Sunday leaves me with a few HITPs
Dec. 26, 2000
Thoughts whizzing about as I marvel at "The Curse" at work.
NEW ORLEANS How is that possible? Those that know me well, know I utter that phrase moderately often.
I've let it slip out several times during last season's basketball playoffs all levels of them.
It's been heard almost on a weekly basis during the Big Three's embarrassing last half of regular season football this season as well.
But without a doubt, I am fully aware that I wear that sucker out during a New Orleans Saints season.
When Ricky Williams went down to injury, you didn't hear it. When Jeff Blake had his season ended the very next week, I let it fly.
When a great back like Marshall Faulk dropped 220 yards on them, nothing. When a rookie from Denver with the same name as a popular New Orleans seafood restaurant got a career… It happened. 1-3 start? Of course not. NFC West Champs? You betcha. Anyway, you're starting to get the picture.
Last Sunday's result wasn't too much of a surprise. After all, the Rams are a team with a slew of talented athletes. Joe Horn called them playmakers. They are the last team to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And in this league, that still counts for something.
So when the Rams responded with a clock-eating possession to seal up the victory after the Saints got close late in the fourth quarter, I wasn't surprised.
I don't care what anyone tells you there is a big difference between playing for a first-round bye and playing to keep from waving bye-bye till July.
The Rams were faced with the latter and it showed early on when things got a little testy and licks started getting passed.
That's when "How is that possible?" reared its head again. You know what? Marshall Faulk is a great running back as I said earlier but I'm sorry the refs who officiated that contest did a horrible job.
When that big scrum happened in the first quarter with he, Sammy Knight and some other players, Faulk should have been thrown out. Plain and simple. He threw a deliberate punch, but was allowed to stay in the game. How is that possible?
Another similar shining moment came early and continued throughout. How was it possible that the only score those inside the Superdome were concerned with was never displayed on the continuous little scoreboards? They flashed the Detroit/Chicago score only once all day. How is that possible that a game so important to the Rams' playoff implications was not displayed all-game long?
Saints PR Director Greg Bensel said there must have been a glitch in the computer system. Yeah right, Spare me. Bensel may not have known what the deal was, but I guarantee you, somebody did.
But the humdinger of the HITPs has to go to those Detroit Lions. The way those losers pulled this one off has to earn your respect.
It will go down as one of the greatest choke jobs in sports. At home and needing a win against the pathetic Chicago Bears to make the playoffs and keep the Rams out, the Lions lose it on a 54-yard field goal as time expires. Oh yeah, the kicker was also a rookie. HITP?
Detroit, the overwhelming gratitude of the rest of the NFL is surely being heaped upon you this holiday season.
You were a huge favorite and you totally blew it, in the process, giving a dead champion life again. Happy Holidays.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.