When I first saw yesterday that Donovan McNabb was unaware that NFL games can end in a tie, I thought it must have been misreported or he was joking. McNabb's Philadelphia Eagles tied the Cincinnati Bengals, 13-13, in the first NFL tie since 2002. It turns out, though, that McNabb, a 10-year vet, and other players had no idea the league allows ties in regular season games.
"I've never been a part of a tie. I never even knew that was in the rule book," McNabb said. "I guess we're aware of it now. In college, there are multiple overtimes, and in high school and Pop Warner. I never knew in the professional ranks it would end that way. I hate to see what would happen in the Super Bowl and in the playoffs."
How clueless is McNabb? Not only does he not know the NFL overtime rule for the regular season (games can end in a tie), he's equally out to lunch on playoff overtime (the game goes on until one team scores). I would have thought that any player was aware of such an important rule. After all, prior to Sunday, McNabb had played in 10 regular season OT games during his career; you would have thought the rule came up at least once. But it gets worst.
In his defense, McNabb wasn't the only one oblivious to the rules. Several of his teammates were just as clueless.
"Me and Greg Lewis were discussing it on the sideline, so we asked one of our trainers and he told us it ends in a tie," running back Correll Buckhalter said.
"I found out while we were in OT," rookie wideout DeSean Jackson said.
"I thought we kept playing," linebacker Omar Gaither said.
Wow! Coach Andy Reid said he took responsibility for the low rules IQ of his players, saying, "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." Really? The Eagles certainly played with little urgency in the OT, maybe thinking they would simply outlast the Bengals, even if it took days like a cricket match.
For my money, yesterday was the low point of the Reid-McNabb Era -- tying a 1-8 team and then acting surprised when the refs stopped the game. If the Eagles (5-4-1) miss the playoffs, I would expect both to be gone in 2009.