Monday night's two games were everything that is great about football

Monday night's two games were everything that is great about football

Part of football’s charm is its unpredictability. “Any given Sunday,” is more than a cliche. It is a phrase that accurately describes the sport as long as you’re not literal about the day of the week. There are a large number of moving parts attempting to work in unison while being slammed into by other parts who have all become physically too big and fast for the game. As a result, quarterbacks cannot stay healthy. The Miami Dolphins are in the mix for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC. The Green Bay Packers trudged their way into the playoff picture after a rough start to the season. In simultaneous Monday Night Football matchups, they went up against teams whose seasons were deemed lost — the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants.

Upsets by both of these teams that entered their respective matchups with 4-8 records would have been an impressive feat without even knowing how the games transpired. They are both starting rookie quarterbacks. The Titans went to Miami having lost seven of their last 10 games. The Giants have lost three or more games in a row twice this season. They were hosting the Packers who had just defeated the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions in consecutive weeks.

At face value these are impressive wins for the Titans and Giants. However, these games also turned out to be compelling theater with only a small portion of the entertainment being a result of outstanding football.

I put Titans-Dolphins on the main screen because I most enjoy the Tommy DeVito ride, in small RedZone controlled doses. At least the Titans are feisty and likely to make their opponents work. Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead got hurt in the first quarter. Armstead did not return. Hill played in the second half, but was limited.

The Dolphins appeared to be in trouble late in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 13. By then, I had seen the shots of DeVito’s family in the crowd with his agent, who dresses like the mortician from Sanford and Son — I know it’s an outdated reference and I don’t care, you big dummy. When DeVito threw the touchdown pass to Isaiah Hodgins in the third quarter, I began to pay a bit more attention to that game.

Last week, against the Indianapolis Colts, one of the reasons the Titans lost was they had consecutive punts blocked. With just over six minutes remaining in the game on Monday night, their punt returner froze and could not decide if he wanted to catch the ball. The result was a turnover and the Dolphins scored a few plays later. When the Titans got the ball back, they lost another fumble after the first offensive snap of the drive. The Dolphins again scored after a few plays.

It is at that moment I decided to switch the game on the main screen. During the fourth quarter, the turf monster had grabbed Saquon Barkely and forced a fumble, which the Packers turned into a TD. I had to get the best view possible of DeVito’s potential game-winning drive.

I am a millennial and watch T.V. on a firestick. It takes a little bit of time to change streams on the ESPN App. By the time it had loaded, the Giants’ drive was already underway. I saw DeVito hit Wan’Dale Robinson with a pass on the sideline that was similar to one I had seen earlier, but the second time was not into double coverage. That completion put the G-Men in field goal position. They ran some time off of the clock and Randy Bullock kicked them to their third win in a row.

In a matter of minutes I had gone from howling laughing at the Titans to wholly enjoying the DeVito experience, including his dad trying to hush a crowd of 80,000 at MetLife stadium so his son could hear the play being called in his helmet. By the time that game ended, I hadn’t even yet pulled up the other MNF game on my computer.

I missed all of the Titans’ nine-play, 75-yard drive that took less than two minutes of game time. After seeing that the score was now 27-21, I scrambled to again switch streams. The Dolphins offense was inept and their defense gave up another touchdown. They lost a game in which they took a two-touchdown lead by scoring off of back-to-back fumbles with less than half of the fourth quarter remaining.

That’s football folks. One of the best players in the league let the game squirt out of hands after being tripped up by not a person, but his awful home turf. A turnover that became irrelevant because of the efforts an undrafted free agent whose rep attended a prime-time live ABC broadcast wearing a black fedora and a pinstriped suit. On cable, one of the best teams in the league dropped the silver platter that its 10th win had been placed upon.

I was fully ready to turn Monday into a League Pass night when I saw the slate of NFL games. I got through one half of Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers and didn’t turn the NBA app back on the rest of the night. These two Monday Night Football seeming dud matchups turned into some of the best television content of the year.

That damn oblong football. It gets you every time.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.