Green Bay, By A Foot

As bad as the NFL is (or, I think it is these days), the divisional playoff round, where eight teams are paired down to four, usually produces a game that will be talked about for a while. This year, it was Green Bay with a 34-31 win over Dallas, with three kicks of over 50 yards in the last minute and a half of the game in back-and-forth fashion.

Remember when I said back in 2015 that you never know when an arcane rule will come up in the NFL? Yesterday was such a day, although you really had to pay attention to notice it, because it seemed the FOX television crew (except Mike Pereira, the officiating expert, on his Twitter feed) had no idea what they missed.

At the end of the first half, the Packers punted to Dallas on the last play of the half, with the Cowboys trailing 21-13. The punt was fair caught at the Cowboys own 38 yard line, and that entitled them to a free kick, even though time had expired. Dan Bailey, the kicker for Dallas, usually had the leg hit the end zone on kickoffs, so a 72 yard field goal (which would have shattered the longest field goal record for both playoff games and all NFL games) on a play that was essentially a kickoff was not totally inconceivable.

A field goal on a free kick hasn’t occurred in 40 years, but sooner or later, someone will pull it off.

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