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The 5 O'Clock Club: Outside the box

It's 5 o'clock somewhere....

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

I got an email this week from a long-term Hog’s Haven reader and commenter, Jeff Rhodes.

I thought of trying to re-write what he put in his email, but — honestly -- I didn’t think I could do a better job than he had, so I’ll present his comments here in their almost-original, only slightly edited form.

The introduction

I have a story idea – or at least an information nugget – you might want to explore.

Specifically, I’m wondering whether anyone on the Redskin bench considered the possibility of a fair-catch field goal just before the end of the first half.

The rule

The rule is almost never used (in fact, it hasn’t been successfully employed since 1976) because it’s only feasible under a specific set of circumstances. But according to Wikipedia:

“The fair catch kick is a rule at the professional and high school levels of American football that allows a team that has just made a fair catch to attempt a free kick from the spot of the catch. The kick must be either a place kick or a drop kick, and if it passes over the crossbar and between the goalposts of the defensive team's goal, a field goal, worth three points, is scored to the offensive team.”

The situation

In the Redskins’ case, the Cowboys punted from their own goal line and Crowder made a fair catch at roughly the Redskin 40 with 19 seconds left in the half. I think the Redskins had one timeout, and they needed to move the ball roughly 20 yards in order to attempt a long field goal under adverse weather conditions. But when Kirk was sacked on the ensuing play, it became a moot point and the half ended.

The argument against

Even if someone did think of taking a free kick, they might have opted against it because, if Rose had missed, the Cowboys would’ve gotten the ball on the Redskin 40 with maybe 15 seconds left.

The argument for

But here’s the thing: The Redskins were trailing by a point and a field goal would’ve given them the lead at halftime. Rose is a bit of an unknown, and the kick would’ve been about 70 yards. But we know he has the leg to kick it 80 yards on a kickoff using the standard two steps. A free kick of 70 yards – using as many steps as he wants -- is shorter than a kickoff, and we see them go through the end zone all the time. On a day when every point is precious, why not consider something outside the box?


As I say, maybe it’s a crazy idea, but if the objective in that situation is to tack on a score before halftime, which method seems more plausible – a 70-yard free kick, a successful 20-yard pass play followed by a contested 50-yarder, or a 60-yard Hail Mary?

To be fair, even the broadcast announcers were (apparently seriously) discussing the possibility of ending the half with a long field goal try of up to 65 yards, citing much of the same logic, and noting that Rose, like most kickers, is able to routinely belt the ball through the uprights at distances of 65 or 70 yards during warmups.

Don’t forget, the Eagles’ rookie kicker, Elliott just pounded through a 61-yarder to beat the Giants just a few weeks ago.

The creative thinking behind the fair catch/free kick makes the potential place kick a lot like what a kicker does in warm ups before the game, so maybe....


Rate the Redskins coaching staff on CREATIVITY

This poll is closed

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109 votes total Vote Now

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
The 43-year-old Patriots backup, Doug Flutie, converted the NFL's first successful drop kick since 1941, making an extra point in the fourth quarter of the Miami Dolphins' mostly meaningless 28-26 victory Sunday over New England.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Web site, the league's last drop kick for points was on Dec. 21, 1941 -- two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor -- when Ray "Scooter" McLean converted for the Chicago Bears to beat the New York Giants 37-9 in the NFL championship game.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Coincidentally, I got a second reader-related comment on the same day that I received the idea for this post. The second email was from a self-identified Dallas fan, and it came with the subject line: “loser”.

how u like That fucking loss u redskin piece of trash! u better fucking stop running ur mouth about my cowboys schedule.

A couple of thoughts about this email:

  1. I have no idea what John Matthews ( was referencing when he told me to stop talking about ‘his’ cowboys schedule. Obviously I wrote something somewhere to upset him, but I have no idea what it was, and John just didn’t really give me enough information to work with. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to take positive corrective action in the face of such opaque feedback.
  2. John really needs to take some grammar and spelling classes, or he risks being so illiterate that people won’t be able to decipher his insults.
  3. John is a pretty funny guy.