Shutdown Corner - NFL

If a punt returned for a touchdown is called back because of a penalty, did it really happen? When it's as awesome as Johnny Knox's(notes) nullified TD set up by a masterful subterfuge by Devin Hester(notes), such cliched philosophical analogies matter not:

Watch as Hester makes every Green Bay Packers special teamer, both announcers and the cameraman think he's getting ready to return a Tim Masthy punt on the left side of the field while, in fact, Johnny Knox was actually settling under it 30 yards away:

That's something out of "The Prestige"! It's so devious, yet so simple! I'm going to choose to forget that it was called back because of a penalty.

My only concern: Why waste such a great turn at trickery when down 10 points with under a minute to go in the game? Even if it hadn't been called back because of penalty, the touchdown only put the Bears within three. They still would have needed a successful onside kick to have a chance to tie. The deke could have been better served in a situation that wasn't as desperate.

Because the thing is, Hester and Knox won't be able to pull off this move again. It was a one-shot deal. Now that it's on tape, teams will protect against it. But wait. Maybe they did it specifically so future opponents will be conscious of the possibility, thus forcing them to play safer return coverages and freeing up the middle of the field for the explosive Hester.

Crazy like a fox, those Bears.

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