(Cued up to the 1:35 mark.)
So here's the situation that made it onto the MNF pregame coverage last night. The Fayetteville Bulldogs are up by one over Little Rock Central and facing a 4th & 32. The clock is running, with one second between the play clock and the game clock. The right move is to let it run down to zero. Take the half the distance to the goal penalty. Hike it. Kneel it. Or you scramble for a few seconds and then go down. Or a riskier move: Go back into the shotgun, throw it as far and as high as you can into No Man's Land as time expires. In any of the above, you advance in the Arkansas High School playoffs.
Instead they do the one thing they should not have done which is snap it, take a knee with time left, and set up Central for the game winner. The bad news, you're out of the playoffs. The good news? Randy Moss mentions your quarterback's name on national TV. Repeatedly.
I mean, call me a Glass-is-Half-Full kind of guy. Maybe there's a too much rose-colored tint in these progressive lenses. But that's a win in and of itself, is it not? No one will ever remember the name of anyone on Little Rock Central. Maybe a couple of them will go on to play in college, though the odds are stacked against that. At best they might get their names in tiny agate type at the bottom of a team photo behind a trophy in a glass case outside the gym. Which is fine. But having your name on the lips of a Hall of Famer, that's true immortality.
But apparently mine is not the popular opinion:
Not with the public at large, apparently. Not with the media. And definitely not with Fayetteville head coach Casey Dick.
Listen, if Coach Dick wants to fall on his Seppuku blade for his quarterback, fine. I agree with him. That's on him. He either didn't get the word out to the huddle about how to handle those final five seconds or the moment was too big for him, and I don't know which is worse. But let's not act like Randy Moss committed a hate crime. "C'mon, Man!" is meant to be a lighthearted highlight segment where they bust on people for the sake of generating laughs. He said Bladen Fike should know the rules. Period. He didn't condemn the kid to infamy and humiliation. He didn't doom him to wander the Earth living the rest of his life in abject regret like Kurt Russell in "The Best of Times" or Keanu Reeves in every movie where he plays a former quarterback who led Ohio State to the Rose Bowl.
Besides, this is Arkansas high school football. That's almost as big as it gets, aside from say Florida high schools or any Texas youth league where they're over the age of about five. If you can handle the pressure of being the varsity QB at that level, you can take a little ribbing from one of the five best wide receivers ever to play the game. If anything, the kid will get a lot more juice for being remembered as the QB that Randy Moss talked about because the moment was too big for his coach than he ever would've gotten for running the clock out in a playoff game about 100 people saw.
And apparently the damage to the lad's psyche is not to severe that he'll be an emotional cripple for life.
If he can own up to the mistake, I don't see why Randy Moss can't have a little harmless fun at his expense. I'm not one to rip some other parents' high school age children. But if that was my own kid, I'd be proud as hell he got Monday Night Countdown famous. And remind him that if you can take the glory of being celebrated for winning, you can hack being the butt of a joke when you lose. But I doubt I'd have to, because kids his age are way more resilient and mentally tough than we give them credit for and we don't have to baby them. Lighten up, everybody.