The ignorance shown by Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid in failing to realize their game would end in a 13-13 tie against the listless Bengals has sent fans and analyst off to criticize the two, while players have come to their defense.
Entering the game, Philadelphia was in desperate need of a win as they sat at the bottom of the NFC East with a 5-4 (now 5-4-1), so why would they offer a short-change performance. They both should have known the rule, but I don;t think they performed or coached differently than they would have if they were cognizant of their impending fate.
Andy Reid agrees.
“I’m sure there are plenty of rules that guys don’t understand, but I don’t think that has any factor whatsoever to do with the outcome of this game and how they played in the overtime,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said Monday. “I think that’s absurd. You play to win in that time, whether you think you have another overtime period or you don’t. And you play your heart out to win it in that time, and that’s how we approached it and that’s how the players approached it.”
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played in a 34-34 tie game against the Falcons on Nov. 10, 2002, and said people should slow their criticism of McNabb, as he may not be alone in not knowing the rule.
“People are way too hard on Donovan, making way too big of a deal about this,” Roethlisberger said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Tuesday. “You’d be surprised. I’d bet at least 50 percent of the league didn’t know that at the time.”
His teammate, wide receiver Hines Ward immediately proved Roethlisberger’s point.
“I thought we were the last team to do it when we played the Falcons,” he said. “I thought you just played until you had a winner,” Ward said. “It’s kind of weird that you can still tie ballgames.”
Much has been said about the tie and McNabb’s admission of obliviousness, but the truth is that the game would have ended in the same way, and coaches are somewhat responsible for making sure their players are briefed based on any possible game situation.
Reid knows that and said: “I’ll take the responsibility for that.”