Cowher Nearly Made Tackle

Posted: September 24, 1997

Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher admitted yesterday he considered tackling Jacksonville's Chris Hudson as he raced downfield to score on a game-ending blocked field goal Monday night.

Hudson scooped up the loose ball after the Jaguars' Clyde Simmons blocked Norm Johnson's potential game-winning field goal with six seconds to play in Jacksonville's 30-21 victory.

As Hudson ran by the Steelers' bench, an angry Cowher clenched his hands as if he were about to step onto the field, but held himself back.

``I could have [tackled] him,'' Cowher said. ``It crossed my mind. But thank God I didn't.''

In a related matter, ABC officials found themselves explaining why viewers never saw the Jaguars kick the extra point after Hudson's touchdown.

Because the clock ran out, some players shook hands and others trotted off the field after Hudson scored. Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin ran toward the dressing room, doffing his cap to fans. Announcer Al Michaels said, ``So much for what should be a game-ending extra-point attempt,'' and signed off the air. Everybody decided the game was over.

Referee Gerry Austin decided otherwise. NFL rules stipulate that teams must attempt the extra point in regulation time, but not in overtime. So Austin ordered the teams back for the kick that made the final score 30-21, a phantom extra point for fans who, by then, were watching their local news or heading off to sleep.

``We knew the rule, but when the coaches and players left the field, we realized it would take a long time to reassemble them,'' ABC spokesman Mark Mandel said. ``We had network obligations to get back to local affiliates. We were stuck in a situation late at night.''

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