Obama’s flea flicker

By Tom Quiner

QB Earl Morrall wished he could get this pass back

QB Earl Morrall wished he could get this pass back

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Earl Morrall handed the ball off to halfback, Tom Matte, at the Jet’s 41 yard line.  Matte swept right.

What happened next was a disaster.

As background, I’m talking about Super Bowl III. I’ve always been a huge Baltimore Colts fan (now the Indianapolis Colts). The 1968 Colts were one of the best teams in the history of the NFL.  They won thirteen times with only a single loss.

They scored the second most points in the league.

They gave up the fewest points in the league. In other words, this was a balanced attack.

They coasted through the playoffs, winning a trip to the Super Bowl by trouncing the Cleveland Browns 34 to 0 in the NFC Championship game.

Their opponent in the Super Bowl would be the upstart New York Jets, whose quarterback, Joe Namath, famously “guaranteed” that the Jets would pull the biggest upset in the history of the NFL.

The first half hadn’t gone well for the Colts. They moved the ball well, but missed a couple of field goals. Even worse, quarterback Earl Morral had a pass picked off in the end zone.

Nonetheless, the Colts trailed just 7 to 0 with less than a minute left in the first half when Morrall handed the ball off to Matte.

Suddenly, Matte stopped. Instead of sweeping around right end, he turned and passed the ball back to Morrall. Colt’s fans were electrified. It was a flea flicker, a gimmicky play that the Colts had been wildly successful with during the regular season, because its misdirection can confuse the opposing team.

The play was shaping up beautifully. Colt’s wide receiver, Jimmy Orr, had reached the endzone.

He was wide open!

He waved his arms wildly for Morrall to see. Sadly, Morrall didn’t see, and instead threw the ball toward fullback Jerry Hill who had heavy coverage.

The result? The Jets intercepted and went on to win the game 16 to 7.


The president spoke last night.

I couldn’t help but compare his strategy to a flea flicker. It was was all about misdirection.

First, the quarterback (Obama) had the ball. He hands it off to his halfback (Congress) going around right end (of course, since right wingers are war mongers, liberal elites tell us).

Suddenly, the halfback flicks it back to the quarterback who doesn’t know what to do with it. He looks wildly downfield for someone to throw it to, maybe John Kerry, and in desperation, just unleashes what is known in football as a “Hail Mary” pass.

This pass relies on prayer to be successful. Not to judge the president’s prayer life, but all I can say is that Putin makes an interception.

The entire speech was an exercise in misdirection. The premise: to convince the American people on the need to convince Congress to let the president bomb Syria.

Except that the president has pretty much said that he doesn’t need Congressional approval.

Except that the president really has no intention of dropping bombs at this time, because Putin is now holding the ball.

No offense, Mr. President, but I think I’d have a little more confidence if the quarterback were Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck.


  1. oarubio on September 12, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Nice analogy! You have me thinking. Obama trying to out-smart our world antagonists has been as successful as Yepremian’s pass three years later— and as graceful.

    • quinersdiner on September 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

      I remember that play well. What a perfect analogy. I think they both describe Obama’s foreign policy effectiveness and tactics.