Geno Smith hasn't played a snap for the Seattle Seahawks all season. Backing up an MVP candidate in Russell Wilson doesn't allow for much time in the spotlight or at the very least on the field.
And yet, with the direction of Monday night's meeting with the San Francisco 49ers hanging in the balance, Seattle selected Smith to call the all-important overtime coin toss. It was the second time in as many weeks that Smith, a seventh-year quarterback on his fourth team, had been selected to do the honors. Could he get the call right again?
Standing across from Niners cornerback Richard Sherman with Seattle tied 24-24 with its division rival, Smith made his call. Referee Alex Kemp heard heads and flipped the coin. Heads. "It is a heads. You won the toss," Kemp said. Smith ran off to a Seattle sideline animatedly celebrating the backup's clutch call which gave the Seahawks the first crack at scoring in OT.
Enough said, right? Well, depending on what Smith actually said...
On the "Monday Night Football' broadcast on ESPN, some people thought Smith said "tails," leading to internet confusion over whether Kemp misunderstood Smith and Seattle was gifted an undeserved possession. However, it was not clear from the audio whether Smith said "heads" or "tails." It was up to the average viewer's interpretation, 2019's "Gold and White vs. Blue and Black dress" or "Yanny vs. Laurel" Great Conundrum.
NFL Network's Jim Trotter, who was in attendance Monday night and asked Smith after the game what he called, offered this on NFL NOW: "I said, 'Well, why did you call heads?' And he said, 'Because Russell Wilson called tails to start the game,' and he said the mathematical odds always favor you to go in the opposite direction. He told me do the math."
Whether that math checks out is another story; Geno has a sketchy history when it comes to counting. Smith's story is that he called "heads" because Wilson called "tails" before kickoff. But that doesn't explain why half of the human race heard "tails" on the broadcast.
Smith's coach was willing to debunk that conspiracy.
"Well it didn't sound like heads when you watch the TV copy," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll explained to reporters Tuesday. "But both the official and Richard (Sherman), they didn't ... Richard would have griped, I would think. Yeah, he would have (griped) for sure if he heard something different than what happened. I'm going with that more than anything."
That's a more plausible explanation from Carroll, who utilized context taken from his first-hand knowledge of Sherman and his tendencies.
The matter appeared settled after Tuesday's press conference, until Smith took to the Twitter-waves and unleashed a Pandora's box of silly speculation.
Hails. Neither heads nor tails. Hails. Why didn't we consider this explanation sooner?
Does this make Smith the greatest coin-toss caller of all time, or at least in franchise history? Carroll argued Tuesday that former backup Tarvaris Jackson had a knack for picking flips that shouldn't be discounted in light of recent events. But the coach couldn't deny that Smith might have found his calling, one all of us have now heard but none of us understand.
"It was great. He pulled it off again," Carroll said. "I don't know how he did it.
"The magic of Geno."