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Billy Cundiff Rushed His Field Goal Attempt Because of Error on Gillette Stadium Scoreboard

Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left that would have tied the AFC Championship Game at 23. The miss essentially gave the Patriots the win, sending them to the Super Bowl.

When Cundiff attempted his field goal, the entire play seemed rushed; the ball was snapped just before the play clock expired. Cundiff told Deadspin’s Stefan Fatsis that the entire sequence was rushed because of an error on the Gillette Stadium scoreboard.

According to Cundiff, and confirmed by the Ravens on tape, the Gillette Stadium scoreboard erroneously said Baltimore got a first down on a pass to Anquan Boldin. There was some confusion on the Boldin play because he fumbled the ball out of bounds ahead of the first down marker. By rule, the ball cannot be advanced on a fumble. So in actuality, Boldin was tackled a yard shy of the first down marker, setting up a 2nd and 1. When it was second down for Baltimore, Cundiff thought it was first down because of what the scoreboard said, and so on.

By the time the team got to fourth down, Cundiff thought it was still third down thus he was unprepared for his kick.

Cundiff has accepted all blame for the kick and said it’s a routine one he should have made. He says he feels badly for ruining the season for his teammates. But this development has led some people to question if the scoreboard error was an intentional move by the Patriots to confuse Baltimore. Given New England’s history of videotaping opponents’ signals, and the reports that they sabotaged opposing teams’ headsets, there seems to be grounds for the speculation.

Bottom line: Cundiff’s missed kick isn’t the only reason they lost the game, and there’s no guarantee they would have won in overtime. Their offense had plenty of opportunities to score points and did not deliver. And Cundiff, regardless of whether or not he was confused by what down it was, should have made a 32-yard field goal. This is a team that reached the AFC Championship Game. They shouldn’t be making excuses like they’re a 2-14 team.

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE


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  • Anonymous

    Oh, come on, I am so tired of the finger pointing at others when you don’t win.  To succeed, you suck it up and learn from your mistakes, you don’t try to blame others. 

  • Anonymous

    Almost to a man, the Ravens players have said that they – as a team – lost the game, and refuse to point to any one play or player.  In other reports, including sound clips, Cundiff’s explanation is a lot more nuanced than is portrayed here.  He basically said there was confusion on the Baltimore sideline as to which down it was – which is really the fault of the coaches – and it caused Cundiff to miss his normal sideline warm-up.  When they were ready to kick the field goal, Cundiff was still on the sideline going through his warm-up and had to sprint on field.  With 10 seconds left on the play clock, he got out there, but the whole thing was rushed.  He could have taken a timeout, and in fact Cundiff and Harbaugh said they didn’t even think about it at the time.  “everything kept speeding up and speeding up.”  
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/23/billy-cundiff-everything-kept-speeding-up/

    This speculation that New England used brinksmanship is not coming from the Baltimore camp.  This is the first I’m hearing that supposition.  I don’t think they did – Christ, the refs and announcers and scoreboard operators and stick men have so many errors each game it’s ridiculous.  But given the fact they’ve been caught in shenanigans before – it kinda opens you up to speculation.