TCU quarterback Kenny Hill threw a pick six in the loss against Arkansas but his biggest mistake appears to be a giant misunderstanding.
Exciting times considering TCU had trailed throughout the game before this score. It warranted a little celebration.
Following the touchdown, Hill made a gesture in the endzone and was penalized for unsporstmanlike conduct. The obvious reaction was, “Nice going, dummy.”
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
A 15-yard penalty was assessed to TCU, and Arkansas began its final drive in regulation at its own 42-yard line. The Hogs needed about one minute to score a touchdown and tie the game with a two-point conversion at 28.
It could have been different had TCU been able to kick off from the normal distance, and perhaps even pin Arkansas inside its own 20.
There were dozens of plays that can be dissected from such an entertaining game; speaking of, how can any TCU fan defend the thousands of TCU fans who obviously sold their tickets to Arkansas fans, or the ones who simply did not return to their seats during the second half?
The tailgate scene at TCU is fantastic and it’s fun to drink and roam, but TCU/Arkansas offered every reason to be enticed to sit in a seat and watch a game in the stadium. If you are not going to fill the seat for that game, in mild weather, why even bother?
I digress; Hill’s decision to ostensibly show off during a celebration did cost his team. It hurt, and it’s not entirely his fault.
It turns out, however, Hill was expressing a religious gesture. A religious gesture that he simply failed to notify his head coach about.
“I had a little bit less feelings about it,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said on Monday during the Big 12 football coaches conference call. “To be honest, I don’t have any problems with it. ... The thing he and I will discuss is he needs to let me know so I can do a good job of backing him up.
“As always - the reality is somewhere in between.”
Gary defends his player to outside critics, even if he agrees with them, but this explanation sounds credible. He’s not just defending Hill for the sake of defending Hill.
The penalty was warranted, but the gesture was not some throat-slash, taunting gesture that the leaders of football have decided have no place in the game.
The safer route these days for any player who scores a touchdown is to follow the model set by former TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson - do nothing. It’s boring, it’s dull and it’s no fun but there is zero risk of a penalty.
“Act like you’ve been there,” Patterson said. “That’s been a TCU tradition for forever. It’s one of those things that it’s too bad it happened. We all need to learn from it and try not to do it again.”
Hill would have been better off to sit during the playing of the National Anthem than to visibly express a religious belief after a touchdown that could be construed as the sin that is taunting.
Follow Mac Engel on Facebook