At this point in the fake punt debacle (we need a better name for this), we've basically come to the conclusion that Griff Whalen never should have snapped the football, and we can't find any explanation for why he did actually hike it to Colt Anderson. But we now know one important detail we didn't at the time: Whalen was never supposed to be the center in the first place.
Colts punter Pat McAfee appeared on the Bob and Tom Show this morning and gave insight into the trick play call, per Colts.com. McAfee acknowledge what we had assumed yesterday in that the design of the play was not to snap the ball. What the Colts hoped to do, according to McAfee, was confuse the Patriots. It was supposed to look like the special teams unit was hurrying off the field as if they were then hurrying the offense back on, which would have hopefully led the Patriots to rush their defense back on (therefore being able to catch them with too many men on the field) or would have forced them to call the timeout. That was the intent behind the play, and that is a bit more reasonable than it seemed on Sunday night, to be sure.
"The gunner who became the center all week was
Apparently, the original play design - the one that's in the play book - does indeed call for the ball to be snapped, but the Colts' intent on Sunday was to not snap it. The problem was that Griff Whalen wasn't a part of the discussion when that changed.
"Last week (in practice), Griff is at the other end catching my punts. We added something to try and draw them offsides if they don't do their substitution," McAfee said. "Griff never got the heads up this was happening, because it's not in the playbook. Stanford guy, reads the playbook, knows everything he has to do, but if he's not there for an audible that's added, he can't know."
"Griff has no idea we're trying to draw the guy offsides," McAfee added, "because in the play it says if we get under center, snap it. So
That's incredibly important piece of information that we didn't have before and makes it even more understandable why there was a miscommunication and why Chuck Pagano took the blame for the move. The guy who was supposed to play center on the play, Clayton Geathers, left with an injury, and Griff Whalen didn't know that the intent of the play wasn't to snap it. So I think it's now clear why Pagano took the responsibility for not communicating well enough, because that's exactly what happened - nobody communicated with Whalen what the intent of the play was. That leads to me questioning even more why Pagano called for the trick play, as one of the key guys in the whole thing was injured.
"Yesterday was like the time's when we were 2-14," McAfee said of the feeling in the building, "because we shot ourselves in the foot so hard." That's very true, and this new piece of information doesn't make it the right call, but it does shed a great deal of light on how this really was a miscommunication.