After Sam Koch effectively wasted eight seconds of play by scurrying around in the end zone, taking a safety, Joe Flacco and the Ravens anxiously awaited the ensuing punt as well as the remaining four ticks of the clock. It’s no secret that Flacco wanted 49ers returner Ted Ginn to be stopped short of the goal line and to win the game, but he was willing to go to extremes to make that happen. Flacco was heard saying this by NFL’s Sound FX:
Flacco to Dennis Pitta: “If he starts to break it, go tackle ’em.”
Flacco: “I don’t know. I mean, what else — I mean — Wha — What can they do? I mean, they might be able to give them a touchdown on that.”
Flacco to Michael Oher and Marshall Yanda: “Hey! If he breaks it; if he busts it for some reason, tackle ’em. Go tackle ’em. I don’t know what the rule is on that, but –”
Matt Birk to Flacco: “Why can’t you?”
Flacco: “I will, I’m going to.”
The reactions by Pitta, Oher, Yanda, and Birk are priceless. It is almost like they are used to these types of comments; like they know firsthand that what Flacco’s dad said a few days prior is true: he is dull.
Now, would Flacco have had a big enough pair to go run out there and prevent Ted Ginn from taking it to the house once he was in open field? Probably not. Would he have caught him if he had to? No.
But, let’s just say he did. Let’s say Ginn started to break it and dull Joe Flacco ran onto the field and wrapped him up. What is the rule on that?
There is not really an official rule in the NFL rulebook that addresses this because, well, it’s common sense. The only thing that may apply is Rule 12, Section 3, Article 2 which says, “the defense, when near its goal line, shall not commit successive or repeated fouls (half distance penalties) to prevent a score.” The penalty underneath the rule says, after a warning, that the offense is awarded the score.
In the instance of dull Joe being a hero and taking out Ginn, it would not have been successive or repeated, but it certainly would have been with the intention to prevent a score. And one can assume that common sense is the only “warning” that you need.
Believe it or not, there was an instance of this in the college ranks in 1954 during the Cotton Bowl as Alabama’s Tommy Lewis tackled Rice’s Dicky Moegle before he could complete a 95-yard touchdown run. Ultimately, because of the “12th man tackle,” Moegle was awarded the touchdown.
It is hard to argue with Flacco’s logic, though. He is going to score anyway. But damn, Joe.