Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The most exciting play in sports



The most exciting play in sports, in my opinion, is the do-or-die touchdown. If you score a touchdown, you win and if you don't, you lose. Field goals don't count because they're contrived situations, much like penalties in soccer or hockey. Tie games don't count because the stakes are far lower. I suppose a two-point conversion when down by one is similar, but that has been seen about a half dozen times in fifteen years.

Sunday had two games like that, the one above and this one. What makes the NFL worth watching is that bad teams have made a resurgence. There have been some upsets of late, even if Thursday had three games on national television with scores of 34-12, 24-7 and 26-6. Vince Young's Titans were a 4-6 team beating a 7-3 team, and Redman's Falcons had to eke out a victory over a 1-9 team.

That doesn't even count the 20-17 overtime game between the Steelers and Ravens, where disaster was narrowly averted. The Ravens were driving for a field goal late in the fourth quarter when Joe Flacco sacked with about 20 seconds to go. Flacco fumbled and the ball was recovered. It was fourth down and the Ravens were out of timeouts. In the insanity, they somehow managed to get the kicker on the field and attempt a 56-yard field goal, which came up just short.

That was good, Al Michaels pointed out in a rare case of my being impressed by a football commentator, because Flacco's fumble went forward and that's where the ball was spotted. The kick in reality should've been a 60-yard attempt, and if the field goal had been good, the NFL would have been embarrassed.

All this doesn't even mention the surreal horror felt by the Saskatchewan Roughriders for losing the Grey Cup thanks to one of the epic blunders in sports history. The Alouettes' field goal was a do-or-die play since they were down 27-25. You can relive the agony below if you'd like. I think this was the CFL's way of punishing me for ignoring it the last five years. I was going to watch the game and then fell asleep, woke up to see that it was 17-3 at halftime and tuned in just in time to see the victorious Alouettes being interviewed.

The Roughriders have refused to talk about the mistake they made, so it's unclear really whose fault it is, though special teams coach Kavis Reed certainly feels responsible even if he isn't. His failure was Scott Norwood, Bill Buckner and Chris Webber all rolled into one. If you've ever failed at anything in your life, you shouldn't be making fun of Reed.

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