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Football is a game of inches. No one knows that better than Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson.
In the closing minutes of the Eagles’ Sunday night win against the San Francisco 49ers, Jackson tried to give the Eagles an advantage of several inches when the Niners were a few yards from the end zone. After the referee set the ball, Jackson nudged it back with his foot like it was the most casual and normal thing for him to do.
Jackson is 30 and is in his ninth NFL season. He knows when the referees are looking and when they’re not. He knew exactly when to nudge the ball with his foot to push the Niners back maybe 4 inches from their proper spot on the field.
He did seem to forget one thing: Just because the referees don’t see it doesn’t mean that no one does. The camera showed him nudging the ball, making no attempt to disguise it. Jackson could have faked a sneeze, with his foot coming down on the ball and moving forward due to the momentum of the sneeze. He could have pretended to fall down or lose his balance. He could have ... uh ... well maybe there are only a few ways Jackson could have tried to hide something so incredibly obvious.
In the end, Jackson’s heroic cheating attempt didn’t matter. The Niners scored a touchdown on the next play. The Eagles still had a five-point advantage, and would go on to win the game. Jackson should still get a game ball for his dedication and creativity.
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