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Joe Flacco advocated illegal play in Super Bowl.

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Tony Manfred writes:

In one of the most amazing "what if's?" of all time, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco instructed his teammates to illegally run off the sidelines and tackle the 49ers punt returner at the end of theSuper Bowl if it looked like he was going to score.

Here's what happened:

With four seconds left and Baltimore leading 34-31, the Ravens kicked off to the 49ers. On the sidelines before that kickoff, NFL Network cameras caught Flacco telling his teammates:

"Hey, if he breaks it, if he busts this for some reason, tackle him. Go tackle him. I don't know what the rule is on that but ... I'm going to."

Here's the video from SB Nation.

I no longer think of Joe Flacco as elite.

He told his teammates to cheat to win.

People who want to win by cheating never seem to learn that we the fans have no tolerance for this. 

Wow.  What a dick!

I know, right?

Wait, it gets better. The rules leave the discretion of what to do in that case TO THE REFEREES!

Flacco's theory: There was so little time left that it was worth it for some random guy to run off the sidelines and illegally prevent a touchdown.

The worst that could happen is you get a 15-yard penalty and the 49ers have to score a touchdown on one play, right?

No! Because if one of the Ravens players did that, it would have been within the referee's jurisdiction to give the 49ers a Super Bowl-winning touchdown with zero seconds left.

The play would fall into the category of a "palpably unfair act." From the rulebook:

Rule 5. Section 1. Article 4: If a substitute enters the field of play or the end zone while the ball is in play, it is an illegal substitution. If an illegal substitute interferes with the play, it may be a palpably unfair act (see 12-3-3).

Rule 12. Section 4. Article 3: Palpably Unfair Act. A player or substitute shall not interfere with play by any act which is palpably unfair.

Penalty: For a palpably unfair act: Offender may be disqualified. The Referee, after consulting his crew, enforces any such distance penalty as they consider equitable and irrespective of any other specified code penalty. The Referee may award a score.

So if a Ravens player who wasn't in the game got jumpy and tackled 49ers return man Tedd Ginn Jr., the Ravens probably would have automatically lost the Super Bowl.

Good to know that cheaters don't prosper in the NFL.

But what a wild ending that would have been!

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