It should be no surprise that social media and much of the nation exploded with emotion after last evenings controversial Miami win over Duke. In what was perhaps the most bizarre play in recent memory, the Hurricanes used seven laterals and 40 plus seconds to find their way into the end zone. There is much to be discussed, so let's take a look back and ahead -
Replays show some missed calls ...
If one is to look at the replay of the play which will live in history, they will clearly see two blocks in the back, a downed knee on a tackle and a player entering the field of play before the final touchdown. It's mind-boggling that we see this many errors on a single play which was important in many ways for Duke who is competing for the Coastal Division crown. To make matters worse, the officials gathered for what seemed like an eternity. Once they were set to announce their decision, they balked again only after the explanation had started. They finally made the announcement to a stunned Wallace Wade Stadium. And that's when everything started. Social media was ablaze with rife.
Objective observers were befuddled ...
It didn't take long for many in the media room at Wallace Wade to see multiple missed calls which in their view should have ended the game with a Duke win. We are not talking homer-media here but those who cover varying teams on the ACC football circuit. Even celebrity Dean Cain, of Superman fame, tweeted Duke got robbed. And then the less objective, Rob Lowe, whose son attends Duke chimed in. The bottom line is that almost everyone in attendance realized that this was to be a black eye on ACC officiating.
Answers have yet to come
A bewildered David Cutliffe told the media that no explanation was given to him and that the officials all quickly left the field after the announcement. He mentioned the flag on the field and how it was there for a long time. Oddly, it would seem that the ACC decided to pick up the flag, actually saying that they reviewed one block in the back and changed the call. The problem with that is it is not customary for this to happen. "The ACC has some explaining to do to Duke and to others," said Mike Pereira, Former NFL Vice President of officiating. He continued, "So the crew used replay to pick up the flag. The block, btw, was legal. But, the block at the 15 back up field was a flagrant block in the back. Shortly thereafter Pereira added, "Replay does have a rule that says replay can correct egregious errors excluding fouls that are not reviewable. Blocks in the back are not. More importantly, they used replay to decide to pick up the flag for the block at the 25. Replay is not allowed to review a call for that."
A picture speaks volumes ...
Not only were there replays showing several missed calls on the controversial play to win the game, there were stills. Multiple pictures are starting to appear, and the one to the right is perhaps one of the best examples of a tackle being made. Oddly, the ESPN replay shows an official on top of this play but there was no whistle. I mean, a play that takes 46 seconds to happen with a team that had been racking up penalties like they were candy on Halloween is a bit concerning. The reason being that the chances of there not being infractions on such a long developing play are not favored by the odds. With six seconds on the clock, ESPN had the probability of a win at less than one percent on a later graph which appeared on the site.
Only magicians should be able to make two blocks in the back, a knee down, a flag on the field andthe 12th man, entering the field of play and a Duke win disappear. Look! It wasn't a conspiracy, but just missed calls. But those calls have folks talking of the snafu instead of the upcoming Duke at UNC game. A Duke win may well have brought ESPN Game Day to Chapel Hill where both teams would be ranked and with gaudy 7-1 records. Even UNC standout Ryan Switzer tweeted that he wanted to see Duke pull this game out. One would think the ACC would have liked a scenario where Duke had earned the win.
ESPN click bait
ESPN was pushing the replay on social media and hard, saying the play was an instant classic. However, their announcers on Sports Center on three separate shows said that the officiating was a mess and cost Duke the win. Cutliffe and Duke in no way want to see this play earn as ESPY award n that it was a tainted play. Instead of people talking about a Duke win, we have folks trying to justify this as one of the greatest plays in history. It would have been, had it been clean and an asterisk should be present when accompanying the replay which will live on.
Cutcliffe and Duke seek answers
The Duke coach had to ward off emotion during last evenings post game press conference. He had no answers for his team in that nobody gave him any. Duke had played their hearts out to get back in a game where they had dug themselves a hole. It is also fair to say that Miami played very well, save their penalties and put themselves in position to win. Duke could have played better but it still appeared as if they righted the ship and played well enough to have deserved the win. I cannot even begin to provide all the words which objective media used to describe the officiating on that last play which was being openly discussed. And we could not print what Cutcliffe was likely saying to himself as he tried not to go too far with his comments out of respect to the league and their rules on such things.
We are bound the hear more ...
We are bound to hear more on the from the ACC in time. It was just way to controversial the way this game ended with flags picked u in decision by the crew, etc. It is a potential black eye and brings to earlier calls in other games which came to the forefront as asides in so many folks bewilderment. This call cost a team a win and that's a big deal and story bigger than just Duke vs Miami.
Duke will move on in time
In his opening statement Cutliffe said he knew the media wanted answers and said he would talk about it today on his call in show. But he also said that by the Tuesday media gathering at Duke, he wanted to move forward. "They're smart kids and will move on," said Cutcliffe.
The game vs UNC is still a big one
Duke controls its destiny to a certain degree. The game at UNC which kicks off noon is still a big match up. Perhaps, Duke will be even more focused or pumped up after the controversial loss. While it is possible the call could be reversed in some way, it almost assuredly will not. There is one choice in the situation, that being one must move on.
Some silver linings exist ...
It's hard to see positives at this time for Duke and their fan base, but social media brought many together. Fans came out of the woodwork and were up in arms showing togetherness, laced with outrage but more importantly support. Duke Football needed that in some ways and the hope is that fan interest continues to grow.
The ACC has suspended the members of the on-field officiating crew and the replay officials involved in last nights game, “The quality of our officiating program is of the highest importance to the league and its schools, and the last play of the game was not handled appropriately,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in the statement just released. “Officiating is an extraordinarily difficult job but our players, coaches, programs and fans deserve the best that can be offered. We will continue to strive to meet that standard.”