2nd and 5.
Pass Interference on the Defense, Fifteen Yard Penalty, 1st Down.
Yep. You guessed it, Football.
What is Football but the ancient, brutal struggle of men over contested land.
Destroying each other’s bodies for a few feet and a piece of pigskin, which only the victor is allowed to eat.
I may not understand all the rules, but this first game of the season had all the makings of classic. I know that many will look at this hard fought game and declare it terrible. They’ll say the tackling was poor, the kicking game non-existent, etc.. But I am here to place this in context. Bring hope back into the dark sport we all love and crave.
(should you read this?)
In the game of Football, Quarterbacks make the offense go. That’s obvious, everyone knows that. Even I know this. So it makes sense that it starts there.
Today, veteran QB Felix Hernandez had a tall task. Squaring off with the intimidating Houston team, their large Linebackmen notorious for their brutality. Luckily they chose to line up one at a time.
That appeared to be a grave mistake.
He started the first drives with short completions. Nice, tight spirals to his favorite target, Omar Narvaez, who he threw at an unprecedented 100% of the time. This reliance on one receiver would prove to be his undoing as the game wore on.
This proved more important as he could not rely on his ground game.
As the momentum started shifting and Hernandez began to regret his throw every ball to Omar strategy, penalties and miscues started to pile up as hapless players bumbled around the field, unable to communicate.
Here we see a critical mistake—the seldom seen same-team pass interference.
The two players converge on the ball popped directly into the sky at unprecedented heights. Braden Bishop, captain of the defense, calls out directions to his underling, Tim Lopes.
The call goes unheeded and the two barrel towards one another at incredible speeds.
They both dive, colliding in mid air, their helmets nothing more than thin cotton wrapped round their delicate skulls.
The crack of their skulls and the cry from their lips echo through the stadium. Around the country, thousands of parents watching this horrific display call coaches, pulling their children from this most dangerous sport known as American Gridiron Football.
The team, realizing their Quarterback was little more than an Eighth, swapped him for the whitest man they could find.
When he was deemed unable to play, they went with the back-up. Could this be it? Could they staunch the bleeding, move to the Nickel defense and save their Quarterback from giving up Dimes?
A thirty minute drive by the opponent wore them down. They were not built to withstand such a physical game. Thirteen consecutive extra-points broke down the team’s spirit. Even the cheerleaders began to lose interest.
The will to tackle all but disappeared. Runs on first down went uncontested. Here we see a ridiculous display.
The running back stopping on his own, progressing though the defense at a leisurely jog.
Surely, though, there was enough pride left to keep them out of the end zone?
The defense stands aside as if the opposition had been diagnosed with a deadly illness and were granting him one last wish. Not one player had the guts to sacrifice their body to keep them from scoring. This, America, is what Football has become. Would anything be able to turn the game around?
The rival quarterback smelled the team’s weakness as one might smell Jake Marisnick’s hair from across a room.
The Astros QB, Garrit Cole, pounced upon that soft, vulnerable underbelly and ripped it to shreds.
He had no choice.
You see him here, on the sidelines. Garrit Cole in front of frame, and, beside him, Carrit Gole. His dark, greasy passenger.
You watch as Cole regrets the contract he signed that gave him unspeakable power and saddled him with Carrit. Yet he continues to play, for he knows it is only through the whispers and sorcery of Gole that his spirals reach such velocity. He signed his deal. He bound his fate. He must live as two.
Spin he did. The cursed one spun the ball to his primary target, the half-dead Martin Maldonado, all game—completing nearly one hundred first downs.
The Mariner defense waved at the passes as weak and timid as injured baby birds unable to feed themselves, squawking at an empty sky hoping for a regurgitated meal that would never come.
Look here at the Seattle defensive tackle. A huge man, a body built for physical contact. Watch as he stares meekly at this throw without so much as an attempt at the ball.
The lone bright spot was a play by the smallest player in all of Football named after something useful behind his house. Shed Long.
Due to Football’s rules being impossible for any one person to comprehend, the swat counted as a one-point conversion as it hurled into the opposing end zone and into the hands of the bloodthirsty crowd, clawing at the ball in their rage.
The Seattle fans in attendance were stunned, filled with a child’s hope.
Sensing the turning of the tide, the momentum shifting on the field, Seattle called a timeout and the coach went out to strategize.
They would catch the opposition off guard using a series of brilliantly designed throws to Keon Broxton—the best hands on the team. It was a page right out of the Direct to Theaters smash-hit Airbud. It was just crazy enough to work.
Inexplicably, the Airbud Plan failed spectacularly. Keon Broxton never caught another ball again.
The rest of the game played out in similar fashion. After the end of 8 Quarters, as the fifth Seattle Quarterback was pounded, the game had lost its winnability. The Astros were moving the ball at will while the Mariners appeared to be playing an entirely different game. It seriously, for a moment, looked as if they had shown up to the wrong field, with the wrong equipment, and, too embarrassed to say anything, decided to stand around in an empty field at random and do their best to figure out the rules as they went.
If there is any consolation to be found it is that this is merely the first game of the year. Sure, three scores is a lot to lose by and the offense had a poor showing, but it is not necessarily representative of the season. They can still claw their way out of this next week. They can still make the playoffs. The season isn’t over. It won’t, I don’t think, ever be over.
It refuses to end. This is a good thing. Don’t lose hope.
You know what they say, Football: Love It or Go Sack Yourself.
I, for one, choose love.