I return to my rare coverage of sports with this cinematic review of an American football game.
A playoff game.
Yes, the stakes increase.
I must admit that I have been battling health issues for some time so I am sorry that I am not spinning webs of verbal wonder about Jean-Luc Godard.
But it is, as I have said before, quite worthwhile (in my opinion) to examine the medium of television and the content which comes to us in such a format.
So to clarify, this was a live sporting event which I just watched.
Sports are very difficult to consume in any way but the freshest, most simultaneous manner.
You want the action to be happening at the very time you’re watching.
And with exception for a 5-second delay (?), that is what you get.
When a game is advertised as “live”, you are fairly close to the action in terms of temporal simultaneity.
And so this was “live”.
And just as tense as any Hitchcock film!
The Dallas Cowboys had a wonderful season.
I make no bones about them being my favorite NFL team.
It is a family activity for me.
Indeed, I was blessed to have my family watch this game with me.
But, particularly, it is a chance to bond with my father.
He has always been more of a football fan than me.
And so I support the team to have a common interest with my dad.
But after awhile, one becomes invested in the outcome.
I watched nearly all of the Cowboys’ games this year.
As I said, they had a fantastic season.
The biggest Cinderella story (the most trite metaphor in sports writing) was that of Dak Prescott.
I must hand it to Fox announcer Joe Buck.
Just minutes before Prescott scored on a quarterback sneak to knot the game at 28, Buck recounted Prescott’s amazing story.
Prescott’s story is very much the story of his late-mother (who passed away from colon cancer).
But let’s talk about how we got to 28-all.
First of all, Dak Prescott was as good if not better than the quarterback across from him: Aaron Rodgers.
The numbers bear this out.
If Rodgers was better, it was by mere inches and seconds.
Prescott did not have a chance to win this game at the end.
Yes, Aaron Rodgers was fantastic.
And we will remember his performance in this game.
But it really was a case of two great quarterback performances.
Granted, they both threw an interception apiece.
And while Prescott bested Rodgers in touchdown passes (not to mention the QB sneak for two points), that hardly matters if your team loses.
This separates the NFL from the NBA.
In American basketball, teams get innumerable chances to redeem themselves.
Each round of the playoffs is a best-of-seven series.
But American football (at the highest professional level) is “win or go home”.
And so this was a very tense game.
Dallas looked atrocious from the start.
Aaron Rodgers looked unstoppable.
But Dallas overcame an 18-point deficit to tie the game.
And then tie it again.
It certainly was not a relaxing watch if one had any sort of emotional investment in it.
And I did.
When Dak Prescott scored that “two-point conversion”, it was a magical moment.
The Cowboys had done it.
They’d been down and out.
But they fought back.
Their no-name defense made stops.
Their offense rounded into form.
But there are no ties in the NFL playoffs.
There must be a winner.
We will play all night long, but one team will be counted superior on that particular date…and that’s the end of that story.
I’m happy for the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay is not a big town (from what I understand).
I imagine many people there LIVE for Packers games.
It reminds me of my (much warmer) hometown.
Here in San Antonio, all we have is the Spurs.
It’s a basketball town.
I’m a basketball guy.
But ever since I can remember, my dad has rooted for the Cowboys.
They’ve had some good years.
But (as they say), if you don’t win your final game, it’s a disappointment.
But let’s give some “propers”, as they say.
Kudos to Ty Montgomery.
He scored two rushing touchdowns for the Packers.
Here’s a guy (now I sound like John Madden) who wears number 88 at the running back position.
But the guy has a lot of heart.
He might have too-high a center of gravity, but he runs with courage.
And how ’bout Ezekiel Elliott?
What a season!
Led the NFL in rushing.
As a rookie!
And had a fine day here with 125 yards.
Thank you, Zeke, for a fantastic season!
The Cowboys look to have a bright future with such players 🙂
Of course, the catch of the game was by a guy named Jared Cook.
These NFL receivers…
The scrutiny under which their every move is put!
Jared Cook dragged his two feet in the field of play while catching a 35-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers.
It was an amazing play.
And if you’re a Cowboys fan (like me), a heartbreaker.
But I see positives here.
Dez Bryant caught his first postseason touchdown in this game.
And then doubled it.
[He ended with two TDs]
Jason Witten caught his first postseason touchdown in this game.
This just goes to show what a great quarterback Dak Prescott is.
All those years with Tony Romo…and no TDs for Bryant nor Witten.
So the Cowboys (despite 125 yards from Ezekiel Elliott) were not a “one-trick pony” in this game.
[Talk about literally “trotting out” a metaphor…]
But Dak came to a painful conclusion.
Winning in the NFL is hard.
And now the onus looks to be on Prescott.
Tony Romo had the shoulda coulda woulda put on him for so many years.
Congratulations, kid: it’s your job now.
Win, and everyone loves you.
Lose, and you’re a loser.
But not really.
Yes, Tony Romo will probably move on to greener pastures.
I wish Tony the best.
[Talk about a person with health issues!]
I hope the job of QB in Dallas remains Dak’s.
He’s earned it.
First playoff game?
A loss by three points while time expires.
And a gargantuan effort to erase an 18-point hole.
Sure, haters gonna hate 🙂
Yes, Dak threw a pick on a screen pass.
But that was one hell of a play by Micah Hyde (and a great “shirt tackle” by Dez Bryant to save it from being a “pick six”).
Yes, it was a rookie mistake.
But what about Aaron Rodgers being picked off by a diving Jeff Heath?!?
Heath had as good a game as Hyde.
But it all came down to the feet.
And ice water in the veins (as they say).
Mason Crosby gave the Packers a 31-28 lead.
Dan Bailey tied it at 31-all.
Then Crosby kicked the game-winning field goal.
[Dallas coach Jason Garrett tried to “ice” Crosby by calling a timeout]
On this afternoon, Green Bay was the better team.
Not by much.
But it was a clear result.
Rodgers was magnificent.
Jared Cook made the catch of his career (so far).
And Mason Crosby owned the kicker position.
I wish Dan Bailey had gotten one more chance.
I wish Dak Prescott had gotten one more chance.
But them’s the rules.
Whoever has more points when the clock runs out.
It’s always a bit of a sad thing for a sporting season to end.
Nothing more pathetic than looking at the next year’s mock draft 🙂
Yes, guilty as charged.
But this was an immensely positive season for the Dallas Cowboys.
No one had them going 13-3 in the regular season.
What great experience for Dak Prescott!
He’s battle-tested now.
And so we hope to live to see another year of Cowboys’ football.
Thank you to all the Dallas players who played their butts off tonight and every weekend.
We’re proud of you.
And congratulations to the city of Green Bay.
You have a great team of which to be truly proud.
Best wishes to your city and may the Packers fans enjoy this victory.
Kudos to Wisconsin for supporting pro football in the little city of Green Bay for so long!