Posts Tagged ‘john elway’

The Return of the Pooch Punt!

About a month ago, watching Arkansas and Georgia meet in a fairly exciting SEC football game, I saw something I hadn’t seen in a long time. On a fourth down in that “no-man’s land” (about the Georgia 40), Arkansas quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Ryan Mallett took a snap in the shotgun, and pooch punted inside the Georgia 10.

This got me thinking about how effective the pooch punt can be when used properly. And it also dawned on me that now, more than ever, certain elements are in place to promote a renaissance — if a brief one — of the pooch punt.

Here’s why:

1. Teams go for it more on fourth down now.

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It’s the Grey Cup!

10:01, TIM — Oh, man, they hand out a Most Valuable Player AND a Most Valuable Canadian? Isn’t that demeaning? (Cobourne was the former, and Cahoon–Canada’s Wes Welker–was MVC.)

9:55, TIM — Well, the real winner tonight was the Canadian Football League. When does next season start?

9:54, PIERRE — It was a good decision at the time, Tim, and a good decision now. And how weird: My team won, your team lost, and yet you seem more ecstatic than I do.

9:51, TIM — It’s GOOD! The greatest Grey Cup ever ends on a 33-yard Damon Duval field goal, moments after he badly missed a 43-yarder negated by a Saskatchewan penalty. The Alouettes overcame a 27-11 fourth-quarter deficit, and the Riders can’t help but think back on that rouge they gave Montreal by not accepting that penalty earlier, and for kicking that field goal at the end of the first half instead of going for seven.

I never told you I told you so, Pierre, but I told you so.*

*I finally worked some Barenaked Ladies in!

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Unabated to the QB, Week 2: The Defining Moment

“But of course you must remember, fans, the turning points in our history are not always so grand as they are cracked up to be in the murals on your post office wall.”

—The Great American Novel

I’m struck by some parallel notions after two weeks of the NFL season. The first combines the fact that Eli Manning again showed why he might be the best “last 4:00 of a game” quarterback in the league* on Sunday night in a huge game against the Cowboys with the fact that the Giants play the Buccaneers this upcoming Sunday. You see, it was in Tampa two seasons ago that Manning led the Giants to his first playoff win—a victory that at the time was unremarkable and seemingly insignificant (in a big picture sense). But it was the turning point, for Manning went on of course for three more playoff wins in 2007 and has been one of the league’s 10 best quarterbacks since.

*And I’m serious on this. Outside of his brother, I don’t know if anyone is really close. Brady failed on Sunday in the final minutes, and his greatest late comeback drives involved 1) The Tuck Rule; and 2) His team recovering a fumble after he threw an interception on 4th down (in San Diego in 2006). Brees has never done it in a big spot, McNabb is terrible in the 2:00 drill, Warner always scores too quickly (THREE times in the Super Bowl he’s scored too quickly), Rivers hasn’t done it, Roethlisberger has the Super Bowl drive but little else.

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