Back in 2008, the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles participated in the first NFL tie – a 13-13 finish – since 2002. Though the overtime rules were different then, with a score of any kind ending the game automatically, ties, however unlikely, were still in play.
You might also remember that Donovan McNabb famously didn’t know the overtime rules, never entertaining the possibility that a football game could end in a tie.
“‘I’ve never been a part of a tie. I never even knew that was in the rule book,’ McNabb said after the game. ‘It’s part of the rules, and we have to go with it. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game. But unfortunately, with the rules, we settled with a tie.'”
McNabb withstood the subsequent media beating for his rules gaffe, and that was that. But if there was anything to come out of that entire episode, it was the knowledge for every NFL player that yes, an NFL game could end in a tie.
Yesterday afternoon the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams tied 24-24, with David Akers missing a 41-yard field goal in overtime and a delay of game wiping a Greg Zuerlein 53-yard game-winner off the board. When the overtime clock expired, every subsequent game reporte noted that this was the first tie since 2008 and, “Hey remember that time Donovan McNabb didn’t know the rules and looked like a moron?”
But as expected, that message from 2008 didn’t quite sink in for everyone, because St. Louis wide receiver Danny Amendola didn’t know yesterday’s game was going to end in a tie after the first (and only) overtime period. Via Peter King:
Amendola just told me he thought there was going to be a second overtime. Didn’t know it was over till he heard from an official.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) November 12, 2012
Okay fine, Amendola wasn’t the only one. Via Cam Inman:
#49ers Dashon Goldson: “I didn’t know you could tie. When I saw both sides walking onto the field, I was like, ‘Where’s everybody going?”
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) November 12, 2012
Just for reference, you can check out the overtime rules here. The passage of note, below:
“The only difference is that regular season games can end in a tie if the score remains locked after 15 minutes, while a playoff game cannot.”