Sunday, January 24, 2010
The David Thomas Fake Fall Controversy
It's 1st & 10 for the Saints at the Vikings' 41 yard line with 11:52 on the clock in overtime. Brees hikes the ball; the Vikings' linemen fly toward him forcing him to back pedal. At the last second Brees heaves the ball up in the air. Viking's linebacker Ben Leber is running with Saints tight end David Thomas. Thomas falls down and the pass sails 10 yards ahead of Thomas and Leber. A ref flings a devastating yellow flag up the air. Announcer Troy Aikman wonders why the pass wasn't ruled an uncatchable ball. The replay shows that Leber never really touched David Thomas; and it even reveals that Thomas appears to have faked falling over so he could get a penalty. Nevertheless, the refs spot the ball at the Vikings' 29 yard line. Brees completes a questionable 1st down pass to receiver Robert Meachum; Saints kicker Hartley kicks the game-winner.
But what about the fake pass interference penalty on Leber that advanced the ball for the Aints?
It's true that the Vikings did much to squander their many opportunities with fumbles, interceptions, penalties, etc. The 12 men in the huddle penalty when the Vikings were in field goal range should have been avoided. Brett's last interception was a killer; making him look just as he did in the championship game vs. the Giants 2 years ago. But nevertheless, the Vikings fan leaves the game with a sense of emptiness after the fake penalty on Leber.
It's no secret that New Orleans' line got away with a lot of holding; particularly Right Tackle John Stinchcomb. Much of the holding happened split seconds before Brees threw the ball, and thus went unpenalized.
Also, I don't doubt that New Orleans got away with more cheap stuff than did Minnesota. However, I didn't see the alleged questionable roughing the passer penalty on the Saints lineman who hit Favre,* but, the Saints' Bobby McCray should have been penalized for a low blow on Favre in the third quarter but was not. Granted, it's questionable as to whether the hit on Favre was as game-changing as Thomas's fake, but the hit did somewhat limit Favre's running ability for the rest of the game.
I also did not see Sidney Rice's alleged offensive pass interference due to our crummy local station's power outage. But it's no secret that the Aints DBs held and pushed while feigning armbars on Vikings' receivers.
The Thomas penalty really bugs me. It'd be different if the Aints had won fair and square, but they obviously haven't. They deserve to have 2nd & 10 at their own 41, not an NFC championship.
Addendum: For some consolation, Thomas could be nominated for an Emmy (for acting).
For the Vikings/Brett Favre fan, it was a prolific season; with an unhappy ending: one that leaves me in denial after seeing the Vikings come so close.
Oh well, life goes on. It's just a game.
*Our crummy FOX 56 station went out during the game.
PS I admit that the Saints' O-line played better than the Vikings'.