Thursday, September 12, 2002

If you read the Alberto Gonzales entry below, this is actually a bit like that, even though it's about football.

Walt Harris, who coaches the Pittsburgh (don't call them Pitt) Panthers, uses the Swinging Gate formation on extra points sometimes. It's when the snapper, kicker and holder line up in the middle while the rest of the team lines up off to the side. There;s a possibility that the snapper will send the ball to someone on the side if the defense doesn't react to it. Usually, the line will shift into a normal formation.

Pittsburgh got flagged twice for doing it, and it may have cost them a game against Texas A&M. Why? Because their snapper's number is 91, which is for eligible receivers and not for linemen. There was also someone else on the line wearing number 45. Under the rules, there can only be one exception on kick formations to linemen having numbers between 50 and 79. They had two, therefore the flags. The penalties resulted in a kick attempt being 30 yards and pushed wide right.

A&M coach R.C. Slocum probably noticed this in films and asked officials to watch for it. They did and made the call accordingly. Harris' excuse for it? "I heard they did that, but the hard part is that we've done it before with other referees in different conferences."

That explanation is not unlike Gonzales' excuse for Ashcroft's raping of the Constitution, which was essentially, "Congress won't call us on it, so we'll do it."

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