Matthew Stafford’s Final Kneel Down Creates Prop Controversy
You thought we’d make it through Super Bowl LVI without a player prop controversy?
Plenty was still at stake with 39 seconds left when the Rams got the ball back with a 23-20 lead in the fourth quarter. Mainly, Matthew Stafford’s rushing yards.
Stafford’s prop was set at 5.5 at most sportsbooks. He was at 7 rushing yards following a single run early in the game, so it came down to quarterback kneels to determine the final outcome.
With Cincinnati holding one timeout, it was assumed Stafford would take two kneels, which would almost surely cash the under on 5.5 yards.
This was the first down play — and the only play. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor saved his timeout for a rainy day.
The line of scrimmage is the 49-yard line. When Stafford kneels, he appears to be at the 47-yard line or slightly in front. But before anyone could spot the ball, Stafford walked off with the ball in his hands as the clock ran out.
Yardage is typically subjective by the line judge. In the video above, the line judge on the far side of the field appears to be behind the 48-yard line. The referees never meet to make the official decision.
It’s a similar situation to Patrick Mahomes two years ago. In Super Bowl 54, Mahomes entered the final drive of the game with 44 rushing yards. But when he took losses of 3, 5 and 7 yards on his kneels, he finished with 29 yards. His rushing prop was 29.5.
Insignificant? To the game, yes. But with sports betting legalized throughout the country and leagues making deals with sportsbooks, prop bets have been under scrutiny for accuracy and grading.
This has been relatively frequent in the NBA, but as more and more eyes are on the NFL with millions of dollars at stake, even something like the spot of a ball can make a big difference.