Does Football, Like Baseball, Have Unwritten Rules? Patriots Chime In


Oct 9, 2018

FOXBORO, Mass. — Apparently, while trying to win a postseason baseball game Monday night, the Boston Red Sox might have broken a few “unwritten rules.”

TBS color analyst Ron Darling took umbrage with Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi stealing a base in the fifth inning and swinging at a 3-0 pitch in the seventh while Boston led the New York Yankees 10-1.

So, that raises the question: are there unwritten rules in football? We asked some of the Patriots’ veterans and players reps that very question Tuesday.

Wide receiver Matthew Slater: “None that come to mind off the top of my head. I guess you don’t go for an onside kick when you’re up 28 points or something like that, but other than that, I think our culture is a little bit different than theirs.”

Safety Duron Harmon: “(The Red Sox are) playing to win. They’re playing to win, that’s it. You never know, man. Comebacks always happen. If you don’t ever want to give your opponent any life, man, because the moment you give them life, that’s when comebacks happen. For them, they were just playing the game the right way. I wouldn’t say there’s any unwritten rules. Just going out there to try to win at all costs.”

Cornerback Jason McCourty: “I always believed that if you don’t want them to do it, then don’t let them do it. ‘You don’t steal a base up 10-1,’ if you don’t want them to do it, don’t let them steal that base. People talk about unwritten rules that if you’re up a lot of points then you should take a knee and all of that, but at the end of the day, if they choose to go for it or they choose to do whatever, you gotta make sure (to stop them). I think the only really unwritten rule is when you’re down a lot of points and you make a play, chill out on the celebrations. I think that’s something that’s not talked about, but if you’re down 40 to zip and you get a pick six, that’s probably not the time to pull out your touchdown dance. That’s probably one that I would say I truly believe in.”

Offensive lineman Ted Karras: “I’m sure there’s been several over the years. Probably more in practice than in a game. You just learn part of coming into the NFL for me was learning how to practice the way we do. Try to stay off the ground. Unwritten rules, I mean, it’s a pretty savage game. You don’t ever want to — I don’t think anyone ever goes out with the intention to hurt someone.”

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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