What Would Buddy Do?
Knowledge of overtime rules: F; PR/ Spin strategy: D+
Posted on November 20th, 2008 at 11:46 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

For the most part, we tend to be Super Duper Donovan McNabb Fans here at BountyBowl, and believe that history will actually remember Big 5 a lot more kindly than current circumstances (or Warren Sapp) suggest. But man, did Dunavin ever blow this not-knowing-the-rules thing.

He flubbed his way through his presser yesterday, offering a ton of excuses about how no one else knew the rule either, and that they change the rules all the time, and how some of the officials don’t know all the rules, etc etc.:

On how he feels now that there has been so much discussion about his lack of knowledge of the overtime rule: “It doesn’t make me feel bad at all. I was truly being honest. The thing about it is that now other people are starting to say that they didn’t know it either. Am I wrong for that? No. Should I have known that rule? There are a lot of rules that coaches, officials, players, they don’t know. Any time an official goes out on the field and then you see (NFL vice president of officiating) Mike Pereira trying to correct that mistake, that shows that officials don’t even know everything in the rule book. (Neither do) coaches (or) players. What people may say about me, it doesn’t bother me. As you can see, every time something happens that I have been a part of, more and more things have come out and people begin to sit back and say, ‘Oh, maybe he was right.’ Should I have know that rule? Yes. But, there are a lot of rules in that rulebook that a lot of us don’t know, and we ask questions.”

On the fact that ties have been around since 1970: “The rule has been adjusted. I know that there is a tie. I was expecting to at least go to another overtime, maybe with less minutes. The last time it happened was Pittsburgh, I believe, in 2002. From what I understand (Steelers WR) Hines Ward was a part of that and didn’t even know it was still in there. So, I guess I’m not the only one.”

It was pretty awkward, and not very accountable. Mentioning Hines Ward? Huh? John Smallwood beat him up for it in the paper this morning, and Smallwood was right to do so. That’s because the correct answer was “I made a mistake, I should have known the rules. My bad.” Repeat after me: “I made a mistake, I should have known the rules. My bad.” And again: “I made a mistake, I should have known the rules. My bad.”

McNabb then followed it up with a post on Yardbarker that essentially offered the same story, and not the simple answer that would have ended this nonsense:

Everybody wants to know about the overtime situation. Whatever happened had no bearing on the outcome of the game. That’s all that matters. We all know the rules now. There is no need to waste any more time on the subject.

No “I made a mistake.” No “I should have known that.” He’s essentially asking us to forget about it and move on. And we’d love to. But bungling the PR makes it harder to move on.

My opinion in re: what he should have done: go with the blog first, ahead of the presser. On his blog, he gets to control every word of the message. People could have taken a look at it (like his PR guy, Rich Burg, or a friend or family member) and he could have made sure his message was completely clear before he posted it. Then, when he walks into the Wednesday presser, he can acknowledge that he already addressed the issue on his blog, that he should have known the rule, and then play the “we need to talk about the Ravens” card. I thought that’s what the blog was for — for direct communication with the public in media kerfuffles like this one.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. And not very accountable. This was not a proud moment for the Donovan McNabb marketing team.

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