This week I’m featuring possibly the most derided sets of players in the whole game – unfairly so, as this moment shows…
The Pittsburgh Steelers were hosting the Baltimore Ravens. It’s one of the hottest rivalries in the game – they don’t like each other at all, and both teams pride themmselves on playing tough football, so the games are normally pretty juicy.
This game was no exception, with the referee having to go to both coaches and tell them to calm their teams down, or someone was going to get sent off.
However, that’s not the moment of the week, even though it was great officiating. No, this week’s moment comes from the special teams…
The extra point after a touchdown is routine in football. It’s no distance for the kicker, and it’s assumed the point will be scored – so mich so that the rest of the team on the sideline will still be celebrating the touchdown that’s just been scored.
It doesn’t always go 100% though, otherwise they’d just award the point without the kick, and it’s when it does go wrong that things get interesting.
For this kick, punter Brad Wing was the holder, but the ball came to him low, so that instead of holding it upright for kicker Shaun Suisham, to boot, he was holding it sideways.
Both Wing and Suisham managed to realise this and react. Suisham managed to stop his leg hitting the ball in full swing, which is no mean feat. Wing grabbed the ball and stood up, and since someone had shouted the prearranged code word for the incident, tight end player Matt Spaeth had run to the side of the endzone.
That meant that Wing could throw the ball, and Spaeth caught it, scoring a 2 point conversion instead of the single point that the original extra point would have scored.
As it happened, the Steelers won the match easily, but in many NFL games the score comes down to the odd point or two, and the much maligned kickers become the heroes.
I love the slow motion of Suisham managing to stop his leg on the downward swing. Remember that it’s a routine kick, so to be able to spot the problem and react really is impressive.
Then the rest of the special teams unit also had to react, and they did so based on practice. So much practice that when the unusual happened, they were able to deal with it.
Well worthy of my moment of the week – let me know what you think!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
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