Talk about an ultimately meaningless moment in a football game that has caused a lot of furor.
Last Sunday, with the New York Jets leading the Arizona Cardinals 7-6 and driving in the late stages of the game, the Cardinals faced a decision. Having used all their timeouts, and with the Jets in possession of the ball, the only way to give the team a chance for the win would be to let New York score.
Facing a second down and three at the Cardinals’ six-yard line, New York quarterback Greg McElroy handed the ball off to running back Shonn Greene, who broke through the line with very little resistance and fell down on his own at the one-yard line. The run gave the Jets a first down, and allowed them to run out the clock and win the game by one point.
Earlier this week, news broke of a spat between Cardinals defenders Kerry Rhodes and Darnell Dockett, who had a disagreement on philosophy. Dockett didn’t want to let the Jets score, while Rhodes went along with the plan.
The replay clearly shows on that particular play, Dockett is really the only Cardinals defender exerting any energy while the other ten were content to let Greene score and give Arizona one more chance with the ball trailing by eight.
It was all for naught as Greene sacrificed a boost in statistics to completely snuff out any hope the Cardinals had left.
Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton, nearly a week later, shed some light on the debate Friday following practice.
“It was my decision,” Horton said when asked about his beliefs in letting an opponent score. “The ultimate goal is to win the game, whether you give up a safety, whether you give up a touchdown. My philosophy is whatever it takes to win a game — so if it means doing that, I’d do it to give ourselves a chance.
“I asked (Whisenhunt) to do it, for time reasons.”