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Say It Ain't So

The Hateful Rams have murdered the glorious Tom Brady double pass

April 22, 2021

The situation: Nov. 23, 2020. Rams-Bucs. Tom Brady facing 3rd & 10 at the Bucs 34, trailing 24-7 with 12:17 left in the 4th quarter. At that moment, something beautiful happened. Something transcendent. Feast your eyes:

The double pass! The glorious, holy, immortal double pass!

Now, look, OK. . . yes, this was a penalty, even at the time. It's an illegal pass; you can't throw the ball twice on the same play. BUT! Because it was third down, and accepting the penalty would have made it 3rd & 15 for the Bucs while declining made it 4th & 2, the Rams took their chances and the declined the penalty rather than giving Brady another crack. It worked—the Bucs punted.

The bigger point, though? The double pass stood! It counted!

The official play-by-play is hilarious:

(12:17 - 4th) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short middle to 12-T.Brady to TB 25 for -9 yards. T.Brady pass short middle to M.Evans to TB 42 for 8 yards (J.Johnson III) [M.Fox]. Penalty on TB-T.Brady, Illegal Forward Pass, declined. Statistically, no completion for first pass as a result of the declined penalty.

That's right: Brady completed a pass to himself for -9 yards, which was then scrubbed from the official record—a travesty—but briefly counted as two passes:

Everyone won! Brady completed his pass, the Rams got their punt (and eventually won the game), and the world got a brief glimpse of nirvana. Why change a thing?

Why indeed. Well, apparently the Rams were still mad heading into the offseason, because they proposed a rule that would kill the double pass for good. Here's the language:

"...to amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2, to add a loss of down for a second forward pass from behind the line and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line."

In the Brady example, this would mean they could accept the penalty and get a loss of downs, so instead of 3rd & 15, it would have been 4th & 15. With the change, there is no way a double pass could ever survive the NFL rules bureaucracy.

Does this make sense? Is it logical? Sure. If you're a logic jockey, you'll probably love it. But it also chokes the possibility of a double pass to death, and is just the latest example of magic disappearing from our world. Unfortunately, the owners—classic logic jockeys—approved the rule. From now on, you can find the double pass buried in an unmarked grave, six feet under the turf.

What problem is this solving, really? Seeing something cool once every 15 years? The sentence I keep repeating to myself, as I pace crazily around the house, is "how dare they? How dare they murder the double pass?"

Before this, I never really thought about the Rams. Now, they have an enemy for life. You will not have died in vain, double pass.