Monday - Mar 18, 2019

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Keeping Ahead: The Hail Mary

Last Thursday, one of the co-hosts of The Daily Bite with MJ Brown (available for download on iTunes, Blogtalkradio.com, or here on Fantasy Sharks), Dr. Chris Lofquist and I drove up to Detroit to watch the Lions play the Packers.

In football, our interests are represented by two separate, and arguably not equally important NFL franchises: MJ and his beloved Detroit Lions and Chris and his beloved Green Bay Packers. These are our stories.

6:16 PM – We arrive in Detroit.

6:45 PM – We finally find a parking spot that doesn’t force us to sell a kidney to borrow for a few hours.

6:46 PM – Pregame ensues. Random car alarm ensues. Pregame is abruptly cut short. If you’ve listened to last week’s Daily Bite you know what I am referring to. “Sweet.”

6:55 PM – We head to the stadium. An uncommon confidence is erupting from Lions-clad fans. A four-game winning streak is a mere game away.

6:55 PM – “Pfffft” says Chris, wearing his Aaron Rodgers jersey I purchased for him last year as a Christmas gift.

[Interlude I: Chris and I have never seen a Pro football game live together, and though he has seen multiple Packers’ games, and I have seen multiple Lions’ games, we were very much looking forward to this experience. It helps that neither of us had any fantasy players at risk, either for or against us, so we could just sit back, and enjoy the game like the creators intended.]

8:00 PM – We make it to our seats after a lot of lines, a lot of pushing, a quick beer run, and a lot of old-timey jerseys seen. If you want to retrace the sad history of the Detroit Lions, just go to a game and admire the names you see on the backs of once-hopeful fans: “Harrington” “Best” “Culpepper” “R. Williams”

Kickoff – The crowd seems like a 75%-25% split of Green Bay and Detroit fans. Cheeseheads meet cheesegraters.

Halftime, 17-0, Lions – How drunk am I right now? How long have I been asleep?

Halftime –The confidence is brimming at this point in Eminem’s city and the pro-shop is stocked. I buy myself a stitched Reggie Bush, #21 jersey, several sizes too large because: a) I can’t resist a jersey for $22.00; and b) we are beating the mighty Packers on national television.

3rd Quarter, 20-0 – Matt Prater hammers a field goal. I am giddy. Chris looks defeated.

[Interlude II: Although he has seen the Packers multiple times, Chris has never had the chance to see Aaron Rodgers live. The first time he went, the Packers were still firmly in the Favre era and the second, he was injured and Chris watched the mighty Matt Flynn battle in the tundra of Lambeau. At this point, I am feeling miserable, watching him in his Rodgers jersey, watching his team struggle to move the ball.]

3rd Quarter, 20-7 – Fluky drive capped by a fumble into the end zone recovered by Randall Cobb for the Packers’ first points. There you go Chris. At least they scored.

3rd Quarter, 20-7 – Uh, Lions. You can’t fumble the ball and just give it right back. That is not how Jim Bob drew it up.

3rd Quarter, 20-14 – I no longer am feeling miserable. For Chris, that is.

4th Quarter, 23-14 – Two camps are emerging here at Ford Field. The new Lions fans who are celebrating another score, and the old Lions fans who know that a field goal isn’t going to be enough.

[Interlude III: All of you Packers, Patriots, Yankees, and Warriors fans, listen up; I want you to know how similar you are to being a Lions fan. See, no matter what the situation, how much time is left in the game, you can count on Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Steph Curry, to do what is needed, overcome all odds, and find a way to win. The Lions are no different. No matter what the situation, how lopsided the score may be, or who is currently on the field, we who root for the Lions are steadfastly confident in one thing: that we are about to lose the game. It’s a feeling not rooted in logic, knowledge of the game, or even the current personnel wearing the jerseys. Nope, it’s just an unshakable certainty that we are about to $%@&@#! things up.]

4th Quarter, 23-21 – I am going to be ill. Physically ill.

4th Quarter, 23-21 – We run three straight plays, drawing all of the Packers’ timeouts. As the clock winds down before the ensuing punt, which, barring a good return, should put the Packers deep in their own territory, Chris turns to me and says: “No shot.”

“Great shot,” I say, already feeling defeated.

“No way, 30 seconds, no time outs, length of the field to go” he says.

I don’t believe that he believes that.

4th Quarter, 23-21 – Packers are coming out to the field, on their own 15 or so. “We are gonna lose,” I say to Chris. He grins.

[Interlude IV: I have been stuck on the next section of this article for over a day now. I literally don’t want to type it. Every time I begin to, I don’t know what to focus upon. The “facemask” that wasn’t? The absence of Megatron at the goal line? None of it seems fun to write about. None of it. But one of my loyal readers, Jeff, reminded me that at the end of the year, “there is only one happy fan base.” So let’s look at some of the numbers of the play instead.] 

Some facts about the Hail Mary that ended the Lions season:

  • The 61-yard touchdown from Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers is the longest game-winning, game-ending Hail Mary in NFL history;
  • The 61 air yards on the pass are the most air yards on a touchdown in the past 10 seasons;
  • From the snap of the ball to the time of the catch, the play took 13.5 seconds;
  • The ball was in the air for 5.42 seconds;
  • Richard Rodgers’ family has some Hail Mary history; his father, Richard Rodgers, Sr. threw two laterals in the Cal-Stanford “Band is on the field” game-ender in 1982;
  • Aaron Rodgers had never completed a Hail Mary in his NFL career before this one;
  • It capped Aaron Rodgers’ greatest comeback of his NFL career.

Friday, 12:15 AM – We finally leave the stadium. On the way out, we run into James Jones, WR for the Packers boarding the team bus. I ask him to pose for a picture with Chris. He respectfully obliges us.

Friday, 12:30 AM – We get back to our car, me with a long sigh. “What a game,” he says. “What a game,” I reply.

Random Interesting NFL Thing: Part I

On Sunday, Tom Brady caught a 36-yard pass.

That’s five more receiving yards than Dwayne Bowe has total in 2015.

Random Interesting NFL Thing: Part II

On Sunday, Russell Wilson ran for 51 yards against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings team, in that game, rushed for a total of 31 yards.

Random Interesting NFL Thing: Part III

On Sunday, kickers in the NFL missed nine extra points.

In 2014, kickers in the NFL missed eight extra points.

About MJ Brown

MJ Brown has been an avid fantasy football keeper league enthusiast and player for over a decade. A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, MJ delivers weekly content on multiple platforms, bringing a combination of advice, humor, and tips to keep your team at the top of your league.