January 28, 2005


Claim: Football team wins match by scoring against itself. (Snopes.com, 23 June 2000)

Status: True. [...]

Origins: This anecdote is largely true as reported above, save for a few minor discrepancies.

The incident took place during a final group match between Barbados and Grenada for the Shell Caribbean Cup in Goal!February 1994. The Barbados team had to win the match by at least two goals in order to face Trinidad and Tobago in the finals; anything less and Grenada advanced to the next round instead. The rules in effect at the time specified that if the score were tied at the end of regulation play, the match would continue into sudden-death overtime (not a penalty kicks round, as stated above), and the first team to score during the overtime period would be considered a two-goal winner.

As detailed above, Barbados was leading 2-0 well into the second half of play, when Grenada finally managed to score a goal in the 83rd minute to make the score 2-1. Barbados realized with three minutes to play that they were unlikely to score again in the time remaining and deliberately kicked the ball into their own goal to tie the match at 2-2 and force an overtime period. Grenada then attempted to score on their own goal to prevent the match from going into overtime, but Barbados had already started defending Grenada's goal to prevent them from succeeding. The two teams then spent the remaining few minutes with Barbados defending both ends of the field as Grenada tried to put the ball into either goal, but time expired with the score still tied. Four minutes into overtime play, Barbados scored and advanced to the finals.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2005 11:00 AM

Great moments in metric football, #13.

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 28, 2005 11:06 AM

I always find it odd that the soccer-haters like to qualify the word football with some adjective. ("Metric" in this case.) The goal, of course, is to pejoratively distinguish it from plain old "football," the game that will be played at the Super Bowl next month.

Which always makes me wonder: Do none of you "football" fans feel kind of silly because your sport's name is an utter non sequitur? I know you grew up with the word, so you hear it and instinctively think of helmets and 10-yard lines and touchdown passes. But do you ever stop to think just how dumb the name actually is, and wonder why its creators were too boneheaded to change it?

Posted by: Semolina at January 28, 2005 11:32 AM

Sorry, Semolina, OJ's not even a real football fan. He's a baseball supremacist.

Posted by: Brandon at January 28, 2005 11:42 AM


"Do none of you "football" fans feel kind of silly because your sport's name is an utter non sequitur?"

Not really, because it isn't. Two members (minimum) of every football team are specialists who do nothing but kick. A significant portion of scoring is done by kicking; just ask any Buffalo or Florida State fan. And the sport shares its origins with both soccer and rugby (not to mention Australian rules), in games that were rightly termed "football." (See http://wiwi.essortment.com/americanfootbal_rwff.htm, for starters).

Regardless, it sure ain't handball.

Posted by: M. Bulger at January 28, 2005 12:38 PM

You left out Canadian rules football. But then nobody respects the CFL, and with its two 50 yard lines, it's with good reason.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 28, 2005 1:02 PM

I'm well aware of American football's origins. That's why it's never made sense to me that the game's draftsmen didn't bother to change the name after they largely extracted the "foot" part from the sport itself. Kinda lends credence to that whole lug-headed/big-oaf stereotype that football has never been able to shake.

And I've gotta say that defending the name simply because the ball occasionally gets kicked is a pretty weak response. That's like saying "feint-ball" would be an apt name for basketball because players sometimes fake a pass or a shot.

Posted by: Semolina at January 28, 2005 1:07 PM

"That's like saying "feint-ball" would be an apt name for basketball because players sometimes fake a pass or a shot."

You can't score, or win a game, with a feint. Nor with a dribble, a pass, a steal. You must eventually shoot - into a basket.

Football, on the other hand, comes down to kicking rather often. Ref: Scott Norwood. Doug Brien. Any number of others.

Personally, I prefer baseball. Or would you rather call it "batball?" I mean, all they ever do with the bases is step on them (with the possible exception of Lou Piniella).

Posted by: M. Bulger at January 28, 2005 1:17 PM

soccer vs. football--it's like Hitler vs. Stalin.

Posted by: oj at January 28, 2005 1:21 PM

If we are going with just the signficant attributes of the game then soccer equals bore-ball.

Posted by: h-man at January 28, 2005 1:23 PM

Clearly an error in the soccer rules. After the Barbados own-goal to tie the game, Barbados got the ball in the kick-off because the previous goal was a goal for Grenada. Really, after an own-goal the other team should get the ball for the kick-off. Then Grenada would have had no trouble scoring an own-goal to take the lead again.

On the other hand, bringing similar rules into American football could really make games interesting, even with a disparity in talent. Suppose the NFL adopts the following rule change: You win the game if you lead the opponent by less than 20 points, or trail by more than 20. Then, if you're down by 17 late, you can take a safety, and then try an onside kick to get the ball back for another safety.

Posted by: pj at January 28, 2005 1:49 PM

Baseball is the greatest sport known to man of course.

But soccer is tne 2nd I have to say.

The NFL, with the 3 minute tv timeouts after every play is unwatchable. (And frankly the time it takes ot play an MLB game these days is also a problem)

I know Europeans love soccer but that alone isn't a reason to condemn.

Nor is the low scoring. True baseball fans love a pitcher's duel.

Watch an English Premiership or FA Cup on FoxSportsWorld some weekend. You can't help but get sucked in. I was, and I dismissed soccer for many years. The atmosphere is electric.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 28, 2005 7:58 PM

Soccer is suitable only for airing out small children.

The sole reason for its popularity in the rest of the world is that their degraded minds cannot grasp the subtle geometric intricasies of baseball.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 28, 2005 11:48 PM

Austrailian Rules Football rocks!

Posted by: Dave W. at January 29, 2005 1:43 AM