It’s okay to admit it: in some idle moment or another, you’ve probably imagined being an NFL coach, or at least a high-level football coach of some sort. You’ve watched enough games, simulated enough games via Madden, and watched enough football-centric movies and TV shows that, even if only for a second one time, you convinced yourself you’d developed a mastery of strategy and motivational skill sufficient to face off with the game’s brightest minds. And for one play during the Panthers’ 28-13 win over the Texans on Sunday, you might have actually been (almost) right.
Shortly before halftime, the Panthers stretched their lead to 21-0 via a nifty trick play that finished with tight end Richie Brockel running in for a 7-yard touchdown. Here’s how it looked (video by CJ Fogler):
Impressive execution. But to know why the Panthers refer to the play the way they do, according to Panthers coach Ron Rivera, you have to…know about the movie Little Giants – specifically, one trick play known in the movie as “The Annexation of Puerto Rico.” Rivera said he’s seen the movie “a hundred times,” and the team eventually decided to give their play the same name.
Of course, the Panthers’ play wasn’t quite like the one from the movie – that would have been illegal. Because in Little Giants, the “Annexation of Puerto Rico” play was actually a fumblerooski, which has been outlawed in the NFL for decades now. You can see the Little Giants play here (h/t Will Brinson). We’d much rather have the play be somewhat similar to Little Giants and actually count, so…close enough.