Some dropped balls we anticipate more than others. Like the New Year’s Eve ball that drops every year at Times Square. We know it’s going to happen and so we wait for it with baited breath. Hell, we even throw parties in honor of it.
Dropped balls in football – not so much. Take Braylon Edwards (wide receiver for the New York Jets) for instance. As we all know, every time he gets the ball there’s a 50/50 chance he’s going to drop it like it’s hot. The man just can’t hold on to the ball. If you’re watching at home, then you might as well make yourself a cup of coffee, or go back to your online game at PartyCasino.it for a couple of minutes – the chances are that nothing’s going to come of his catch. Our hearts race because as much faith as we publicly profess to have in the guy on any given Sunday, the moment someone like Edwards (and every team has an “Edwards”) gets the ball, said faith is thrown out the window. When push comes to shove you just never know if he’ll hang on.
Football often reminds me of the song if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. When the guys on our team snag a high pass or run a sick slant through a tough defense, we’re exuberant fans cheering up and down high-fiving anyone that passes by. But when that same guy, even if he’s the same guy that got the game-winning TD last week, fumbles in the red zone, he’s dead to us. At least until we get the ball back and it’s out of our systems.
A crucial fumble or dropped pass has the potential to be a game changer. If nothing more, it’s a pain in the ass and can really take the wind out of your tailgating sails. Bears fans know this all to well. In a short, albeit far from sweet, 11-game season, the 1938 Chicago Bears fumbled the ball a record breaking 56 times (though they managed to recover 37 of them probably because of all the fumble recovery practice). You know the scenario all too well – incessant obxious cheers radiating from your being as your running back breaks tackle after tackle and sprints 50 only to get tripped up and lose possession. At the goal line. Or when your quarterback mishandles the snap or lets the ball slip out of his hands after a hard hit (which sounds eerily similar to icons like Warren Moon and Brett Favre)? Or when T.O. stops talking smack about Donovan McNabb long enough to drop a ball that hit him square between the 8 and the 1 but just couldn’t hang on? Just five seconds ago you were riding cloud 9 like a tricked out Harley chugging your Natty Light and now you’re fuming. All because of a damn dropped ball. You’ve resorted to spewing profanities directly at your TV hoping your former favorite player can hear you. At least hoping he can hear how much disdain you now have for the overpaid guy that calls himself an athlete. (Truth be told, it probably pains them more than you or I could ever imagine.)
For you novice sports fans, lets take it out of football context for a minute and see if you can relate. How many times did Pauly D. leave the game in The Situation’s hands just to watch the dancing with the stars underachiever drop the ball? A wingman is supposed to handle well under pressure and bring the win home, yes? Episode after episode, The Situation forfeited his wingman responsibilities and dropped the ball. So much so, you began to expect it as much as an obligatory reference of GTL. Editor’s note –the above reference to ‘the game’ is code for smushing, which is code for sex, anywhere other than the Jersey Shore.
Even some college kids caught on to the dropped ball bandwagon and started selling the now infamous “Butterfinger Braylon” t-shirts earlier this year. The slogan was accompanied by the befitting tagline “Guaranteed to slip out of your hands.” Way to parlay an on-field tragedy into your very own moneymaker. Well-played Butterfinger t-shirt guys, well-played. I’m sure Rex Ryan really appreciates the entrepreneurship.