The Anatomy Of A Miracle
Greetings from The Booth!
Last week I wrote about “saying goodbye to Shingleton” as the Shenandoah Hornet basketball teams play their final games in the old gym and get ready to move into their new digs on January 31st. It was fun to relive some of my memories of Shingleton and I thank those of you who shared your recollections as we get ready for an exciting new era of SU athletics.
One thing that isn’t new (but never gets old) is a pre-season national ranking for Shenandoah University baseball. The Hornets are ranked 12th in one poll and 16th in another, as they come off a 41-10 season last year, and were just 1 win away from a trip to the D-3 World Series. Believe it or not, SU takes the diamond in February, and we can only hope the weather cooperates!
I wanted to devote this week’s musings on the NFL’s Super Bowl tournament, which is now down to 4 teams after last weekend’s divisional play. This Sunday, The Patriots once again will play in an AFC Title game, as they take on the surprising Jaguars. The Jags shocked the Steelers in Pittsburgh 45-42 last Sunday, and now head to Foxboro to take on a favored New England team.
Meanwhile, the Eagles will entertain the Vikings in the NFC Championship. The Eagles gutted out a 15-10 win against the Falcons, while the Viking’s shocked the Saints on the game’s final play 29-24, and now have a chance to become the first team in Super Bowl history to play in it’s home stadium. That final play is now being referred to as “The Minneapolis Miracle,” which brings me to today’s topic.
There have been some miraculous finishes in NFL playoff history: “The Music City Miracle”, “The Catch”, “The Drive”, “The Fumble”, and of course, “The Immaculate Reception”, but never has a playoff team won on the game’s final play. The Minneapolis Miracle was a combination of everything happening right for the Vikings and everything going wrong for the Saints.
New Orleans had just driven down the field, and with Drew Brees doing what he does best, the Saints kicked what appeared to be a game-winning field goal with just 25 seconds left. With just 10 seconds left, Vikings QB Case Keenum called a play known as “Buffalo Right, Seven Heaven”, named as such because if the quarterback hits the so-called “seven route”, something heavenly happens. His pass to the right sideline was caught by a leaping Stefon Diggs at the Saints 33 yard line.
If Diggs is tackled by cornerback Marcus Williams at that point, the game probably ends. Even if Diggs steps out of bounds, the Vikings would have still needed a long field goal to win. Instead, Williams, who was trying to avoid a pass interference penalty, completely missed Diggs, who then sprinted into the end zone for the incredible game-winning 61-yard touchdown. It should also be noted that Williams also took out one of his own defenders on the play, a defender who might have been able to chase Diggs down and preserve the win for New Orleans.
To add insult to injury, by NFL mandate, the extra point still had to be kicked, and a makeshift Saints team had to be brought back out of the locker room for a meaningless play.
If you believe in such a thing as a “Team of Destiny”, you can certainly build your Case (as in Keenum) with the improbable “Minneapolis Miracle.”
Enjoy the NFL Championship games this weekend, and as always, GO HORNETS!