Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Not Over Till It's Over

Yesterday at the Giant’s game I witnessed first hand an example of why, as Yogi Berra famously said, it’s not over till it’s over. No, the Cubs did not stage a miraculous come back to beat the Giants. No, this actually had nothing to do with the game at hand.

A man sitting near me was following the 49ers/Vikings game on his cell phone. He had one of those phone applications that refreshes every few seconds and displays as text what’s been happening in the game: the score, time remaining, who has the ball, what down it is, etc.

He counted down the action:

Minnesota had the ball
3rd and 10 with 33 seconds left – incomplete
4th and 10 with 16 seconds left - incomplete
2 seconds left. Niners ball!

He stood up and started shouting “Niners Win! Niners Win!” The crowd cheered and I felt a little twinge in my heart saying “but there’s 2 seconds left, it’s not over yet.”

A few minutes later a fan a few rows up listening to the game on his radio turned back and shouted with disgust “The Niners lost.”

“What!?” The man checked his phone in disbelief. It still showed the Niners had won.

What happened?

For one thing the man (or the phone) had the down wrong. The play that started with 16 seconds left was really a 3rd and 10, so even if it had been incomplete the Vikings would have had one more play to score.

But it wasn’t incomplete, as the phone mistakenly reported. Brett Favre threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to receiver Greg Lewis who somehow kept his feet in bounds as he caught the ball at the back of the end zone. The play was reviewed, but the call stood.

With 2 seconds left the Niners got the ball back, but their pass was incomplete.

That’s when it was over, and the Niners lost.

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