One thing that is different for me this year is that I'm actually watching some NFL football. This is partly due to the fact that I'm stuck here with not much to do and partly due to our fantasy football league. I haven't done fantasy football for quite a few years, but we got a friendly league going here in the office. My team has been doing pretty well, at least up until this week. I was sitting at 6-3, tied for first in the league and looking to make a strong move into sole possession of first place with a victory over Chief Regan's team, who I absolutely dismantled earlier in the season. This was not to be, as he had Carlson Palmer (8000 yards and 20 TDs) and Frank Gore (842 yards rushing and 6 scores) have career days. So I needed Steve Smith to score 6 TDs on Monday night, and of course he didn't pull through. He really let me down with 150+ yards and only 1 TD.
Anyways, perhaps one of the greatest improvements to the NFL viewing experience since the last time I followed the league is the NFL Network. I believe there is some sort of litigation involving the NFL and Cablevision and Time Warner so you may not have it back in good old Nebraska just yet. The most enjoyable part is the NFL Replay, where they broadcast an entire game in 2 hours. They clip out all of the boring stuff between plays like the huddle, kickoffs that result in a touchback, and some 3 and out possessions. AFN broadcasts these replays throughout the week, so we get to catch a few more games than we normally would. Edited to add that they also show the interviewers with the players and coaches about certain plays while they are showing them. So you can hear what the coach was thinking when he called that bonehead play.
I do have a point here, so just hold on a minute and I'll get to it. So, there I was, spending a little quality time on the treadmill last night. Lo and behold, the St Louis vs Seattle game was on the TV directly in front of me. I knew that it ended up on a last minute field goal by Carrie Underwood stalker and Nebraska's own Josh Brown, but I was still excited to see how it went down. Classic game. St. Louis is up 16-14 midway through the 4th quarter. Seattle's Nate Burleson returns a punt 90 yards for the score on an unbelievable return, where he actually stopped dead in his tracks on the sideline, restarted, and nobody touched him. You don't see guys stopping in the NFL very much, usually all that is good for is getting your head separated from your body. This makes it 21-16 for The Seahawks. St. Louis battles back and marches down the field. With 2:30 left, Stephen Jackson scores on a ridiculous run where he breaks a few tackles and then pushes a couple of 'Hawks into the endzone. Huge, huge run to put the Rams up 22-21.
Now, here is where our story starts. After the touchdown run, there is a big pile in the endzone, and Mr. Jackson has his helmet ripped off. Guess who is there to protect him? None other than our favorite bad boy Richie Incognito! For those of you that don't follow Husker football as a religion, Richie was dismissed from the team back in 2004 due to continued "personal problems." He then transferred to Oregon or Oregon St. or some other Pac 10 team, not that it matters which one because he never played a down and left for the NFL. He is now the starting center after some other dude went out with a knee. So, Richie comes roaring in, drills a guy way late, and gets flagged 15 yards for a personal foul. Not a big deal, you say, they still scored. Well, we'll come back to that. So, St. Louis goes for 2 to open up a 3 point lead. And the conversion is good! Oops, wait a minute, there is a flag on the field. Holding, #68, on the offense, repeat the play. Nicely done Ritchie. The second try is then no good. The 15 yards is then marked off on the kickoff, which means St. Lous is kicking off from their own 20. Seattle takes it out past the 50, they only need about 20 yards to get into field goal range. You know the rest, Josh Brown is the first kicker (I think in history but I could be wrong on this) to beat the same team twice in the same season on a last second FG. I don't think it is too much of a stretch to say that Richie greatly contributed to the Seahawk's win. Nice work Richie on keeping that temper under control. You've matured greatly since your days in the corn.