October 18, 2011
Researchers have discovered that there was a football game played before The Great Backslapping Handshake Incident of 2011. In that game, there was a rather odd bit of officiating.
Late in the game, on a Detroit fourth down, Ted Ginn authored an excellent punt return for the 49ers. He was finally forced out of bounds by the Lions punter right at Detroit's 40-yard line. When the 49ers offense took the field, however, the ball was spotted 5 yards ahead, at the Detroit 35.
There had been no penalty and no explanation. Just an apparent visit from the yardage fairy, who felt like smiling on the 49ers on this particular day.
I doubt the Lions are going to make too much of a fuss here. They lost, it's over, and nothing's going to change that. Sure, you could come up with a hundred incidents in NFL history where 5 yards would've made the difference in a game. You could also find thousands and thousands of incidents where 5 yards would've changed nothing.
It's not worth spending that much time on. It's just a weird little footnote and a bizarre mistake by a group of officials.
Gracias, Matt Maiocca of CSNBayArea.com, and Twitterer @LRushing0718.
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