Dec
16
2020

The Unintentional Comedy Of Monday Night Football

When the Baltimore Ravens headed to Cleveland for a Week 14 clash with the Browns, many anticipated a tightly-contested game. The Ravens and Browns are in the heat of the AFC playoff race. With a loss, Baltimore would need a near-miracle to make the playoffs. With a win, Cleveland would essentially clinch a playoff spot.

The game lived up to the billing. Lamar Jackson was sensational. He had a 99.5 QBR, three total touchdowns, and a Monday Night Football-record 124 quarterback rushing yards. Similarly, Baker Mayfield was spectacular. He was pinpoint accurate, and he was making plays left and right. It was the game of the year.

However, football took a back seat to the pure, unadulterated humor contained in the 60 minutes of game time. In one of the biggest games of the year, and likely the biggest game Cleveland has hosted in over a decade, hilarity ensued:

Example 1: Chuck Clark Becomes a Ragdoll

If you watch old football footage, you may notice that the goalpost was at the front of the endzone. Similarly, Canadian Football has the goalpost at the front of the endzone.

You probably have thought, “Hmm. That is a safety hazard.” Clark proved that it was a safety hazard (literally, he plays safety for Baltimore) even when placed at the back of the endzone. On the final play of the first half, Mayfield launched a ball into orbit before it fell harmlessly just out of the back of the endzone.

Clark took the opportunity to run full speed into the goalpost. Comic gold:

Naturally, Clark ended up sprawled on the ground. It was a moment so candid and so funny that I may have written this article if it was the only funny thing that happened. It wasn’t.

Example 2: Counting Is Hard

American football is 11 players versus 11 players. With the notable exception of Detroit trying to stop Dalvin Cook with 10 players, there are always 22 players on the field.

Apparently, rules do not apply to Baltimore. On a play in the second half, Baltimore lined up 15 players to stop the Browns. Not 11. Not 12. Not 13. Not 14. 15. Read that again. Baltimore had 15 players on the field.

Too many men on the field is a fairly common penalty in the football vernacular. Even casual fans would immediately recognize that having 12 players on the field is illegal.

Certain members of the population are paid to enforce rules in football. The people, known as referees, are essentially paid to make sure that grown men (in the case of the NFL) follow rules. One might imagine that they need to be able to count.

What about the refs on Monday? Counting was optional. Cleveland had to challenge to receive the free five yards from the penalty.

Professional referees are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to referee football. Every single one on the field failed to notice that Baltimore had 15 men on the field. Having 12 men is usually caught. But 15?

In fairness to Baltimore, they likely would not have been able to stop Kareem Hunt or Nick Chubb even if they had the city of Baltimore on the field.

Example 3: Lamar Jackson

Jackson has been a starting quarterback since November of 2018. There are several questions asked about him.

  • Are you a quarterback?
  • Can you beat good teams?
  • Are you elite?
  • Will you win a playoff game?

However, those questions pale in comparison to the question posed Monday night:

Lamar, was it really cramps, or did you have to go to the bathroom?

Near the end of the third quarter, Jackson headed to the locker room. The Ravens reported the issue as cramps, but once a video of Jackson running to the locker room surfaced, on-lookers had other ideas:

In a flashback to Paul Pierce in the 2008 Finals, people believe Jackson needed to go to the restroom:

Pierce, to his credit, eventually came clean and said he only needed a wheelchair because he had defecated on himself:

Jackson maintains that he was cramping, and a bandage on his forearm corroborates his story. We may never know if Jackson “had the runs” or not, but he came back just in time for a do-or-die 4th down conversion to put the Ravens in the lead:

At that moment, fans across the country will remember the last two minutes of the game. I will remember three hours of pure comedy.