The Miami Hurricanes loss could have been avoided
They say that if you live long enough, you see everything twice.
OK, I don’t know if anyone has actually ever said that, but it seems to be a truism, nonetheless.
Take me, for example. I was alive for the Miracle At the Meadowlands, a play that occurred between the Giants and Eagles at old Giants Stadium on November 19, 1978. Don’t misunderstand, I didn’t see that play, nor do I actually remember it happening–I was only six and didn’t care about sports back then–but it has become such a part of NFL lore over the past 45 years that it’s hard not to know just about everything about it.
Let’s take you back:
There were just seconds to play in a hard-fought game between these two NFC East rivals who were hovering around .500 and doing everything they could to get their football programs back to the playoffs after many seasons of despair. New York had a 17-12 lead over the Eagles. A victory seemed like a guarantee for the Giants, as did a 6-6 record for both clubs with just a month to play.
Philadelphia was out of timeouts, and all Giants’ quarterback Joe Pisarcik had to do was take the snap and fall down in order to run out the clock. Instead, a running play was called, and the handoff was botched between Pisarcik and running back Larry Csonka (that’s right, Csonka played in New York between 1976 and 1978), and Eagles defensive back Herman Edwards picked up the fumble and returned it for the game-winning touchdown.
Philadelphia went on to narrowly make the playoffs as a wildcard, while several Giants coaches went on to lose their jobs.
It became a no-brainer from that point on for a head coach to never, ever do anything so stupid ever again. By the 80s, it was perfectly safe for a quarterback to kneel down at the end of a game without being subjected to physical harm by a desperate defense looking to injure him and/or steal the football away.
A mistake like the Miracle at the Meadowlands should have never happened again at any level of football after November 19, 1978.
Then, everyone went to bed on October 7, 2023, after watching it happen again.
I’m talking about the mental mistake made by Miami Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal at the end of what should have been a 20-17 victory over Georgia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium last Saturday night.
Miami had a first and 10 at the Yellow Jackets 30 with 1:22 left. Running back Donald Chaney Jr. was dropped for a two-yard loss, and Georgia Tech called its last timeout with 1:18 remaining in regulation. All the Hurricanes had to do from that point on was just kneel on the football–call the old Victory Formation–and the game would be over.
Instead, Miami called another running play for Chaney that went for two yards. (OK, enough with this malarkey, right, guys? Just kneel on the pigskin.) Nope, Chaney was handed that pigskin with 33 seconds left, and not only did he not just fall down with it, he tried to fight for extra yards. You can guess what happened next: Chaney was stripped of the football while going to the ground, and Georgia Tech’s Kyle Kennard recovered it with 25 seconds remaining.
Thankfully, the Yellow Jackets had it at their own 26, so there was no way they would be able to march the length of the field, right?
On second and 10, Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King completed a 30-yard pass to Malik Rutherford down to the Miami 44. Seconds later, King rolled to his right and threw a bomb to receiver Christian Leary who scored the winning points with one second remaining.
Final score: Yellow Jackets 23, Hurricanes 20.
Can a yellow jacket actually sting a hurricane? I’m no scientist, but I do know that thousands of Hurricanes fans left Hard Rock Stadium in stunned silence after such an egregious loss to a lesser Georgia Tech team.
How could that happen? How could Cristobal be so stupid? Was he alive for the Miracle at the Meadowlands? Did he know anything about it?
The Hurricanes went into Saturday’s game with a 4-0 record and were moving up the rankings. That loss dropped them to 25th in the country. I think it’s a bit dramatic and even a little nerdy when fans and the media use the phrase “coaching malpractice,” but Cristobal’s decision may have been the perfect example of it.
That man should have been fired the second Miami’s last lateral fell to the natural turf of Hard Rock Stadium.
No, Chaney didn’t have to fumble. No, Miami’s defense didn’t have to allow the Yellow Jackets to move 74 yards in 25 seconds, but that loss was solely on the shoulders of a clueless head coach.
I think I’ve said everything I needed to say in this article, therefore, I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.
That’s right, I’m taking a knee.
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