Back and to the left: The Plot That Killed the Vikings

October 1st, 2019 NFL Football

People who bet on the NFL and the Vikings in an online sportsbook have no choice but to believe that the Dallas Cowboys have a horseshoe in their locker room. On Thanksgiving Day, the nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma that is the star at the center of our Solar System aligned itself neatly in the way of the Washington Redskins offensive at AT&T Stadium. A week later, it was a zebra that came to the aid of Dallas. This time at the Minnesota Vikings’ US Bank Stadium. Not the DC Comics villain Zebra Man, but the black-and-white striped referee who did not call a blatant hit to the head of Vikes’ QB Sam Bradford. Perhaps the Cowboys indeed are the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s favorite team.

True Story

The story you are about to hear is true; the names have (not) been changed to protect the innocent. With 25 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, Bradford connects with Jerick McKinnon for three yards. The Vikings attempt a two-point conversion. Bradford’s pass to Kyle Rudolph is incomplete. Cowboys’ defensive tackle hits Bradford on the head. Bradford’s head goes back, and to the left. Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left. The Cowboys win their 11th straight game 17-515. The Vikes dropped to 6-6. Dallas fans who bet on the NFL breathe a sigh of relief. The NFL football odds were vindicated.

Don’t lose your sleep

Of course, people who bet on the NFL do not lose any sleep over missed calls, as long as they’re winning. But according to Fox Sports’ Chris Chase, sportsball purists should be glad that a flag was not thrown on that play.  “When that call might be the difference between Minnesota making the playoffs or Dallas starting a late-season collapse that actually could end with a road wild-card game simply for the right to play the Giants in Jersey, you can’t throw that flag.” Whatever that means.

Chase and his words

Chase goes on to say that the ball had already left Bradford’s hands before Thornton’s own hands made contact with Bradford’s head. In other words, the hit to the QB’s head was unrelated to the incompletion. In other other words, referee Tony Corrente made a conscious judgment call not to make the call because it was what’s best for the game. Or as Chase puts it, “Corrente took a stand on Thursday, thought about the dangers of wielding a flag and using it the same in all situations. Or maybe he just missed it and is no longer our Norma Rae. I hope it’s the former.”


Unfortunately, it appears it was the latter. When Bradford was asked how Corrente explained the non-call, the signal-caller said, “he told me that I did not get hit in the face mask.” And since Bradford clearly did get hit in the face mask, that means that Corrente did not choose not to call the penalty but simply failed to do so because he did not see it. And since it was a night game, Corrente can’t claim the sun was in his eyes.

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