I personally did not blame Hank Baskett for muffing the one-side kick in the Super Bowl to start the second half. Even though that play is, arguably, one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, I didn't get upset with Baskett because the Colts defense was the reason the team lost, giving up 18 second half points and allowing Drew Brees to complete 86% of his passes.
Again, I did not blame Hank Baskett for the loss. That is, until I read this from ESPN's Paul Kuharsky, taken form Baskett's press conference after he signed with his old team, the Eagles, yesterday. This is Baskett discussing the onside kick:
"I took the step, I took the steps back and then I saw it coming. I went and it took a bad bounce and I don’t know how I had a second chance. I crawled under everybody and got back on it. It was a long time underneath there. Guys on our team attested that they heard it was ‘blue ball’ so when I started getting up, another guy poked it out and that’s how the guy got it. It was a long battle. I’ll tell you, it seemed like we were down there for a good half hour."
(BBS slams head into refrigerator)
Hank, baby, let me tell you why I'm so mad at you right now. They teach you from, like, age seven that it does not matter who says what while you are fighting for a ball under a pile. Your job is to hold onto that ball, and stay on that ball, until the refs peel everyone off you, see you with the ball, and then signal "Blue Ball." It doesn't matter if it take 30 minutes or 30 seconds. You stay down there, ball in hand, until you see a ref.
Now, was their bad officiating in the Super Bowl? Yes. But it was not the reason the Colts lost. Stupid mental error like Hank Baskett's are the reason, and bad defense.
I guess my frustration with Baskett is if he had, you know, done his friggin job and just held onto the stupid ball until the refs saw him with it, the Colts get the ball to start the second half at the Saints 45. They'd have scored a TD on that drive, and that would have been the ball game. The Colts offense had their way with the Saints defense much of the game (432 yards, 6.8 yards per play), but dropped passes in the red zone, bad routes, and mental mistakes like Baskett's on special teams doomed the Colts chances of winning a championship in 2009.
So, do I now blame Hank Baskett for the Colts losing Super Bowl 44? Yes, partially. Also, his answers to questions about his performance seemed lackadaisical and indifferent. That certainly does not paint him in a positive light.
"I thought everybody was going to come down on me for it. As everybody knows, anybody who follows football, one play does not change the game. It sucks that the first onside kick in history before the fourth quarter had to happen to me. It was a battle underneath the pile, but I actually haven’t been just beaten down about it. I knew I was probably going to catch some grief. Of course, it’s the biggest game of the year, but not what I was expecting or anybody else was expecting."
Um, sorry Hank, but one play can indeed change a game, and that play did. The Colts had control of the contest until that play. The Saints took possession after you screwed up and drove for a touchdown. The game, which had the Colts in the lead for the entire first half, became a back-and-forth affair after your botched coverage of that onside kick.
And again Hank, "catch some grief?" Um, yes, you will some grief. Significant grief. That play, currently, defines your entire career. Right now, Hank Baskett is known as the dude who f*cked up the onside kick recovery in Super Bowl 44. That Baskett seems rather "whatevs" about that makes me feel very good that he is no longer on this football team.