Monday, September 18, 2006

What the hell?

Sunday while watching the Panthers play the Vikings I was really starting to get my hopes up. Our jury-rigged offensive line was gaining confidence, our rookie running back was running beautifully, defensive end Julius Peppers was absolutely out of his mind and blowing up plays left and right, Keyshawn Johnson was playing his ass off and making incredible catches, and our quarterback was throwing spirals. Yeah, it was all coming together. Then came the fourth quarter and the punt return that will live in infamy. What would you do if your football team was ahead by a touchdown in the middle of the 4th quarter and your defense was dominating the opposing team and you were receiving a punt from that floundering team? If you answered, "run a trick play" then you can coach for the Panthers. My two friends and I sat in silent awe as one of the worst plays in Panther history collapsed before our eyes like a sinkhole in a retired landfill. The punt returner, Chris Gamble fielded a punt at the Panthers' forty yard line and threw a wobbly pass across the field that ended up in the hands of the Vikings. Of course the Vikings scored a touchdown a few plays later and tied the game up. The game goes to overtime and then we lose. Incredible.

I won't talk about how bad of a play call it was. There will be plenty of that all over the country. It may just have been one of the most interesting moments of sports viewing I have ever experienced. I don't recall ever being so confused by a play call in my life. I was literally stunned into silence. I had nothing to say. No joke, no swearing, just a quiet disbelief that really still has yet to leave me. Next week's game against an equally desperate 0-2 Buccaneers is going to be a heck of a game, I think. I guess that bad call has brought us one thing: a playoff intensity football game in week three.

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