Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Watching football with my grandmother

I got to spend the afternoon and evening yesterday with my 75-year-old grandmother, who has lived in Canada for about 20 years but is not too familiar with football. At first she confused the pregame showmanship for professional wrestling, asking if it was real. Then she criticized the game for its barbarism. "They hit each other in the head, intentionally. It's so uncivilized." She also found some of the dives a little gratuitous. "Why do they just fall down on purpose?" She was relieved that they do wear shoulder pads and helmets, but given the present concern about the long-term impact of concussions in football, her analysis is not that funny.

The game between the Saints and Falcons was very well-played, with shifts in momentum and lots of offense. The best part was the final 90 seconds of the game, even though the outcome was a certainty. The Falcons had no timeouts and were down by 11 points. On a third-down play, Coy Wire simply took the ball away from running back Pierre Thomas, who carelessly dove into a fracas. The Falcons quickly drove down the field and scored a field goal with about 40 seconds left.

On the ensuing onside kick, the ball went off a Saints player and right to Wire once again. The Falcons got a long completion to bring the ball to midfield before a last-second pass was intercepted. Going from a few kneel-downs to actually having a chance to erase an 11-point lead with less than two minutes left to go is fantastic football. For trying to prevent viewers from being treated to a series of kneel-downs 42 seconds apart, I hope the Falcons are justly and richly rewarded.

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