On Sunday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh gave Ravens kicking consultant Randy Brown a shove on national television. Three days later, Harbaugh is essentially telling Brown to take his tinfoil-hat theory about the failed field goal attempt at the end of the AFC title game — and shove it.
“Any suggestion the wrong down info was a deliberate effort to affect the outcome of the game is nonsense,” Harbaugh said Wednesday, per Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.
Brown hinted at foul play when talking to WIP radio in Philly on Tuesday. “The scoreboard was one down behind, the entire last three plays, from what we understand,” Brown said. “I don’t think you can rule anything out in New England, can you?”
Cundiff himself said that he was rushed in part because the scoreboard showed that it was third down.
Harbaugh doesn’t want to hear any of that. “We knew what the down and distance were on our last series,” Harbaugh said. “The scoreboard was not a factor for us.”
It’s the right move. Reckless claims of cheating undermine the integrity of the team making them, and that’s surely something owner Steve Bisciotti doesn’t want to see. Besides, creating the impression that the Ravens actually relied on the scoreboard creates a Keystone Cops quality to the entire operation, something that neither Harbaugh nor Bisciotti nor anyone in the organization should want.
Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see if Cundiff and/or Brown return in 2012, either because of the missed kick or their subsequent comments about it.