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The beautiful thing about football is that you can watch thousands of games in your lifetime and still be able to see something extremely rare — and unusual.
Wackier than a kicker recovering his own deep kickoff? This special-teams oddity from the Arizona Cardinals-Jacksonville Jaguars might qualify as just as bizarre, if not more.
Early in the game in Jacksonville, Cardinals rookie Rondale Moore was back to field a punt inside his own 20-yard line. The operation looked pretty standard until right before the ball hit Moore.
But first, something happened. The referee threw a flag that hit the punt mid-air. Have we ever seen anything like this before?
Rondale Moore muffed that 1st punt because the Ref nailed the football with the Penalty Flag on the way down. pic.twitter.com/u5D2bXYR2o
— Matt Abbott (@MattAbb0tt) September 26, 2021
While this doesn't quite carry the shock value of Randy Johnson hitting a bird with a pitch in a spring training game, it's about as fluky an occurrence. Was the ref watching the pass when he threw it? Playing against Moore in fantasy? We have no evidence of wrongdoing here, but it's hard not to ask these questions.
Luckily for the Cardinals, the play ended up not hurting them. Moore's teammate Antonio Hamilton ended up falling on the ball as the Cardinals kept possession. And you can't argue that Moore lost an opportunity to run one back because the Cards were guilty of an illegal block in the back on the play — hence the flag.
Moore was hot after the play; he clearly knew what had happened. But he was able to make up for it later with a 55-yard return on his next opportunity that put the Cardinals in business.
Later in the game, the Cardinals attempted a 68-yard field goal ... only to see it come up short and have the miss returned an NFL-record 109 yards for a touchdown. So it's safe to say this was not their cleanest day on special teams.
But Arizona went on to win anyway over the Jaguars, 31-19.
So file this punt muff one under "weird things you never see happen in a game." It's one of the reasons we tune in every week, even when the lowly Jaguars are one of the teams in action.
After all, you just never know what strange things might happen out there.