Routine is great for most people, and now that we’re all nice and settled in at that point in the season where you’re planning your whole Sunday, what you’re going to eat, where you’re going to hang out, and who to invite (or not invite) around the Pats game kickoff....here’s the bye week.
So why not pass the time with the time-honored New England tradition of pointing and laughing at your enemies and their most pathetic failures? Been doing it since 1776, right? Sounds like a good old time to me!
Back in one of 2015’s marquee games, the Snitches Get Stitches Bowl, the Indianapolis Colts tried to out-Patriot the Patriots with a trick play that, aside from a strip-sack fumble return for a touchdown, turned out about as poorly as humanly possible. It was delightful.
Ah, what the heck, you want to watch it again? Of course you do. I want to watch it again too. Let’s watch it again!
Aaaaahhhh, that always goes down smooth.
Anyway, the gift that keeps on giving with this collective faceplant was that coach Chuck Pagano, who’s currently busy making Jacoby Brissett into a superstar while letting him get sacked 30 times a game, tried to explain the play after the game ended. That explanation, well, went about as well as the play itself did.
Full circle back to where Pat McAfee comes in: Pat’s explained exactly what happened on this play too, and in as much detail as you could ever want to know about a play that ended in something kind of like that one embarrassing thing that happened to you in elementary school that people STILL make fun of you for (think the “People don’t forget!” part of Superbad). Now that Pat McAfee’s joined up with Barstool Sports and co-hosts the Laces Out podcast, he’s free to unleash some Jay-and-Silent-Bob-esque four-letter-words while he’s explaining the play, which the guys start talking about after Travis Benjamin’s boneheaded safety play on Sunday.
AJ Hawk: “Hey Pat, were you in on that play, the worst fake ever against the Patriots, what was that?”
Pat McAfee: “No no AJ, it was a play that was not designed to be snapped, that’s what happened, AJ.”
AJ: “And who snapped it?”
Pat: “Well, his name, and he will go down as the worst center in football history, he will go down as, one play, one disaster, was Griff Whalen, but Griff Whalen did not practice at gunner the entire week. It was another gunner that, he didn’t get activated. So the play was, we were going to, if it was a situation where we could take a delay of game, it wasn’t a big deal, field position wasn’t a big deal, we were going to try to fake a substitute and steal a yard, cause I think it was, or steal a couple yards real quick, if there was a chance. If the Patriots, who are coached by the best coach in the history of sports, was to not have them prepared and they were to spread, we were going to steal a couple yards or take a delay of game. Either/or, and we’ll just back it up five, no big deal, didn’t work, cool, we’re out.”
“So Griff Whalen is a Stanford guy, who was literally our guy we went to for everything, he was like the onside kick guy, I would kick it to him, he was just our go-to guy. He was Luck’s roommate in college, he’s just a genius, Griff Whalen is like a super-smart guy. So our guy couldn’t go, so the replacement for the gunner was Griff Whalen. Griff Whalen reads the playbook exactly word for word for what that play was, so that play is actually in the playbook, right, it was for that week, the actual play. Griff reads it, studies it, sounds good. So, there was an adjustment made somewhere by some people, I don’t know who said it, that said try to draw them offsides if they line up over the center because we’re trying to take a delay of game, it doesn’t matter.”
“In the book, though, it says ‘if there is a cadence at all, you’re snapping it’, don’t look up, just snap it. So there was a communication error between somebody who talked to Colt Anderson, who was the quarterback, and the playbook, which is the only thing Griff Whalen read. So then, now, under center, he called he has to snap it in the playbook, but in his mind he’s was like ‘I’m just going to try to draw them offsides, don’t snap it’. It was just one gigantic communication clusterf*** that resulted in one of the worst GIFs in history, in the history of football, one of the worst GIFs.”
“And I just so happen to be right out of the picture so you can’t even see me but my name is right across the godd*** bottom, it says “Pat McAfee in to punt” with my average on it. And it was a pretty good average so I wasn’t that mad about it, but it’s, the whole play is just directly right above my name, and it’s an interesting situation to be in.”
Jerry: “The punchline of that was one of the all-time great referee calls, too, it was ‘offsides, the entire side of the formation’.”
Pat: “Dude, they showed my face afterwards, they showed my face on national TV, and I am not good at lying, my face tells the story. You know exactly how I’m feeling at the exact moment I’m feeling it. I’m just, my face does not relax, like it has no chill. I was talking to Bill Nye last week and I was losing my sh*t, I had no idea what he was saying, he was speaking over my head. So they went right to my face, and you literally see me, like it’s a full-on “...what the f*** just happened?”. Like, I’m going to be associated with that forever, like, that’s something, it just didn’t work out. A lot of plays don’t work out, let’s not act like they don’t, guys, OK? That could have very easily been a dive play that lost four yards, we’ll just act like that’s what happened. But boy, it went down in an ugly manner.”
He’s not kidding about the “WTF?” look on his face, either. Watch the video here at about 45 seconds in and it’s RIGHT up there.
Of course, they have to pay tribute to the Buttfumble after that, since the two are easily the most unintentionally hilarious plays of the Belichick-era Patriots, as Jerry put it. And honestly, between those two, it’s kind of a toss-up in my book because they’re total opposite types of humiliating, GIF-able failures. The Buttfumble, since anyone north of Pennsylvania can replay it in their mind in perfect detail on a moment’s notice, was a perfect combination of New England’s defensive execution and just enough bad luck to be humiliating enough to more or less define Mark Sanchez’s entire career. The Colts play, though, is just that perfect alchemy of a confident football team slacking off just enough that a series of crucial details didn’t even get to the guy running the play - think about how absurd that is. That’s you going in for a hug and your friend going for a fist bump and you both doing that awkward thing where you stand there for a few seconds like “Ummmmmmm....what’s happening here?”
...And it just so happened to be in a crucial situation in a game when they were definitely still in a position that they could have won, hypothetically.
Enjoy the bye week, everyone.