I am reminded of an all-time great Simpsons episode, "Homer at the Bat." The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team, led by Homer, dominates the regular season and makes the championship. Prior to the big game, Mr. Burns decides to stock his roster full of big league ringers to insure the massive wager he has placed on his team. His confidence is overwhelming, and he gloats about his certain win:
Mr. Burns: "Unless, of course, my nine all-stars fall victim to nine separate misfortunes and are unable to play tomorrow. But that will never happen. Three misfortunes, that's possible. Seven misfortunes, there's an outside chance. But nine misfortunes!??!? I'd like to see that!!"
Then Steve Sax is arrested and jailed since he is from New York City and there is an unsolved murder in New York City. Mike Sciosia develops acute radiation poisoning. Jose Canseco gets wrapped up in helping a woman empty her burning house. Wade Boggs gets the crap beaten out of him by Barney after an argument about who England's greatest Prime Minister was (Pitt the Elder vs. Lord Palmerston.) Ozzie Smith falls into Springfield's "Mystery Spot." Ken Griffey, Jr. overdoses on nerve tonic and his head swells to gargantuan proportions. Don Mattingly is dismissed by Burns due to a disagreement over Mattingly's hairdo. Roger Clemens thinks he's a chicken after a hypnosis-gone-bad.
I think you know where I am headed with this one.
I remember last season sitting in my seat at FedEx watching Pete Kendall pick up a fumble and try to run with it, leading to his own fumble and subsequent touchdown by the Rams. As the Rams defender crossed the goal line with no time remaining in the 1st half, I immediately knew that was the kind of play that beats you. We lost 19-17 to a bad Rams team, and you would be hard-pressed to not point your finger to that fluky play.
I even think back to a game in the 2000 Washington Redskins season where we hosted the Tennessee Titans on a Monday Night and Samari Rolle took back an INT at the end of the first half for a touchdown with no time left on the clock. We lost that game 27-21. I can still see Samari Rolle barely having the energy to get all the way to the end zone.
The Kareem Moore interception-strip-touchdown play was as magnificent as it was devastating. Those kinds of plays are so rare, fans of some teams could go a lifetime without enduring the pain of watching it happen to their boys...at their home stadium...3 times in less than a decade.
The series of misfortunes that transpired to effect the result of yesterday's game rivaled the events that knocked out Mr. Burns' team of destiny. The deadly challenge reviews, the shanked Saints punt that hit Kevin Barnes in the back ("The ball just wanted to hit me. It found me," Barnes said after the game), the unbelievably poor-timed, late interception thrown by Jason Campbell, the missed chip shot by Shaun Suisham...SERENITY NOW!!
|Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs
As always, I include the stat recap, but the story of this game is simply not in the numbers. Instead, the mysticism surrounding this team over the last decade grows. The ongoing series of unexplainable, improbable occurrences that are individually inexplicable are starting to combine forces to form a strangely coherent image. And I am not talking about a "seeing Jesus in your grilled cheese sandwich" kind of image. Ours is a portrait of gloom, despair, and anguish. That which is inconceivable in almost every other stadium is commonplace in ours.
I think our first free agent signing this offseason should be a priest.