Was that ("trickeration"-type) touchdown play by Cleveland where the linemen were standing perfectly legal, or did the referees just get caught off-guard? It seems like an offensive lineman can get called for a false start if they just flinch their hand or rock an inch. How can it then be legal for lineman to be standing, turning their heads, etc.? Can you break down how the rules weren't violated? Thanks.
Ed C., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Hi Ed - You're right, an offensive lineman can be flagged for a false start if he flinches after he's taken his three-point stance. Since none of the Browns' linemen went down into a stance, they couldn't be flagged for a false start on that play. By the way, I'm still trying to figure out how Josh Cribbs got the ball into Chansi Stuckey's arms -- that was a trick worthy of David Copperfield.
Here's a link to the NFL's online rulebook, which gives a little bit more detail on what does and doesn't constitute a false start.
Will there ever be a Super Bowl played in Gillette Stadium? It's a state-of-the-art stadium, and with the New Meadowlands recently being awarded a Super Bowl, the weather shouldn't be an issue in February, right?
Nick K., Birmingham, Ala.
Robert Kraft was a big proponent of the new Meadowlands getting Super Bowl XLVIII, but at the NFL's spring owners' meetings in May, when the vote was taken as to whether there would be a New York (New Jersey) Super Bowl, Kraft said "that ship has sailed" when asked about a Super Bowl at his stadium.
Gillette (remember when it was known as CMGi Field for all of a month or so?) has been open since 2002, and the trend in recent years has been to award Super Bowls to teams that build new stadiums within a couple of years of the stadium opening. Ground for Gillette was broken in 2000, meaning the team would have most likely been making a pitch for Super Bowl XXXVIII or XXXIX (both of which, ironically enough, it played in), and back then, it seemed crazy to think a Super Bowl would be played in a cold-weather location. Detroit and Super Bowl XL was the first cold weather championship, but that is an enclosed stadium, as is Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the 2011 Super Bowl will be played. New York will be the first open-air, cold weather Super Bowl. The combination of a $1-billion-plus stadium and the NFL wanting to give yet another example of the city's strength post-9/11, and likely a nod to the late Wellington Mara, one of the founding fathers of the modern NFL as Giants' owner for over 40 years, all helped New York land the game.