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Importance of special teams play

Joe Theismann talks about referee blunders, special teams and more over a Cup o' Joe.

Updated: October 25, 2005, 1:21 PM ET
By Joe Theismann | ESPN Insider
Well, it was another weekend packed full of great NFL games. This was the week of the fantastic finish, as the Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles all won close games in the final minute.

All five of those games were won because of strong special teams play, a facet of the game still underappreciated in the NFL. When I was in the league, players, especially starters, didn't pay as much attention in the special teams meetings because they didn't see the importance of it. That attitude hasn't changed since I left the league; players just don't understand that special teams play is important on so many different levels.

It's important in terms of establishing field position and also building momentum. There are few bigger momentum-changing plays than a kick returned for a touchdown or a blocked kick. The crowd gets ratcheted up or taken completely out of the game, and the successful team is on cloud nine.

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