A tie! Nothing brings more joy to fans of novelty, more consternation to playoff-scenario-figure-outers, or more mercy to viewers than a tie. The first in the NFL since 2008, the second in a decade, the 24-24 final score of yesterday's St. Louis-San Francisco game was perplexing to both teams—should you be happy you didn't lose? Sad you didn't win?—but more than that gives us all the opportunity to find 2012's Donovan McNabb.
McNabb famously had no clue that Eagles-Bengals could ever end in a tie, at least until it did.
"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 the playoffs."
Even before time ticked away on the first and only overtime in San Francisco, we all knew there would be a handful of players on both teams that would be taken by surprise by a rule that rarely comes into play. The only question: who would it be? A day later, we've got two guilty parties. Rams WR Danny Amendola told Peter King he only realized the game was over when an official told him. And 49ers safety Dashon Goldson still doesn't sound like he knows what happened.
"I've never heard of a tie in football," Goldson said. "Where's everybody going? Did somebody quit? Forfeit?"
It's easy to laugh, but judging from Twitter searches, there's a ton of fans who had no idea the game could end in a tie either. This simply isn't something that comes up enough for players, burdened with more than enough things to think about, to devote even a neuron of brainspace toward. The guys calling the plays know there's a hard out at 0:00, and that's usually enough. Everyone still gets on McNabb, but he didn't play any differently for his ignorance. On the last play of the game, he put up a deep ball. Amendola, like the rest of the Rams, was hustling to the line on St. Louis's last drive. Goldson, like the rest of the 49ers, was taking his sweet time. Until the day comes when a brainfart actually costs a team a chance to break a tie, stuff like this remains an amusing coda.
Also, coordinators should probably just explain ties to their units before the start of overtime.