We Americans hate when people benefit by breaking the rules. That distaste even applies when someone breaks the rules to catch someone else breaking the rules. Such activity can get important pieces of evidence thrown out in a court of law. And that is why the end of yesterday's Cincinnati Bengals-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game should leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth.
In case you didn't see it, Tampa trailed by one in the waning seconds of the game when they completed a pass to get into field goal range. As the Bucs were lining up to spike the ball and to stop the clock so they could run their kicking unit onto the field, Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis threw the red challenge flag--stopping play. Lewis wanted the refs to go to replay, as he thought Tampa had 12-men on the field during the previous play.
The only problem is that the replay rule specifically states that a coach cannot throw the red challenge flag during the last two minutes of the game--as all reviews must come from the Replay Official in the booth during that time. But by illegally throwing the flag--and requiring the referee to explain that Cincinnati was not allowed to challenge the previous play--Lewis caused a delay in the action that allowed the Replay Official to buzz the on-field officials to request a review. And as it turned out, the Buccaneers did in fact have 12-players on the field for the key completion. So the big play gets wiped out by the ill-gotten replay challenge and, of course, Tampa never gets back into field goal range--so Cincy wins because their head coach blatantly broke the rules.
Until last year, the "illegal throwing of the challenge flag" penalty was loss of review of the play. But because former Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz was an idiot and threw the flag even though officials were stopping the game to review the play, it was changed this off-season to either penalize a team a time out--or 15-yards for unsportsmanlike conduct if they did not have a timeout. And who sits on the Competition Committee--which came up with that new penalty? None other than Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis--who benefited directly from that change in a game that keeps his team's playoff hopes alive!! What a coincidence! In fact, the CBS broadcast crew lauded Lewis for his "quick thinking" and knowledge that breaking the challenge flag rule would not hurt his team--given the game-situation.
Now, because he had a timeout, Lewis--or any Bengals player on the field--could have gone the "legal" route to stop the game. And if he had, today's My Two Cents would be about public libraries going way beyond what they were designed to be only to justify their continued existence. But instead, he chose to intentionally break the rules for his own benefit--even through Tampa broke the rules first. And as we all know, two wrongs don't make it right.