Sparano Admits Mistake

Tony Sparano had a hard time right after Sunday's game explaining the strange decision to call a timeout at the end of the first half, but he wasted no time in addressing the play when he held his day-after press conference.

Before taking questions, Sparano told reporters there were two things he wanted to say, the first being a confirmation of reports that cornerback Will Allen had sustained a torn ACL and would be out for the season.

Then Sparano said he wanted to address the timeout: "I want my players to do this; I need to do it myself. I have to take ownership of the situation that happened at the end of the half yesterday. I always have the power of trump and I did not do that. I should have lived with what was out of the field in that situation. That was a poor decision on my part."

For those not familiar with the situation -- although it would be hard to think of a Dolphins fan who wouldn't be -- the Saints had their field goal unit on the field after the officials ruled after a review that the ball would be spotted on the half-yard line and the clock would start on the whistle.

With 5 seconds left, it's inconceivable to think the Saints could have rushed their offense onto the field to go for a touchdown after that ruling, but the Dolphins' timeout gave them the opportunity to do just that.

Drew Brees then dove over the top of the line of scrimmage, stuck the ball out across the plane of the goal line, and instead of the Dolphins leading 24-6 at halftime, it was now 24-10.

When asked whether he did a lot of second-guessing on Sunday night, Sparano said he was upset at the "halftime deal," but also pointed out: "There are a lot of things being made out of how the team came out at halftime, but we threw an interception that lands in the other guy's hands on a tipped ball that the guy runs it back for a touchdown. But the defense gets an interception and forces a fumble on the 16-yard line and we don't score a touchdown. Then finally we score a touchdown on the (Brian) Hartline big play, Ricky Williams run. So at the end of that, fourth quarter, it is a 10-point game for us and we just don't make the plays in the fourth quarter. So that kept me up ... bothered me a little bit."

It's interesting to note that Sparano used the term "power of trump," which would lead us to believe it was somebody else's idea to use a timeout.

Sparano's explanation after the game Sunday was that he feared the Saints would sprint their offense onto the field to go for a touchdown after the replay ruling and wanted to have the right personnel in the game.

Bottom line: The timeout was a bad call, there's no way around it, but give Sparano some credit for taking responsibility. Not every coach would have done that.


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