Tuesday, November 03, 2015

On the Miami Miracle

Let us leave aside for a moment the sheer blissful irony of Duke fans up in arms about an undeserved call going another team's way and costing them a game. (True story: I once watched a Duke basketball game with a Duke alum who literally did not know what a foul was.) This, my friends, is called "karma", and it looks fabulous on you.

No, the really funny part is everyone from Duke coach David Cutcliffe on down demanding that the ACC simply reverse the outcome of the game, giving Duke the win. It is simultaneously breathtaking chutzpah and, as noted by Bomani Jones earlier in the evening, the Dukiest thing that ever Duked Dukes. And it is never going to happen for the following reasons:

1-Precedent. Nobody gave the game to Missouri after Colorado got five downs. Nobody gave that Seattle game with Sir Slaps-A-Lot to the Lions earlier this year. Horrifically bad calls that change the outcomes of games happen all the time. Sometimes they happen on national television during prime time on the last play of the game; sometimes they happen earlier and their impact is disguised. But in either case, this stuff simply happens, and since nobody else got a do-over, Duke doesn't get one either.

2-Gamblers. The rise of football has been predicated on two factors: gambling and fantasy sports, which are really a form of gambling. If the ACC wants to trundle out to Vegas to explain to the various sports books that no, they've changed the outcome of the game, they're going to find John Swafford in a shallow grave in Barstow. Television is the glitz but gambling is the lifeblood of football, and the powers that be understand that. So they'll suspend some officials or make a noise or admit a mistake - but once the final seconds tick off the clock, they are never going to change it lest they risk making their functional partners unhappy.

3-Nobody actually cares. We have seen horrific blown calls in Super Bowls. This season in the NFL, we've seen innumerable missed calls, utter inconsistency as to what makes a "catch", endless debate over what a "football move" is (hint: something the Detroit Lions will never be able to accomplish), inconsistent calling of penalties, officials who don't know the rules, and at least one prime time game decided on a bad rules interpretation on the last play of the game. In ever case, there was some yammering, there was some yelling, there were some hot takes about What Needed To Be Done, and then the next week of games rolled around and nobody cared because there was new football to yell about. Now, this may or may not say something about football fans in general, but it definitely suggests that by the time the next round of kickoffs is live, the Miami Miracle controversy will be relegated strictly to Duke message boards on reddit and Raleigh-area sports talk radio. (Seriously. The audience around here is still bitching over how some guy from State tied his shoelaces wrong in a game against UNC in 1947 - except for the State fans, who are mad about something that happened against Wake Forest in 1952.)

So if you're mad about it, get it out of your system this week. Right now, it's just pointless. Next week, it'll be pointless and old news.
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