Alabama’s Crazy Surprise Onside Kick Was Indeed Legal
In a move that left everyone outside of Alabama's fanbase clenching their fists in outrage, Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide pulled off the very rare and extremely difficult surprise onside kick.
In the fourth quarter. Of the National Championship game. Ugh.
Damn you, you evil genius.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney's over-the-top freak out may have had you second-guessing whether or not Alabama's recovery was legal, but don't allow yourselves to be fooled; it definitely was.
This was a simple call. The ball traveled the necessary distance before an Alabama player touched it. Any show of dissent by Swinney was merely a desperation tactic, as he most certainly knows the rule.
The legality issue of onside kicks pops up in every level of football, from high school all the way to the NFL. People rarely seem to understand what is happening, and therefore turn to outrage when the kick goes against them.
The thing is, it's actually pretty clear cut and it's a call that officials rarely screw up because of that. In fact, officials are far more likely to make mistakes in goal line scrums and personal fouls than they are on onside kick calls, purely because it is a rule that is so famously misunderstood and therefore drilled into their heads.
Unfortunately, it just wasn't Clemson's night.
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