Could the Lions and Packers give us something infamously historical on Sunday Night Football?
In the final game of the 2016 regular season, the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers will meet to decide the NFC North champion at Ford Field. If Washington wins earlier in the day on Sunday, that means the loser of the Lions-Packers game will be eliminated.
But what if both teams don’t have to lose? That’s right — there could be a tie! ‘Member those? There were two ties in back-to-back weeks earlier this season, which made everyone think there was an epidemic of them for a few days. Anyway, should the Packers and Lions tie, then both teams would make the playoffs. In that scenario, the Packers would be division champs, and the Lions would be the sixth seed in the NFC.
Given how much the Lions have been struggling the last few weeks, trading a potential home playoff game for an assured spot seems like it would actually be in their best interest, especially when the Packers have won five in a row. It’s not going to happen for… reasons, but that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine it happening anyway. So let’s do that.
[14:55 remaining, first quarter of NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast]
AL MICHAELS: Here we go from Ford Field. NFC North title is on the line. Stafford lines up under center in a tight formation and… he’s taking a knee?
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: He took a knee!
AL MICHAELS: What in the wide world of sports is going on! On that first play of scrimmage, Stafford takes a knee!
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: I have been around football for a long time and I never seen anything like this.
AL MICHAELS: Had to have been some sort of miscommunication. Had to be. Second down upcoming. Stafford going back under center. It’s the same formation! This can’t be! He took another knee!
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: This cannot be happening!
AL MICHAELS: A yuuuuuuuge story is playing out here. The Lions have come out on their opening drive and just took knees. Are they forfeiting? Is this some sort of political gesture? Who knows. Hopefully we’ll have answers soon.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: A third knee! And now it’s fourth down. Here comes the punting unit. This is absolutely bonkers.
[10:15 remaining, first quarter]
AL MICHAELS: If you’re just joining us here, the Lions and the Packers both spent their first possessions of the game taking knees before punting the ball away. It’s an incredible development and obviously we’re at a loss for answers. But now, Michele Tafoya has an update for us.
MICHELE TAFOYA: Hi, Al. I spoke with Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and he told me that just before the game the teams reached an agreement not to try to win as both teams qualify for the postseason with a tie. That means every snap on first, second, and third down, they’re gonna take knees and then punt it away on fourth. Kick returns cannot be advanced beyond the 30. It looks like we’re headed for a tie.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: Wooooooowwwwwwwwww…
AL MICHAELS: Of all the wacky things I’ve seen, this is up there.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: So what do we do for the next two and a half hours?
AL MICHAELS: Good question. I guess we fill air time, that’s what. Or hope that an official from the league office puts a stop to this. Surely, the NFL can’t be thrilled with collusion taking the drama out of a prime time game.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: Ha ha, I don’t know! If you ask me, this is exciting!
AL MICHAELS: Tell that to the vein in Roger Goodell’s forehead.
[2:00 remaining, second quarter]
AL MICHAELS: Yup, another knee. And that brings us to the two-minute warning. Still no score in Detroit, and unless someone welches on a deal, it’s going to stay that way. Coming up on the Toyota Halftime Show, we try to make heads or tails of this crazy situation. And Mike Florio calls for a Congressional investigation into what went on this evening.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: I am simply blown away by all of this.
AL MICHAELS: That makes two of us.
[8:20 remaining, fourth quarter]
AL MICHAELS: Carrie Fisher, that was a hell of a lady. I saw her at some wild L.A. parties back in the ‘70s. Saw stuff you wouldn’t believe if I told you. Stafford takes another knee and that brings up third down.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: Try me. It’s not like anyone is still watching.
AL MICHAELS: How about this — in the spirit of deals, I will if you agree to dish some more dirt on Bill Simmons.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: Heh heh heh, whoa boy. I don’t know, we might get ourselves in trouble here. I’ve said all I needed to on that matter.
AL MICHAELS: My nephew told me you “owned” him on Twitter. Then he had to explain what owning was. I’m still not sure I understand.
[5:36 remaining, overtime]
AL MICHAELS: Much to Dan Snyder’s chagrin, it looks like this tie is going to happen.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: I would not want to be in that team’s headquarters this evening.
AL MICHAELS: Well, I bet I know who is happy — anyone who bet the under on this game.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: Aha – you old sly dog.
AL MICHAELS: What can I say? I pay attention to these things.