If you remember back during the Spygate allegations a few years ago, another claim that emerged was that the Patriots were sabotaging opponents’ headsets during key moments in games. Since the home team has control over stadium communications, such a move would not be a surprise. Guess what? It sounds like the Atlanta Falcons employed the same maneuver.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Falcons 27-21 on Sunday coming back from down 27-14. Late in the 4th quarter the Bucs drove inside the 10 and had a 3rd and 3 at the four yard line. They handed to LeGarrette Blount who gained two yards, making it a 4th and 1 at the two. If you saw the action or the video replay, quarterback Josh Freeman didn’t receive the communication from the coaches and didn’t know what play to call for the critical moment. He wound up burning a timeout with a few seconds left on the playclock and the offense had to reset. They wound up handing off to Blount on 4th and 1 and got stopped, but what’s interesting is what Raheem Morris is saying a day later.
The Tampa Bay coach says there was some funny business going on at that time. Rick Stroud reported on twitter that “Bucs coach Raheem Morris says the coach to QB radio ‘mysteriously,’ went off in ATL after one play near the goal line, forcing a timeout.” I don’t doubt the truth of his allegation based on what we saw.
Is it a dirty practice? Yes. Do most teams do it? You bet. Does it make it right? No. But it sure as heck is part of the reason why homefield advantage is such a big deal in football. Oh yeah, it also must be pointed out that radio communications had nothing to do with the Bucs losing; they lined up against the Falcons and needed just one yard on a 4th and 1 and got stuffed. They didn’t deserve to win after that stop.