Earlier I likened the Petey-Weasel act of psycho-athletic intercourse to the end of a backgammon game, where the side with the statistical advantage offers a double, and the other player can either resign or play on even though he's likely to get pummeled.
But our friend Spencer Hall, on The Alphabetical, has -- as usual -- a much more apt (and wittier) take on the same concept:
"Don't blame Arthur for chopping the Black Knight's legs off. He was the one on the ground asking for you to keep swinging."
Take the arguments about "class" out of any discussions about Pete Carroll calling a deep pass for a TD with 52 seconds left in a 21-7 game against UCLA. Class is the last resort for those whose asses have just been set on fire and handed to them on the field of battle, a kind of ghost fans of a freshly slaughtered team can point to and say "he still thinks we're better."
Instead, let's crack this open as a game theory question. Two parties, A (Pete Carroll) and B (Rick Neuheisel) engage in a game. Towards the end, A has gained a clear advantage over B, and offers a surrender option. In this case, the surrender option is the kneeldown with 54 seconds left. B refuses to concede, and calls a timeout to prolong the game.
Admirable? Sure. B refuses to concede, insisting they will fight to the last possible moment and exhaust all possibilities. This means we're still playing, in other words, and thus ready to defend any and all possible attempts to make the game any more difficult to even up than it already is. Fine, says actor A, who immediately reacts by scoring and making the margin even more lopsided.
Neuheisel initiated hostilities, in other words, by calling the timeout in the first place. He essentially said all options remained on the table, and play on, cowboy. Pete Carroll more than happily accepted this offer, and illustrated that the fair, logical response to "no surrender" is to continue bombing. As tired as analogizing war to football is, it is necessary here: the "no surrender" situation in any game forces the aggressor's hand into continuing a game, and thus the calling of plays designed on whiteboards to go infinitely forward to the endzone.
Did it require a nuke, i.e. the bomb Barkley dropped to Williams? No: a cannon shot would have sufficed, most likely. Carroll chose overkill to make his point, and if you'd like to slag him for that, go ahead. Still: all options are on the field at that point at the request of an opponent who explicitly requested that you keep attempting to score.
Don't blame Arthur for chopping the Black Knight's legs off. He was the one on the ground asking for you to keep swinging.