Memory of a Lifetime
Sunday morning before I went to the Cardinals Rams game I was having a conversation with my girlfriend wondering why do I watch sports. Why do I care so about my teams and why do I get so aggravated after losses. This was after watching ASU put their season in jeopardy with an awful and embarrassing loss to UCLA and prior to going to see the 1-6 Cardinals play the 1-6 Rams. I texted my girlfriend wishing I was born into a family of artists so I would never have any aggravation in my life. I could just paint pictures and spend Sundays with my girlfriend and live a life full of happiness. Instead I was forced, by the nature of spending a lot of money on season tickets, to watch two awful 1-6 teams play a meaningless football game on a perfect Sunday afternoon. Little did I know I was about to witness one of the greatest moments and games I have ever been too.
The first half went by without much excitement. The Cards trailed 9-3 and the best part of the half were the fans a few seats from me and my brother giving us some great comedy. I was thinking this would be my only memory of this game. Then the third quarter came and went by with a combined 7 points scored, but it was not by a touchdown like you would think. Cardinals backup quarterback John Skelton gave the Rams two safeties on CONSECUTIVE offensive plays. This gave me and my brother great comedy and gave us something to remember this game by. But something very weird happened after that second safety that put the Cards down 13-6. The crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium became offended by what they were seeing. The crowd instantly woke up after the second safety and went into a, “There is no effing way we are letting the Cardinals lose this game, to this team, in this embarrassing fashion” mode.
“We” the fans would have been fine with a 20-10 loss. We already have come to grips this is a lost season for the Cardinals and with John Skelton starting at QB we had no expectations going into the game. After that second safety though, we had enough and the crowd woke up. Fans broke into multiple “Let’s Go Cards” chants….almost willing this team to come back and win this game. Then the magic started. John Skelton breaks a couple 10 plus yard runs and then throws a laser to Larry Legend in the back of the end zone to tie the game and the crowd went into an absolute frenzy. The “Nest” was back and rocking like the Kurt Warner days and everyone was having a great time. The Rams of course go down the field and have a 3rd and inches with a 1:52 left already in field goal range. A first down and the Rams can knee down and kick the field goal and get out-of-town. The Cards stuff them and force a 4th down. Then for some reason the Rams run the same play instead of kicking the field goal and the Cards stop them AGAIN! Now the Nest is really rocking. A quick 15 yard completion to Larry Legend gets them to midfield and everyone is jumping up and down not believing what they were seeing. What happens next is the reason why I do watch sports.
Of course Skelton throws behind Larry, takes a huge sack, and throws a dumpoff that gives the Rams the ball back. And of course the Rams go right down the field in under a minute to set up Rams kicker Josh Brown, who has 8 career game winning kicks, for a rather easy field goal for him. I have to admit here I gave up at this point and made my brother go up the stairs so we could beat traffic as soon as he made the kick. As we were waiting for defeat I got this feeling that something was going to happen. There was such a weird vibe that this game would end in some sort of weird way and a field goal was not how this game was going to end. Sure enough 6″8 Calais Campbell blocks the kick sending the game into overtime and sending me, my brother, and everyone else running back to their seats yelling like crazy.
Every time Patrick Peterson went back to field a punt the crowd stood up yesterday. Even during the boringness of the first half, the few times the crowd got into it was when Peterson was going back to return a punt. The Rams started overtime by not doing much and being forced to punt the ball. I turned to my brother and told him he was going to be tackled if somehow Peterson took this punt back. I do not even remember what he said because pretty soon I saw Peterson catch the ball and cut to the right and all we saw was two Rams to beat and A LOT of open field. I have never seen a crowd go crazier then what I witnessed when he broke that last tackle. Sunglasses flew everywhere, high fives flying everywhere,people jumping up and down on seats, guys hugging each other, people who do not know each other hugging like they were family, complete bedlam all around. Patrick Peterson just scored off a 99 yard punt return….ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!
Walking out the stadium I answered my own question as to why I watch sports. For the few moments that ,we, as sports fans get to witness like that makes all the crap and aggravation we go through worth it. In the magnitude of things this win will only cost the Cardinals draft spots in the draft as they are destined for a 5-11 mark, but this game gave us me and my brother so much more than draft picks or another win. It gave us a memory that we will always be able to share together. The joy and excitement we got and shared together as Patrick Peterson ran down the sidelines was worth every penny that I spent on tickets this year and is the reason why I am passionate and love sports so much….for those few moments that we get to share with someone at a game that will last a lifetime.