Taking a knee

One thing that I find faintly disturbing about American football is this business of "taking a knee" at the end of the game.

(for our British viewers, the concept is quite easy: If Team A is ahead, and has the ball with only a minute or so to play, they can opt to have the quarterback take the ball at the snap and kneel. This effectively counts as a running play, meaning the clock keeps ticking. You have 40 seconds to start the next play, so a couple of "kneels" can run the clock out. When the quarterback's knee hits the ground, the play stops, so Team B can't do a thing about it)

Don't get me wrong, I understand why they do it - wouldn't want to risk injuring the players, throwing an interception or fumbling the ball for no reason. It just seems like it's a slap in the face for the defense. I mean, the offence know they're taking a knee, the defense knows it, the refs know it, the commentators know it, the fans in the stadium know it and everybody watching at home knows it. Is it really necessary to actually do it? Why not just say "sod it, game's over" and avoid forcing the defense back on to the field to pantomime fake plays? It's like it's not enough that you lost, now we're going to rub your noses in it.

And why do the defense play along? Hell, why not just bunch everyone up and rush the line? You may not get a fumble but you might just feel better that you went down fighting.

It seems slightly deflating that even the closest, hardest fought game can come down to one guy kneeling down two or three times.

Talk about an anticlimax.

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