Why teams don’t quit.
This past weekend showed dramatically, in my opinion, why NFL teams don’t wave the white flag and say ” I guess it wasn’t our day”.
Maybe that’s why they earned their way into the best weekend of the season. The final four battles in each conference. Just like the Saturday of the NCAA basketball tournament’s Final Four.
Let’s start with the game that had the most thrilling finish of any game I can remember.
Two incredible plays to end regulation. And two more in overtime.
I know, we just witnessed, a few weeks ago, Aaron Rodgers arm lofting a never-say-die Hail Mary to beat the Lions. But that stuff doesn’t happen again. Especially so soon. Or does it?
Well, he did it again. And Jeff Janis, in a jump-ball against two Cardinal defenders timed it perfectly to allow the Packers to rally as time expired.
But how about the heave that got Green Bay into position. A 60-yard completion to Janis on 4th-and-20 from the FOUR YARD LINE!!
Even with those two miraculous plays the Packers lost.
With a chance for everyone to catch their collective breaths, even the coin-toss for the overtime was unprecedented. It was funny. The coin didn’t flip. They had a do-over.
Arizona won the toss.
And the end came suddenly in dramatic fashion.
The Cardinals went 75 yards when two veterans, quarterback Carson Palmer and receiver Larry Fitzgerald combined on a truly amazing play. Palmer collided with one of his offensive linemen in trying to escape a pass rush and got the ball out on the left to an open Fitzgerald. Larry didn’t the rest. Speeding past what seemed to be the entire Green Bay defense, zigging, zagging and charging, Fitzgerald finally was brought down on the 5. Two plays later, he snared a shovel pass from Palmer and scampered in for the winning score.
Two teams with the heart and will to win.
The Packers, who wouldn’t let the dire circumstances deny their fight and grit.
The Cardinals, who wouldn’t let the crushing finish of regulation take all the wind out of their sails. Somebody had to survive, and on this night, it was the Arizona Cardinals.
A mention of another display of determination to fight back occurred Sunday.
It won’t be talked about because the team in question fell way behind and only made it interesting at the end.
The Seattle Seahawks. Routed 31-0 at halftime by the Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks showed what they’re about in not settling for a blowout loss and instead outscoring the Panthers 21-0 in the second half and making Carolina do more than sweat.
In reality teams don’t quit in games. But teams do have the energy and drive sapped from them when the mountain looks too big to climb.
This past weekend, three teams, with the circumstances what they were, demonstrated the heart of champions.
Only one triumphed. The other two exhibited the reasons we will see them again on the same stage.