Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs capped the first game-winning touchdown in NFL postseason history with no time left on the clock by taking off his helmet and throwing it. The field-level footage captured by Vikings employee Scott Kegley shows an official in the end zone throwing a flag just as the helmet soars past his head.
Some have asked why the illegal helmet toss didn’t wipe out the touchdown. By rule, it simply doesn’t. The 15-yard penalty would have been applied on the ensuing kickoff — if any time had been left on the clock. Because there wasn’t, the penalty didn’t matter.
Even if the Vikings had needed to score one, or two, points to win or force overtime, the try wouldn’t have been affected. So the extra point would have still been a 33-yard field goal (not 48) and an attempt for two would have required a two-yard gain (not 17).
In college, a far different rule applies. For unsportsmanlike conduct happening during the live play, unsportsmanlike conduct wipes the touchdown off the board and results in 15 yards being marched off from the spot of the foul. For unsportsmanlike conduct happening after the score, the 15-yard penalty applies to the one- or two-point try.
For Diggs, the gesture undoubtedly will result in a fine. But it will have been worth it. Diggs punctuated a catch-and-run just short of the Immaculate Reception with a bad-ass “Are you not entertained?!?” moment that will echo in eternity for the Vikings and their fans.