There was no way for the Saints to win once Stefon Diggs carried Case Keenum’s Minneapolis Miracle heave over the goal line with zero seconds left in Sunday’s playoff game — but that didn’t mean the game was over. After the Vikings’ celebration and New Orleans’ dejected march back to the locker room, officials were tasked with regrouping for one last play — an extra point that would have no effect on the outcome of the game whatsoever.
But for gamblers, it was one last chance for the Vikings to cover a 5.5-point spread. For conspiracy theorists, it was an opportunity to prove the league kowtows to the high-powered sportsbooks that handle millions of dollars in wagers each week.
It turned out to be neither. The officials’ decision to drag out a final untimed play was merely a leftover function of the regular season’s playoff tiebreaker process. Minnesota, facing non-existent pressure from a Saints’ defense that fielded just eight uninterested players (including its injured punter), took a knee and resumed celebrating.
Was Minnesota's kneel down at the end of the game the first play in NFL history when both punters were on the field? pic.twitter.com/dq7MCPXKhW— Zoltán Buday (@PFF_Zoltan) January 15, 2018
Former NFL officiating czar, and current Sunday FOX broadcast mainstay, Mike Pereira explained the rule on Twitter Monday morning, presumably after celebrating Sunday’s games with a couple more Tito’s-and-soda cocktails.
About the try last night. The reason for having to kick the try has nothing to do with point spreads. It has everything to do with point differential. If it was spreads you would have to attempt the try in OT. Point differential is one of the tiebreakers used for playoff seeding.
It took more than eight minutes to get from Diggs’ dash into the end zone to Keenum’s game-ending kneel down, though it’s hard to imagine Minnesota fans complaining about the delay. The MVP candidate quarterback made the most of his time, even leading the Minneapolis faithful in the team’s Skol chant as officials tried to sort out the action on the field.
But while the untimed extra point led to some memorable moments on the field, it also stretched out an already overlong broadcast. That could lead to an offseason discussion over whether to keep the mandatory extra point in the rulebook for 2018’s regular season.
That being said, I would like to see a rule change that would elimate the try extension if it occurs in the playoffs. Revert to the college rule which does not extend for the try if the team that scores a TD is more than 2 points ahead. Last night was a mess. Make sense?— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) January 15, 2018