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John Harbaugh Ran The Ball To Set An NFL Record Instead Of Taking A Knee On The Last Play Of The Game And The Broncos Sideline Was PISSED

So there's a TON of hubbub going on this morning about Coach Harbs' decision not to just take the knee and extend the Ravens streak of 100+ rushing yards in a game. Which, mind you, is now tied for the NFL record at 43 games in an era where virtually nobody runs the football anymore.

The Broncos, as evidenced by the video above, are BIG mad about it. Some on the internet are too. Wah wah wah. Scenarios like these happen all the time in sports and it really should come down to one thing - if you don't like it, stop it. We can talk ourselves in circles about sportsmanship and putting players at injury risk but I'd really like to focus on one thing here. And that's pride.

Football is a prideful game. Most of that pride is genuine and organic, but some of it is manufactured. It's part of a head coaches' job to foster and build that pride in his football team, because taking pride in your craft brings results. So I'd like to draw attention to this quote in particular from Coach Harbs' after the game and tell you a little story from my high school days.

My junior year, we bundled a team in the regular season that was historically a doormat but had been having their best season in years. I'm sure it was a big reality check for them and they took it to heart, because they came to our place in the playoffs and upset us, and talked oodles of shit while doing it (honestly, it was eerily similar to Jets-Patriots in 2010 that Rex Ryan talked about on PMT last week). Obviously we didn't forget that.

So the next season, the talk all week in practice was how we were going to step on their throats. "We gon hang 50 on em" was the mantra from us players, which the coaches tapped into and fed us in pregame speeches. Sure enough, we're demolishing these poor jamokes and score late in the 4th to go up 48-0. Of course the sideline is going nuts begging Coach to go for 2, but they send me (the kicker, who was 6 of 6 to that point, nbd) out to kick the extra point. And here's where this story gets good. My holder was our top wide receiver because 1.) he had the best hands on the team and 2.) he was a good enough athlete to make something from nothing on a bad snap. So without telling anybody, this guy takes a perfect snap and as I'm about to kick it, he jumps up and darts to his right on a beeline for the right pylon and dives across like Cam fuckin Newton to put the 50 burger on the board. Of course Coach was livid on the sidelines and tore him a new one because it's high school ball and sportsmanship is supposed to matter, especially when you've got a principal and a bunch of parents up in the stands. But lemme tell ya, when we got behind closed doors in the locker room a few minutes later, Coach was singing a different tune and it was a party because we accomplished what we set out to do. That's a story we'll never forget, which is why I'm talking about it in a blog 13 years later.


Little shit like that matters in a locker room. The Baltimore Ravens take a ton of pride in the way they run the football, and this record was a culmination of over 2 years of hard work. They probably heard all week after the Lions did a respectable job of stopping the run last week that a bigger and badder Broncos defense was going to be the team to finally stop the streak. Coach Harbaugh saw an opportunity after the Broncos called all 3 of their timeouts in the last 30 seconds to salvage the streak and boost the morale in his locker room and he took it. As he should have.

The Broncos don't have to like it. In fact, they shouldn't. They should be disgusted and their head coach wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't make a big stink about it. Their pride was hurt and it's his job to channel this kind of moment and use it to his advantage. 

This is football. Sometimes feelings get hurt. I wouldn't have it any other way, and neither should you. End of story.