BIZARRE COIN FLIP IN OVERTIME OF RAVENS-STEELERS GAME
As mentioned during our Live Blog of Monday night’s game between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, there was a little problem with the coin flip to begin the overtime session. The coin wasn’t flipped. Instead, it looked like referee Gene Steratore tossed the thing like pizza dough (it’s OK, I’m Italian . . . and I’ve converted to Judaism), and it rotated not once in the air. It’s unclear whether the coin flopped around when it hit the ground -- or whether it landed like that punt from last year’s Dolphins-Steelers game. The Ravens won the toss, which in a game between two teams long on defense and short on offense was the kiss of death. ESPN’s Ron Jaworski suggested the possibility of opting to kick, but was shouted down by memories of Marty Mornhinweg. Though some might think that Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s short tenure on the job would have been ruined if the Steelers had driven down the field and won the game without Baltimore getting a crack at it, we believe that Harbaugh might have permanently won over linebacker Ray Lewis -- and thus the locker room -- by showing such confidence in the defense. Harbaugh also might have won the game. With all that said, we’re not suggesting that Steratore intentionally tried to rig the coin flip. We’re just saying that the coin didn’t flip, which arguably makes it the most unusual midfield incident since Phil Luckett misinterpreted Jerome Bettis’ call at the outset of overtime in the 1998 Thanksgiving Day game between Pittsburgh and Detroit.