didn't flip," Rodgers said. "It just tossed up in the air and did not turn over at all. It just landed on the ground. So obviously that was not right."
Rodgers said Blakeman was in a rush because he was trying to avoid the embarrassment of what had just happened.
"He picked the coin up and flipped it to tails and then he flipped it without giving me a chance to give me a re-call there. It was confusing," Rodgers said. "I think he was trying to avoid the embarrassment of what happened -- flip it quickly."
The good news for the NFL is that the Cardinals won the flip both times. The bad news for the NFL is that Blakeman potentially didn't follow proper protocol on the second flip.
Also, the NFL confirmed that Blakeman didn't have to re-flip the coin after he messed up the first time.
"There is nothing in the rule book that specifies this," the league said in a statement. "But the referee used his judgment to determine that basic fairness dictated that the coin should flip for the toss to be valid. That is why he re-tossed the coin."
The Cardinals are now headed to the NFC Championship Game against either the Panthers or Seahawks. As for the Packers, Saturday's loss will mark the second year in a row that they lost a playoff game by six in overtime.
In January 2015, the Packers blew a 19-7 lead against the Seahawks in the game's final 2:30.