Archive for December 17, 2007
Yesterday, a professional athletic team did something that they had not done in 32 years, 497 games, and in 1,865 attempts.
What could this feat have been? Was it scoring 150 points in a basketball game? Scoring 10 goals in a hockey game? A perfect game in baseball? A long shutout streak in hockey or soccer?
What was this rare occurrence?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Contemplate this in the realm of the execution of a play in any sport: an extra-man opportunity in lacrosse, field hockey’s penalty corner, or a 20-yard free kick in soccer.
Only in this case, the organized chaos of the football kickoff actually requires a degree of execution: a blocking wedge for the runner, defenders attempting to go around or even through that wedge, a kicker having to maximize the depth of his kick as well as the hangtime necessary to minimize the return.
Also, you have to think about the inability of a team to execute a kickoff return in a team culture context. The Buccaneers, in their two decades or so of existence, were, in a word, hapless. They failed to win a game their first year in the NFL and one time endured a string of 14 straight losing seasons.
What is amazing is that, even through the team won a Super Bowl in 2003, the Buccaneers never were able to return a kickoff for a touchdown.
That is, until yesterday.