After all my years of watching football, I’ve never seen what took place at the end of regulation in the Packers/Cardinals Divisional playoff game this past Saturday night.
The Packers had made a miraculous comeback and tied the game on probably the best and most improbable Hail Mary pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jeff Janis to force overtime. So right before the beginning of overtime both team captains met at midfield for the coin toss. Referee Clete Blakeman explained the overtime rules to both team captains and then tossed the coin. It landed on heads and the Cardinals won the toss, but the Packers protested that the coin never flipped while it was tossed in the air. Blakeman immediately realized what had happened, picked up the coin, and re-tossed it. The coin landed again on heads, the Cardinals again won the toss, and went on to score a touchdown on their first possession in overtime to win the game. You can watch the coin toss here.
I’ve never seen that happen before. How do you toss a coin and not have it flip? Chris Collinsworth, who was announcing the game on NBC, commented “How long have you been doing this,” referring to Clete Blakeman and his coin toss.
This coin toss controversy has now raised some questions in how the process takes place. With all the other controversies that exist in football today (What’s a catch what’s not a catch? What’s an illegal hit what’s not an illegal hit? How can overtime be more fair for both teams?), thanks to Blakeman’s little gaff, we can add the coin toss to the list.