The sports world is still reeling after witnessing what's been called “The worst play in the history of football” last Sunday night, and finally Colts punter Pat McAfee gives us some answers. In an appearance on the Indianapolis-based Bob and Tom Show, McAfee explains that the purpose of the play was to either draw the Patriots offsides or catch them with twelve men on the field as they scramble to work out whether they should keep their punt return team or regular defensive unit on the field. If the Colts had drawn either of these penalties, they would have picked up the first down given they ran the play in a 4th-and-3 situation. The issue with this play is that the ball wasn’t supposed to be snapped, and if you look closely at Chuck Pagano’s lips immediately after you can see him shouting “Why the hell did you snap it?!"
The guy who was supposed to be playing center and had practiced this elaborate trick play all week, Clayton Geathers, had been injured in the second quarter.
Now, this play was drawn up as an audible during special teams practice and was never included in the playbook, which explains why Griff Whalen, the Colts return specialist who filled in for the injured rookie Clayton Geathers didn’t understand not to snap the football. It’s hard to understand a trick play while you’re 40 yards downfield and practicing punt-return, and harder still when said play is never included in the playbook. McAfee explained "[Whalen] is a Stanford guy, reads the playbook, knows everything he has to do, but if he's not there for an audible that's added, he can't know.” Maybe it’s not the best idea to run a trick play against one of the league's best defenses when the most important guy involved doesn’t have a clue what the hell’s going on, huh.
Pagano stated in an interview on Monday that he does not regret this play call, but given the universal backlash he’s seen, I don’t think we’ll be seeing this one again anytime soon.