Ridiculous game winning play from Div. III football
October 28, 2007 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Trinity University won their football game this Saturday on a crazy play, (somewhat reminiscent of "The Play" minus the mayhem of the fans and band rushing the field.) This one looks more like a grade school game of keep away. What happened to the defense??
posted by tdstone (135 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
lol
posted by sciurus at 1:50 PM on October 28, 2007


Heh, that was awesome. Nice to see football plays that last more than five seconds.
posted by mdonley at 1:55 PM on October 28, 2007


Hey, it almost looked like a real sport there for five minutes!

The purple guys probably weren't used to running for more than two minutes at a time, see.
posted by blacklite at 1:57 PM on October 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


Awesome.
posted by ColdChef at 2:01 PM on October 28, 2007


Three problems with the defense.

1) None of them had apparently ever seen a game of rugby.

2) All of them forgot that once the ball passed the line of scrimmage, no one could make a forward pass, so there's no need to cover anyone downfield. Just go murder the guy with the ball.

3) All of them forgot that once a man was tackled, the game was over. All they had to do was stand on the goal line and tackle anyone before they crossed it. "Dance all you want -- you still have to cross this line to win."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:04 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Alright! That was awesome!

It's one of the many reasons why I don't watch football - I've always wondered why football teams never do this: i.e., WORK AS A FRIKKIN TEAM! Instead you see one guy trying to be THE guy to make that touchdown. He gets piled on. He does have other players on the field wearing the same jersey. He coulda let them help him out - but noooo..!

Granted, every time you throw the ball to another player, you are risking the opposing team stealing possession from you, AND you often lose yardage, but the alternative is not to give it to one guy and then hope he can run faster than the opposition.

If football was more like this for every play, I'd actually consider watching it. Admittedly, this made football look more like basketball, but without the dribbling (which is one reason why I don't watch basketball).
posted by ZachsMind at 2:06 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


That should have had the Can-can playing over it. Or Yakety Sax.
posted by brundlefly at 2:08 PM on October 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


OH MY GOODNESS. THIS GAME IS OVER. OH MY GOSH. THIS FOOTBALL GAME IS OVER. [inarticulate gabbling]

That was hilarious—thanks!
posted by languagehat at 2:09 PM on October 28, 2007


Just like they practice every week.
posted by Cyrano at 2:11 PM on October 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


Are you sure this wasn't a handball game?
posted by randomination at 2:16 PM on October 28, 2007


Holy cow, ZachsMind, that is some ignorant sports criticism. Football teams don't work as a team? Basketball would be better without dribbling? That damn net in tennis must drive you crazy.
posted by found missing at 2:17 PM on October 28, 2007 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter: "My biggest problem with [insert sport] is that it's not enough like rugby."
posted by phaedon at 2:24 PM on October 28, 2007 [8 favorites]


Football...they didn't use their feet once!
posted by dash_slot- at 2:24 PM on October 28, 2007


Cool.
Who won the fight in the parking lot afterwards?
posted by Thorzdad at 2:25 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Has anyone counted how many laterals there were in total?
posted by Poolio at 2:27 PM on October 28, 2007


*laterals Poolio's question to delmoi*
posted by phaedon at 2:27 PM on October 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


That damn net in tennis must drive you crazy.

Frankly, water polo would be a lot cooler if they did away with the pool.
posted by chemoboy at 2:36 PM on October 28, 2007


Awesome. I love wacky plays like that. I'm guessing that the defense had never drilled on that and just had no freaking idea what to do.
posted by octothorpe at 2:37 PM on October 28, 2007


1) None of them had apparently ever seen a game of rugby.

Rugby league probably a more apt comparision - in rugby union, they'd have been able to take the tackle, recycle, drive 3 metres, take a tackle, recycle, etc. [Note: this doesn't work if you are the All Blacks playing France]. In rugby league, like American football, once you're tackled, that's it.

I do find it interesting why more sports don't learn from each other; you don't even see a lot of cross-pollination between the two rugby codes. Maybe a football team that learned some tactics from rugby would have a big advantage for a while, till their opponents figured it out.


(NOT AMERICANFOOTBALLIST)
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:38 PM on October 28, 2007


Boom goes the dynamite!
posted by Camofrog at 2:40 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Has anyone counted how many laterals there were in total?

Looked like 11 laterals and a fumble.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:44 PM on October 28, 2007


Has anyone counted how many laterals there were in total?

ESPN says fifteen.
posted by chrisamiller at 2:46 PM on October 28, 2007


<cough>team sport<cough>
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:47 PM on October 28, 2007


Whaaa?! I don't even like football and that was amazing. Love the losing team's coping strategy of lying prone on the ground or kneeling and bent over....that really made it for me. I usually see only little kids do this, but then, like I said, I don't watch much football.
posted by wowbobwow at 2:48 PM on October 28, 2007


Granted, every time you throw the ball to another player, you are risking the opposing team stealing possession from you, AND you often lose yardage,

That's exactly why they don't do this. If a player tried to pull that shit on anything but the last play of the game, he'd get cut from the team.
posted by empath at 2:49 PM on October 28, 2007


You should check that cough. It's causing you to make your points with links to children playing sports. Have you ever watched little kids playing the team sport of soccer?
posted by found missing at 2:51 PM on October 28, 2007


"Lateralapalooza" There were 15.
posted by podwarrior at 2:51 PM on October 28, 2007


At least that one was legal.

The Cal/Stanford "play" should have been called dead as soon as one of these band members touched the field of play.

But I guess the refs got swept up in the moment.
posted by wfc123 at 2:51 PM on October 28, 2007


ESPN says fifteen.

I counted 45 but I watched it three times.

Looked more like basketball to me.

I'm captain of the elevator and we're stopping at every floor!
posted by dobbs at 2:51 PM on October 28, 2007


No fumble, btw. Just a lateral that bounced off the ground.
posted by found missing at 2:53 PM on October 28, 2007


Wow, that was a really fun play. Great call by the commentator too, I love it when sportscasters are flabbergasted.

THE MOST MIRACULOUS PLAY IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL--
posted by synaesthetichaze at 3:01 PM on October 28, 2007


Worst defense ever. What, were they trying to run down the clock?
posted by aparrish at 3:04 PM on October 28, 2007


Run down the clock? There were two seconds left. Game does not end until end of play, regardless of clock.
posted by absalom at 3:11 PM on October 28, 2007


Oh, the best part of the video: about 3 seconds in, they're describing the setup... sportscaster #2 sarcastically says that Trinity should "start lat'rlin'," possibly consciously referencing The Play, or maybe just being a jerk. Like, "yeah, okay, 4 seconds left and you're on the 39. Go for it guys!"

Then they do it. Sportscaster 2 only says one thing after they score: "oh my god." He's a prophet!
posted by synaesthetichaze at 3:13 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Trinity play Nominated for Pontiac Game Changing Performance -- Week 9 [PDF].

Vote at ESPN.
posted by ericb at 3:15 PM on October 28, 2007


That was fun to watch. It looks like something that could only happen in a perfectly-choreographed sports movie.
posted by amyms at 3:26 PM on October 28, 2007


Heh. Awesome.
posted by sveskemus at 3:28 PM on October 28, 2007


That was so awesome. The sportscasters made it that much more hilarious. Great find.
posted by heatherbeth at 3:31 PM on October 28, 2007


Hehe, American Football fans get all excited by a play that looks just like Soccer.
posted by Dr. Curare at 3:37 PM on October 28, 2007 [8 favorites]


After spending a week in Ireland during the rugby World Cup, I have a whole new appreciation for rugby and wonder why I've bothered wasting my time watching American football for so long! Five seconds of play, 40 seconds of watching them talk, and line-up again. As someone noted, American pro football is a lot of throwing forward passes and watching the receiver get tackled, end of play.

I wasn't a big rugby fan before, but seeing it played by the best teams in the world and the pure non-stop action of it makes it a far more interesting game to watch.
posted by docjohn at 3:40 PM on October 28, 2007


So yeah, that looked pretty similar to a try in rugby (union). What was so special about it, and what happens normally in American football?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 3:46 PM on October 28, 2007


...what happens normally in American football?

Violence punctuated by committee meetings.
posted by Floydd at 3:53 PM on October 28, 2007 [7 favorites]


If soccer looked anything like this on a regular basis, I'd eat my hat watch soccer.
posted by Partial Law at 3:56 PM on October 28, 2007


So yeah, that looked pretty similar to a try in rugby (union). What was so special about it

What was so special was that it looked like rugby or soccer and not the stultifying choreographed mock battles that are American football. Imagine, in other countries they play whole games like that!
posted by Nelson at 3:56 PM on October 28, 2007 [6 favorites]


I've always wondered why football teams never do rugby-esque plays like that - Clearly, the other team had absolutly no idea what to do whatsoever.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 3:59 PM on October 28, 2007


That made me very happy. But I can't believe how easily confused Millsaps or whoever that was became - basically just lunging around with their jaws hung open.
posted by frobozz at 4:06 PM on October 28, 2007


but without the dribbling (which is one reason why I don't watch basketball).

Dribbling is some seriously fucked up shit. I, for one, applaud your brave stance on this issue.
posted by dhammond at 4:07 PM on October 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


This thread is an embarrassment. Between cringingly clueless American commenters and non-Americans making the predictable anti-American-football jokes, this thread makes me want to introduce some commenters to a new sport I've just invented called "Punch the Fuckwit".
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:11 PM on October 28, 2007 [16 favorites]


the stultifying choreographed mock battles that are American football

Why do you have to hate what you don't understand?
--Bobby Hill
posted by found missing at 4:11 PM on October 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


EB, you're kind of a violent fuck. Maybe you're watching too much football?
posted by found missing at 4:12 PM on October 28, 2007


3) All of them forgot that once a man was tackled, the game was over. All they had to do was stand on the goal line and tackle anyone before they crossed it. "Dance all you want -- you still have to cross this line to win."

Great idea! Why doesn't every team do this on 4th and goal? You should coach professional football.
posted by null terminated at 4:14 PM on October 28, 2007


It's just a game.

*ducks*

posted by brundlefly at 4:18 PM on October 28, 2007


“EB, you're kind of a violent fuck. Maybe you're watching too much football?”

No, I'm pretty sure it's threads like this which are responsible. Oh, and maybe also the seething ocean of hatred which permeates every fiber of my being.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:21 PM on October 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


oh, okay. Cool.
posted by found missing at 4:23 PM on October 28, 2007


found missing writes "No fumble, btw. Just a lateral that bounced off the ground."

And that's different than a fumble how?
posted by Mitheral at 4:31 PM on October 28, 2007


That was more or less exactly like soccer. It happens so rarely in American football you'd think the reason was that the rules prevent it, but apparently they don't.

I have the feeling football looked a lot more like this 100 years ago (except they would wear leather helmets and not much else in the way of safety equipment). But it's definitely been built around the forward pass and all the attendant expectations.
posted by dhartung at 4:31 PM on October 28, 2007


What's with people saying this is like soccer? People were picking up the ball and throwing it to each other; that's hardly soccer. It was broadly similar to rugby, except in rugby you can't pass forward, and you can't tackle someone who doesn't have the ball. And you aren't cocooned in a bubble of padding and body armour, and you don't have to stop for a breather every thirty seconds...
posted by Aloysius Bear at 4:35 PM on October 28, 2007


And that's different than a fumble how?

In a great U of Wisc. game years ago, I saw a very effective lateral that the thrower intentionally skipped off the ground. That's different from a fumble, where the ball handler is attempting to hold onto the ball and isn't successful.
posted by found missing at 4:35 PM on October 28, 2007


except in rugby you can't pass forward

Not in football either, after the ball goes past the point where it started.
posted by smackfu at 4:40 PM on October 28, 2007


Rugby? Please. The only truly excellent sport is unicycle hockey. Anyone who watches any other sports is dumb.
posted by aaronetc at 4:40 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sure if you don't have the stamina for underwater hockey.

found missing writes "I saw a very effective lateral that the thrower intentionally skipped off the ground."

Ah, I see the difference. That lateral off the ground didn't look intentional to me.
posted by Mitheral at 4:45 PM on October 28, 2007


Rome is burning....
posted by Pecinpah at 4:45 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if the skipping part was intentional, but if the lateral works, I don't think it is anything like a fumble, even if it skips on its way there.
posted by found missing at 4:48 PM on October 28, 2007


Great idea! Why doesn't every team do this on 4th and goal? You should coach professional football.

It's called a prevent defense, nimrod. If you look closely, that's the defense they're in when the play starts -- only three defensive linemen are at the line and an uncontested pass is allowed underneath in the middle of the field. At this point, the defense is doing exactly what they should be doing.

It's only after the first lateral that they apparently lose their minds.

You should coach professional football.

Perhaps you should start watching some football. Just be careful you don't hurt yourself.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:49 PM on October 28, 2007


One key is that each lateral has a risk of getting intercepted, so normally you'd stop as soon as you got first down.

This being the last play of the game, and the stakes being so high, that wasn't an option. Generally teams try to pull hail-mary's (long passes, meh maybe they'll make it) in this scenario, so when the QB threw a short pass, the defense was utterly confused. Then the lats started coming, and (here's what I think was the problem) they kept mobbing the guy with the ball.

Mobs = always someone who isn't being covered. What was incredible was that the Trinity guys always knew where eachother were. That was an incredible play!
posted by effugas at 4:55 PM on October 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'll echo the sentiments of others, the most remarkable part of that play is that it lasted longer than ten seconds.
posted by furtive at 5:10 PM on October 28, 2007


What I love most about American football and the internet : it really brings out the best in people.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:15 PM on October 28, 2007


Yeah, I hate football, and yet I thought this was totally great.
posted by the_bone at 5:28 PM on October 28, 2007


And you've just missed the Rugby World Cup....
posted by Joeforking at 5:32 PM on October 28, 2007


Religion
Politics
Fat people

and now

American football
posted by dirigibleman at 5:35 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell : You suggested they simply stand on the goal line, which is ridiculous and not part of the prevent defense.
posted by null terminated at 5:35 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


And you aren't cocooned in a bubble of padding and body armour

Mostly because you aren't 6'6", 320 pounds, with good speed and lightning reflexes.

There's a lot to like about both rugby and football. They aren't the same game, though, and if you were to play American football against NFL players while not wearing pads, you'd soon be dead or crippled. Even tough ol' rugby players.
posted by Justinian at 5:42 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


All they had to do was stand on the goal line and tackle anyone before they crossed it get knocked 10 yards past the endzone's backline by the ballcarrier's 10 blockers running at full tilt.

0.5mv2. Learn it; live it.

11 defenders and 160 feet of goal-line to defend reminds me more of the Fulda Gap & my wargaming days.

Other than the missed tackles, the defenders did a pretty good job, really, in forcing so many laterals.

In this situation whoever makes the first critical error first, loses.

Say there's a 5% chance of bobbling a lateral . . . with 15 laterals, statistics says there'll be a touchdown 54% of the time.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:42 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Has anyone counted how many laterals there were in total?"

I started to count them, but then I got distracted by the guy in the gorilla suit walking right through the middle of the action, stopping, and waving.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:45 PM on October 28, 2007 [8 favorites]


The Cal/Stanford "play" should have been called dead as soon as one of these band members touched the field of play.

There were also a couple of illegal forward laterals there too that the refs missed out on, so the whole thing was a mess. Still any time Cal beats Stanford, it's a very good thing.
posted by psmealey at 5:46 PM on October 28, 2007


This is how every football game should end when the team with the ball can tie or win with a touchdown. A player should never, ever allow himself to be tackled with the ball in such a situation. A professional player should be fined if he ever is.

I think that there is some strange gentleman's agreement in the NFL and -- to a lesser extent -- in major college football. You never see this attempted in the NFL. It is like it would not be a dignified play or something. But it is the only play that makes sense: we are going to score or you are going to take the ball from us. There is no other option.

I think gambling might have something to do with it, too. Plays like this would result in the defense scoring a touchdown quite frequently. This would upset the gambling world a great deal.

The popularity of American sports seems directly related to how easy it is to gamble on the sport. Football is huge because they play once a week. It is easy to make picks for a whole batch of games. The NCAA basketball tournament is set up for gambling. Series of best-of games are less gambling-friendly. As such, gambling on professional basketball and baseball is not as popular. That has, in turn, led to college basketball eclipsing professional basketball in popularity. And it led to football overtaking baseball as the most popular sport in the country.

Anyway -- great play. I just feel it is the way every game in that situation should end.
posted by flarbuse at 6:02 PM on October 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


First, you do see laterals from time to time in the NFL. Second, your conspiracy theory is intriguingly stupid. EB is going to come over there and punch you now.
posted by found missing at 6:19 PM on October 28, 2007


This thread is an embarrassment.

Ditto.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:21 PM on October 28, 2007


What EffuGas said. I'm no sports commentator. I hate sports with a seething ocean of passion permeating every fiber of my being. However, what EffuGas said is what I was wanting to say in my original statement I just didn't know how to say it.

It's not how football normally looks. Football normally looks stupid. Those guys looked like they were improvising but it was controlled improv. They knew what to expect from each other cuz they were familiar with one another's behavior. Again, they acted like a team.

To most Americans, normally 'acting like a team' means just doing what you're told by your leader and not thinking on your feet during the play. If you adapt to the changing situation and show initiative and self-resourcefulness, others brand you as trying to upstage or showboat.

That's why I try very hard to pretend football doesn't exist, which gets harder and harder to do as we approach the end of a year and I don't understand why. Those who love and adore the sport can sneer and thumb your nose at me all you want, that's what I see when I watch it. So I don't.

If America had embraced rugby and soccer the way it embraced football and baseball maybe I woulda grown up a sports fan. I got nothin' against soccer and rugby. Soccer takes skill and determination and it's a thinking man's game. Rugby is brutal and courageous and suspenseful. Rugby IS what American football pretends to be, and soccer deserves to be called football more than football does.

Yes. I'm a proud American. Yes. Baseball sucks too.

I saw a college rugby game once that consisted of forty guys pushing one another up against this brick wall and apparently their football was somewhere in the pile of guys with bleeding brickburn on their faces but I never actually saw the ball. It was pretty funny. Why they had a brick wall for a rugby field I'll never understand but it was hilarious.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:24 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


With about 1:20 to go in the clip, you can see some confetti pass the camera. I read on a message board that the Millsaps folks thought the game was over, and set off "fireworks." I know it's not a whistle, but it can add to the defense's confusion.
posted by bugmuncher at 6:26 PM on October 28, 2007


I think that there is some strange gentleman's agreement in the NFL and -- to a lesser extent -- in major college football. You never see this attempted in the NFL. It is like it would not be a dignified play or something.

You see it happen in the NFL every once in a while. The last time I remember it happening was the final play of the Colts @ Jets last year. It's just an extremely low percentage play, especially against presumably disciplined professional defenses.
posted by prosthezis at 6:29 PM on October 28, 2007


The amount of sports cluelessness in this thread is hilarious.
posted by jefbla at 6:33 PM on October 28, 2007


The lack of sports apathy in the civilized world is hilarious.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:35 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


If only this had happened in the Giants/Dolphins game in London today.
posted by danb at 6:41 PM on October 28, 2007


Re: basketball dribbling... I'm reminded of a junior high phys ed teacher who taught us basketball by NOT allowing any dribbling. The ball turned over if it hit the floor even once. We all thought it was pretty stupid at first, but after just a few minutes you could see that it encouraged teamwork instead of showboating by some ball-hogs who would always try and charge the basket every time they got the ball. Plus, scrawny, short, white kids like me could actually contribute to getting the point.
posted by The Deej at 6:42 PM on October 28, 2007


ZachsMind: are you thinking of the Eton Wall Game?

jefbla and others complaining about the lack of knowledge in this thread: how about enlightening us? I know very little about American football, and a reasonable amount about rugby union and league. So to me, that play looked like a fairly badly executed, albeit ultimately sucessful, version of a rugby/league play - unusual for football, yes, but nothing much to get excited over. So how about explaining where I'm wrong, or right?
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:44 PM on October 28, 2007


I'm all for sports apathy. Though Punch the Fuckwit sounds like fun.
posted by Elmore at 6:53 PM on October 28, 2007


This is why I like Australian football. Plays like that for hours on end.
posted by stbalbach at 7:01 PM on October 28, 2007


This is one of those events where as a young journalist/broadcaster the magnitude of what you are documenting eclipses your ability to separate yourself and document it.

You walk around for the next couple days on an emotional high at being part of the event and, particularly, shaping it for those not able to witness it firsthand. The play-by-play guy totally high-fives the color guy for the "start lat'rlin" comment, and they're both thinking about screaming-on-air and how awesome that was and how they are now part of screaming-on-air sports lore.

Then a week later, things start to set in. The play-by-play guy realizes he said "lateral" way too much and should have thrown in a few "tosses" and maybe a "pitch" because "lateral" sounds so awkward anyway. The color guy still walks with some swagger over the "start lat'rlin" line but deep down realizes that the gap where the play-by-play guy is finally putting it together that it's a touchdown is where he's supposed to say something exciting to bridge the documentation and the exuberance.

You wish you could go back and make your performance as monumental as the event, but you can't and you might not ever get another chance again. So, you live with this incredible memory/experience but always with the knowledge that your inexperience in the realm of the incredible has somehow demeaned it.

So, this next drink goes out to the announcers. We drink for joy and to drown away your sorrow.
posted by pokermonk at 7:06 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Infinite Jest, I think a lot of the problem (and I'm guilty of this to some extent above, although only in response to others) is that it's pretty silly to compare plays between different sports. Comparisons like the one you made are reasonable in the "I don't know why sports don't learn from each other" way, but a lot of the other statements people are making are useless.

If I showed you a game of basketball where the players kicked the ball in the air repeatedly, then kicked it upcourt to the center who bounced it off his head into the basket, you could say "big deal, soccer players do that all the time." But that would be a pretty dumb reaction, because basketball players operate under different rules, with different experience and a different history than soccer players.
posted by Partial Law at 7:08 PM on October 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


So basically, The Deej, your junior high phys ed teacher taught you how to play netball?
posted by X-00 at 7:25 PM on October 28, 2007


That's not a long play
That's a long play

/dundee
posted by fullerine at 7:31 PM on October 28, 2007


The Deej, the bounce-pass was out? That's basketball's ultimate weapon! Agree about the showboating, the isolation play is the worst thing to ever happen to basketball.

Infinite Jest, that play is interesting simply because it is so unusual. These types of plays aren't used often because they are extremely risky. American football has a bit of a control fetish. Strategists would like no more than two exchanges to happen on any play because the exchange between players is the riskiest part of the play. As the thinking goes, you can't score if you don't have the football. (The play in question featured 17 exchanges.) This sort of thinking prevails because it has been determined that to maintain control of the football is the best way to win a game of American football.

It may have resembled a poorly executed rugby style play, but it wasn't. It was a well executed American football play that relied on breaking one of the game's strategic tenets to make a game-winning score.

This was all going in the direction of Partial Law's post, but on preview, he beat me to it so I'll save it.
posted by prosthezis at 7:32 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


The second comma in that last line is an articulated sigh and serves no other purpose.
posted by prosthezis at 7:41 PM on October 28, 2007


To most Americans, normally 'acting like a team' means just doing what you're told by your leader and not thinking on your feet during the play.

I think what you mean is "To people who don't understand American football at all, it seems like there is not much improvisation and split-second adjustment and decision making." Your ignorance is being communicated loud and clear, ZachsMind, message received: you hate sports. BFD.

I'm a casual fan myself, mostly of football, and that play is a hoot. I look at most sports as an extremely civilized way to channel our aggressive, tribal urges. I mean, we could go back to gladiators and feeding people to lions, but football really is less brutal, no?
posted by LooseFilter at 7:49 PM on October 28, 2007


To most Americans, normally 'acting like a team' means just doing what you're told by your leader and not thinking on your feet during the play.

Turn on an American football game for about a quarter. Now, don't watch the Big Bad quarterback leaderguy for the whole play. Watch the defense. Watch the cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers (and if you don't know who those guys are you could look them up on wikepedia,) adjust to the changing routes of the wide receivers, tight ends and running backs, which they're in turn adjusting because the Big Bad has to adjust to anywhere from one to a whole shitload of very big guys trying to lay him out before he can throw the ball.

You. Really. Have. No. Idea. What. You're. Yapping. About.

Watch a game with someone who understands what's going on. I never really understood how pitchers work a pitch count in baseball until I watched some games with someone who did (Stretching the pitch count to give the closer more time to warm up? Ahhh... Now some of those obvious ball pitches make more sense...)

If you don't want to do that you're free to keep yapping, but don't expect to be taken seriously.
posted by Cyrano at 7:53 PM on October 28, 2007


Wow. The most impressive part of this post is the sheer idiocy of the majority of the comments.

Ok, you like your sport better than another. YAY! Want a cookie? Douchebags. If you don't like football, or you've never played football, you just. don't. understand. So leave it alone.

On topic, that was the most amazing football play I've ever seen in my life. Probably the first time I've jumped up out of my seat while watching a sports highlight in years. I was laughing and rooting for them to score by the end. Bravo Trinity.
posted by zhivota at 7:54 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you adapt to the changing situation and show initiative and self-resourcefulness, others brand you as trying to upstage or showboat.

Well, touchdown celebrations do not necessarily equal [US] football.

Seriously, though, while offense does require a certain amount of rehearsed precision, each of the other aspects of the game (plus offense once the target has received the ball) demand exactly what you're claiming is frowned upon, and a player's ability to adapt is largely what separates a cog from an athlete in the game. Think about what defensive players must do in any play... The team makes a general guess as to what the opposing offense will want to do, but it is up to each player in the system to identify any changes, breaks or differences and stop the opposition from moving toward the goal line. Of course, this bounces back as well since an offense doesn't know exactly how a defense will attack them and what a defense shows in setting up is not necessarily what they will do once the ball is snapped. So even an offensive unit that is tightly choreographed largely depends on players knowing how to hold the timing together even when presented with unexpected challenges. The reason that it's difficult to notice is because everything happens in such a staccato burst. It's tough to visually process all the micro maneuvering that is happening at multiple levels in four seconds, so our brains default to a very basic, macro understanding (eg everyone ran at each other and the running back couldn't get past the giant fat guy). Really good announcers and analysts can highlight particular aspects of a play that work well or collapse and heighten your understanding of the strategy, skill and improvisation. Those are rare. The major alternative (in getting an audience involved) is to just play to emotions and paint plays as a battle of will and desire (they are, but they aren't), which certainly isn't engaging and is really pretty foolish to folks who place no emotional investment in an outcome.

(I just want to add, since we Bears fans have little else to be excited about, that part of what makes Devin Hester so exciting right now is not just his ridiculous speed but the way in which he can read a coverage teams approach and know exactly where to move and when to get past them... That's not scripted, and even though Hester isn't the smartest book on the shelf, it takes a lot of cunning and foresight.)
posted by pokermonk at 8:06 PM on October 28, 2007


Nice play, but I think I saw at least one illegal forward pass.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:17 PM on October 28, 2007


So basically, The Deej, your junior high phys ed teacher taught you how to play netball?
posted by X-00


Hmmm... netball looks close, but no, since netball is a different ball and no backboards. What he did was... lemme see how to compare it... exactly like basketball, but with no dribbling.

The Deej, the bounce-pass was out?

No, I think you could bounce pass. What I meant was, even if you dribbled without moving, the ball changed sides. I have a distinct memory of many of us getting caught with that because it was such an immediate reaction to dribble.

Unfortunately, once he thought we understood the basics of passing and teamwork, we could then dribble. Which resulted in the ones like me ending up as a grease spot on the court.

What it did do, besides forcing you to pass, was to make you aware of how much you could do by pivoting.
posted by The Deej at 8:34 PM on October 28, 2007


ZachsMind, this is the second football-related thread in recent memory that you've proceeded to comment on repeatedly. We understand that you don't like football; those of us who like (love!) it aren't going to change our minds because of a thread-dump on MeFi.

I can't tell you why I love football as much as I do. It certainly isn't because I played it; they don't hand out pads and helmets to girls, for one thing. No one in my family has ever played it. My father attended a school rich in football tradition and somewhere along the way I got hooked.

I've pretty much always understood the game, so I don't really know how to explain it to anyone. I wish I could!

All I can say is, if you haven't been to a college football game in person, don't rule out the sport just yet. Get yourself to Michigan Stadium or Neyland or Autzen or Beaver Stadium or Kyle Field or Tiger Stadium. Have a couple beers beforehand. Sit with the crowd. Enjoy the show. It sends chills down my spine every time, all the pageantry and the intricate strategy and godknowswhatelse.

Now that I'm off my soapbox: someone asked for football set to Yakety Sax? Glad you called.

Also, one of the other great laterals in recent history. Come-from-behind victory. Trick plays. Star running back proposes to head cheerleader at the end of undefeated season. See what I mean?
posted by bijou at 8:35 PM on October 28, 2007


This is why I like Australian football. Plays like that for hours on end.

I had a friend who told me the best part of Aussie rules football was how you could watch the game whenever you got bored.
posted by heeeraldo at 8:44 PM on October 28, 2007


Getting a laff out of all the precious-pants American Football fans.

"Don't pass lateral. How can we, as trained sportsmen, be expected to catch a ball more than once per play? Eeeeeeeww. We might lose possession. We must nevar evarr change tactics net in tennis pool in water polo blah blah U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:50 PM on October 28, 2007


BTW, I like American Football (the packaged highlights minus the "committee meetings" as some wag called them above) and that play was a ball tearer.

Oh, and Precinpah wins.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:02 PM on October 28, 2007


Hehe, American Football fans get all excited by a play that looks just like Soccer.

Yes, except in the video, they actually scored.
posted by Kibbutz at 9:30 PM on October 28, 2007 [6 favorites]


That's what I was going to say Kibbutz, and I do like Soccer, but if we're going to make inane comparisons, let's speak some truth. There is precious little scoring.

I'm a fan of sports in general, though I've never been good at playing any. I can watch any sport with pleasure and I'm able to pick up on the nuances fairly quickly. More than anything I just like to see any competitive event where the competitors excel.

Other than the excitement, that video did not represent good football. Not because of all of the lateraling, that was a good job by the offense. But the reason that doesn't happen more often in professional football, is the defense won't usually just stand around or foolishly swarm to one side of the field. Several times I noticed 2 or 3 defenders standing near the guy with the ball and watching. Just standing and watching. That shows a distinct lack of professional aggressiveness.
posted by Danila at 9:54 PM on October 28, 2007


One reason you don't see much lateraling in American football is that the field is only 53 yards wide, which is about 2/3rds the width of a rugby field. That means much less room to operate and less ground for defenders to make up when the direction is switched. That's part of the reason why at the higher levels of college and in the pros you no longer see a lot of option plays (where the quarterback takes the snap, rolls toward the sideline and has the option of keeping the ball or pitching it to a trailing running back). Defenders are now just too fast; they close the gaps too quickly in that confined space.

When Urban Meyer was the coach at Bowling Green and then Utah, he developed an offense called the spread-option, which called for a lot of option pitches, reverses and misdirection. It worked great against defenses at the middle level of Division I college football—he went undefeated one season at Utah—but once he was hired at Florida and pitted that offense against the bigger, faster players in the Southeastern Conference, he found it wasn't nearly as successful and ultimately toned down its more extravagant elements.

Also, football has become so specialized at the highest levels that only about half the players on the field at any one time are accustomed to handling the ball. Occasionally you'll see a guy on an interception runback try to lateral it to a teammate, and frequently the ball is fumbled because the player he's lateraling to is a linebacker or defensive lineman.

These crazy lateral plays are actually fairly common at the end of games, especially on kickoff returns, and they almost never work. They're worth the attempt, though, because occasionally miracles happen. And people see the highlight and wonder why it's not tried more often.
posted by stargell at 9:59 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


uncanny,

The penalty for losing possession is just ridiculously severe in American Football. Remember, the normal flow is "go, go, go, if you run out of downs, field goal if in range, punt if not." Punting is pretty common, and you usually end up with the other team somewhere between 60 and 75 yards away from the end zone.

Now, losing possession has two major effects:

Immediately, you lose your chance to punt. That means, unless you were practically in field goal territory already, you've just handed the other team yardage. If you think about it, there's really only about a 20 yard window that you didn't just hand the team a +3 point advantage (either because you missed your own field goal, or because they're now in field goal territory yourself).

You're also significantly off balance -- your offense suddenly needs to play D, in the utter chaos of a turnover. The chance of a breakaway run all the way to the end zone is very, very real. You could give yourself as much as a -10 point penalty, just for being sloppy with the ball.

Better to just go for another down. If there isn't another down, better to just field goal or punt -- chances are pretty good that you'll be able to hold off the other team from scoring, provided you've got em a good 75 yards back.

Really, the only time you'd want to do this is at the far end of a game where you have no other choice but to try something. And even then, a hail mary probably has a higher likelihood of succeeding over trying to run the ball 40 yards with any number of lats.

I'm not even big into sports -- I'm just paying attention to stats here.
posted by effugas at 10:24 PM on October 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


The lack of sports apathy in the civilized world is hilarious.
posted by ZachsMind


I'm skeptical of this. Do you really laugh at the thought of a civilized world that doesn't have your defined level of apathy towards organized sports hilarious? I mean, really? I'm sure you're pissed about it. I'm sure you wished everyone else hated sports as much as you do, but are you really laughing hysterically about it?

I'm just giving you a hard time. No big deal. I don't care if you don't like sports. I just think it's funny that a post that shows a remarkable play has to turn into an unrelated cluelessly uninformed american football bashing thread. Only on Metafilter...
posted by jefbla at 10:32 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


No. 5 in civil_disobediant's video, is pretty good. The kid can cut back, has speed and downfield vision.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:44 PM on October 28, 2007


Zachs Mind has shit on a few threads of late.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:59 PM on October 28, 2007


I watched that rugby link so I think I can answer how the football play is different than rugby. When a football player is tackled the play is over. I saw at least a dozen tackles in that rugby play.

As to why it was different than soccer. That's just too dumb a question to answer.
posted by Bonzai at 11:30 PM on October 28, 2007


Thanks effugas, stargell. Great answers. I was being a tad facetious, wot?!

The game of Aussie rules football has evolved incredibly in the last 50 years. Playing on when awarded a free kick, offensive handball, running 30m with the ball instead of passing, torpedo punts being OK, then a massive no-no, now OK again, kicking across the goals in defence (a hangable offence a mere generation ago).

A few of the latter changes in thinking are very risky, and a turnover will be disastrous, but still it happened. So I don't *quite* buy the "it's too risky" argument.

There is a position in Aussie Rules called the ruckman. Traditionally he was a lumbering doofus who mainly just took the tap. Then in the 90s some bright spark said "no more doofi to be ruckmen!!!" Now ruckmen have to be skilful Fred Astaires to get drafted. So I don't *quite* buy the "only about half the players on the field at any one time are accustomed to handling the ball" argument.

Demand the fuckers know how to catch.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:05 AM on October 29, 2007


The thing is, close to half the players on a (U.S.-rules) football field are linemen -- who are prized for their height, bulk and ability to push other people out of the way, in order to

1) get to the quarterback or running back and knock him senseless (defense), or

2) protect the quarterback from getting knocked senseless, or open up holes for the back to exploit (offense).

These positions are getting faster, as better and better athletes fill them. You'd be surprised at how fast some of the 300-lb. linemen can run the 40 from a three-point stance. But they are not, and will likely never be, coveted for their soft hands.
posted by donpedro at 1:08 AM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]



Bah! You win this time.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:17 AM on October 29, 2007


Partial Law: If I showed you a game of basketball where the players kicked the ball in the air repeatedly, then kicked it upcourt to the center who bounced it off his head into the basket

Good point; although obviously rugby is closer to AF than basketball is to soccer. You and donpedro have reminded me of something I should have remembered, though - obviously the skill sets are quite different - rugby players throw dozens of lateral passes per game; football players don't, so this example is more impressive.

Thanks to effugas and stargell for some very informative answers - especially the size of the field - I'd never realised, and that would make a big difference.

Bonzai: you're right about the differences between rugby union and football. Plays like this aren't uncommon in rugby league, though, which has similar tackle rules to American football.

By the by, that was a very impressive try in that rugby game: although the ball doesn't die when a player is tackled, it is very rare to see a passage of play last for 3 minutes, as that one did. It is normally easy for a defensive team to kill the ball somehow. Also, the attacking team was behind by 6 points, meaning they had to score in the centre of the field (tries are 5 points, conversions are 2, but the conversion is taken from in line with where the try was scored, not from in front of the posts, so their attacking options were limited).

Anyway, two very good videos showcasing impressive levels of skill and teamwork, plus some comments that I've learned something from. Thanks all.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:40 AM on October 29, 2007


Huzzah, I win on MetaFilter! That's going on my resume!

But you do have a point, and I mean it when I say that even as these positions are filled by bigger and bigger men, they're also better and better athletes who are called upon to do more and think faster. Especially the linebackers, the best of whom have startling speed and have to read complex offensive sets. In 2002, this guy did indeed intercept a bunch of passes, and returned a few for touchdowns.

And yeah, that rugby try was awesome. Too bad Argentina didn't go all the way.
posted by donpedro at 1:47 AM on October 29, 2007


Er ... please mentally add "in the recent World Cup" to that last sentence.
posted by donpedro at 1:48 AM on October 29, 2007


Not to derail completely, but this is my favourite ever rugby try (New Zealand v France, 1991 - France score in the last minute to win).
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:04 AM on October 29, 2007


Oh boy! American Football! That's where I'm a Viking!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:53 AM on October 29, 2007


Metafilter: your favorite sport has sucked for over six years.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:53 AM on October 29, 2007


Back in my teens—when Randall Cunningham was doing his thing for the Eagles—I had a passionate fling with American Football. And, perhaps contrary to the assumption you'd likely make, it was the chess-like nature of the game, rather than the hits, that appealed. However the small matter of the expanse of the Pacific Ocean always suggested that the relationship between an Australian boy and hordes of extremely large American men wouldn't last, and so it proved.

But to follow on from what uncanny hengeman has said, the tactics employed in Australian football (which has been played for well over 100 years, and for which most of the country is every bit as passionate about as Americans are for their own brand of football) have changed immeasurably in recent years.

The champion teams of just 25 years ago would scarcely recognise the game if they were to play a current-day team. And the champion players, their ardent fans and the media commentators of the day would have howled with derision if anyone had suggested they try some of the tactics that are now regularly employed. And, to paraphrase an earlier comment, any player that tried to do so would have kissed their career goodbye immediately.

What that evolution in tactics has has also brought about is the near-extinction of players who would once have been prized solely for their height or strength. Nowadays the 6'7" bloke better be able to mark (catch), kick 55 yards and handball (pass by punching with one hand from the other). And anyone under 6'6" better be able to do so on either side of his body just as capably.

The ability to merely throw the ball backwards ten yards seems rather rudimentary by comparison.

So, and here I acknowledge I'm entering into particularly dangerous territory, as an outsider glancing in one can't help but wonder if the American stereotype of scarcely acknowledging the world beyond one's own shores might not play some part in reinforcing the prevailing orthodoxy when it comes to football tactics.

I have read that when Ben Graham (a former professional Australian Rules player) first went to the Jets he wanted to use a non-spiralling punt kick when the Jets had certain field position. And that it took some time to convince his coaches to let him try it. But when they did what they found was that the kick-returners weren't used to a ball tumbling end-on-end, so not only was Graham able to kick the ball more accurately, but that the returners were more likely to fumble it.

If you're not after maximum distance then kicking a 'drop punt' would seem to be a pretty obvious obvious play to, oh, say, 10 million people in Australia.

But apparently not to anyone in the USA.
posted by puffmoike at 8:09 AM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


That shit never would have flown in Division 1A, let alone the Pros.
posted by bpm140 at 8:22 AM on October 29, 2007


Quick follow up - the lateral at the one minute mark of the link in Bijou's post (Boise State wins Fiesta Bowl) is the sort of play I—and I suspect most Australian Rules and Rugby fans—would expect to see a lot more of in American Football.

In this non-expert's eyes it seems like a low risk / high return play. (A skilful regular ball-handler passes a short distance to another skilful regular ball-handler, and in doing so catches the oppostion, and the commentator, by complete surprise.)

Could a football fan care to explain why such plays aren't employed (considerably) more often?
posted by puffmoike at 8:36 AM on October 29, 2007


I don't get why this is such a big deal. The players are running around just like track runners, except there's a ball. Running around happens in track events all the time.
posted by Kwine at 8:52 AM on October 29, 2007


as an outsider glancing in one can't help but wonder if the American stereotype of scarcely acknowledging the world beyond one's own shores might not play some part in reinforcing the prevailing orthodoxy when it comes to football tactics.

Hmm...I think that's just a bias of your perspective. I've seen play in American football change fairly dramatically in the past 10 or 15 years, and it continues to evolve. I really don't know enough about the sport to go into any real detail, but do know that offensive schemes have changed radically through the history of the sport, and continue to evolve--the West Coast offense is one HUGE innovation:
The popular term "West Coast Offense" is more of a philosophy and an approach to the game than it is a set of plays or formations. Traditional offensive thinking argues that a team must establish their running game first, which will draw the defense in and open up vertical passing lanes downfield (i.e., passing lanes that run perpendicular to the line of scrimmage).

Bill Walsh's West Coast Offense, however, differs from traditional offense by instead emphasizing a short, horizontal passing attack to help stretch the defense out, thus opening up running lanes. The West Coast Offense as implemented under Walsh features precisely-run pass patterns by the receivers that make up about 65% to 80% of the offensive scheme. With the defense stretched out, the offense is then free to focus the remaining plays on longer throws (more than 14 yards) and mid to long yard rushes
Just in the past couple of years, new approaches pioneered by college teams (like a 2 quarterback system) are gaining wider use. And that doesn't even touch on the defensive innovations in response to that. I tend to watch a little more college ball these days, as that's where the play is most exciting and risky. Also, as mentioned upthread, the players themselves are more and more capable as individual athletes (innovations in training and conditioning), and that's influencing individual roles on the field a great deal.

If you're not after maximum distance then kicking a 'drop punt' would seem to be a pretty obvious obvious play to, oh, say, 10 million people in Australia.

But apparently not to anyone in the USA.


Also, bias of perspective--I watched New Orleans and San Francisco's football teams play yesterday (go Saints! w00t!!), and the SF punter made two beautiful drop punts--on a short field--to place the ball just a few feet from the opponents' goal line. The color guy even replayed one punt in slow-mo to detail the technique.

Also, on preview: Could a football fan care to explain why such plays aren't employed (considerably) more often?

Check out the Slate article I linked a couple of paragraphs up--that writer is addressing just what you're asking.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:09 AM on October 29, 2007


Thanks LooseFilter!

I don't catch much NFL any more, let alone watch any college games. Looks like I should check them out.
posted by puffmoike at 9:54 AM on October 29, 2007


I don't play football, I don't like football, I don't get football, blah blah blah.

Mostly that's because for several years it preempted The Simpsons every single week. I'd look at the clock, and it would say ten minutes remaining. I'd tune in ten minutes later, and the clock would say nine and a half minutes remaining. Everyone would just be standing around, breathing puffs of vapour, chewing gum with open mouths.

Dude, no. Fuck no. Hurry the fuck up.
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:58 PM on October 29, 2007


Hurry the fuck up.

As a football fan, I couldn't agree more--I now just record games so that I can watch them in less than half the broadcast time.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:49 PM on October 29, 2007


Thanks for that Slate link, LooseFilter. Seeing as this thread is still going, would you (or anyone) care to recommend a couple of books/websites that would give a non-US sports fan some basic background on the game - enough to watch a game and have some idea about what was going on? (is the Wikipedia article any good?).
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:04 PM on October 29, 2007


This is my alma matta and I just got an email from them. Apparently they're very impressed with themselves and anxious to get that Pontiac Award. From the email:

Now it is up to Trinity fans to determine if the Tigers earned the “Pontiac Game Changing Performance” for the ninth week of the 2007 NCAA® Football Season. TU fans can go to pontiac.com/ncaa, where they can view video clips of the four finalists and vote for their favorite play. Voting begins on Sunday morning and ends at midnight on Wednesday. ESPN will announce this week’s “Pontiac Game Changing Performance” winner, on Thursday night, during the Pontiac Performance Halftime Report.

The winning university earns a $5,000 contribution from Pontiac to their general scholarship fund. Additionally, the winning play will be nominated for the “Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year” and the chance to win a $100,000 General Scholarship from Pontiac.


Hey, I loved going to school there and everything but never paid a minute of attention to the football team. Whenever I had cause to talk to a football player, they were usually comically dickish. But hey, as long as they're having fun throwing the ball around, I got no problem with it. I just wish people could get this excite about, say, the Drama department's stage productions.

Oh, and Trinity players wouldn't fight in the parking lot after the game. They might settle things with a drinking contest, though.
posted by Clay201 at 3:16 PM on October 29, 2007


I love the commentator's tone of voice near the end of the video. So flat and emotionless. "I DO NOT BELIEVE IT"
posted by tehloki at 9:39 PM on October 29, 2007


i liked the part with the girl in the blue skirt.
posted by unregistered_animagus at 9:19 PM on October 30, 2007


I know this thread is all but dead...But I just had to come back and post this alternate angle of the same play which is a much better view than the initial video.
posted by tdstone at 10:55 AM on November 3, 2007


That is a much better view.
posted by Mitheral at 4:00 PM on November 3, 2007


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