If 49ers return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. had managed to break through the Baltimore coverage on the free kick that ended Super Bowl XLVII, Ginn may have needed an escort from his entire family to get to the end zone.
Via Deadspin, NFL Films audio from the game shows quarterback Joe Flacco urging teammates to take matters into their own hands if Ginn has a clear path to the end zone.
“If he starts to break it, go tackle him,” Flacco told tight end Dennis Pitta.
“Really?” Pitta said.
“I don’t know,” Flacco added. “I mean what else — what could they — I don’t know. I mean, they might be able to give him a touchdown on that, but I don’t know.”
Proving it was hardly a joke, Flacco then rallied other teammates. “Hey, if he breaks it, if he busts this for some reason, tackle him. Go tackle him. I don’t know what the rule is on that, but . . . .”
Though the response isn’t audible, a teammate apparently said something along the lines of, “Lead the way, Bert.” (That’s my half-joking guess at what was said, not a quote.)
“I will,” Flacco then said. “I’m going to.”
As the folks at Deadspin point out, the rule book gives the officials the ability to award a touchdown under those circumstances. And that would have been the proper outcome.
Still, it would have been anything but dull to see Flacco attempt sans helmet to save the Super Bowl by chasing down Ted Ginn and ultimately joining a unique pigskin pantheon that currently includes guys like Sal Alosi, Woody Hayes, and Tommy Lewis.