HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
January 8, 2006

What a turnaround

By Matt Kane

I almost forgot how much fun it can be to watch football.

My final day of 2006 didn’t convince me of this, but my first day of 2007 did.

My New Years’ weekend of football began Sunday, New Years Eve, at the Metrodome for the Vikings’ season finale against the St. Louis Rams.

Neither team had much to play for besides draft position, and I’ve never really enjoyed watching football in the Metrodome, so my excitement heading into the game was somewhat lacking to begin with. By the time I left the stadium, the only thing I was thankful for was that I didn’t pay for the ticket I used.

I kept thinking to myself on the drive home (the weather made it a long trip) that I would have been sick to my stomach if I would have dished out the $119 listed on my ticket to watch the Vikings loaf through 60 minutes of football.

When consumers are unhappy with most products they purchase, they can return them for a full refund or at least credit towards another product.

The same is true if a product is broken or doesn’t work.

“Broken” or “doesn’t work.” Two terms that appropriately describe the Vikings’ offense this past season.

I hadn’t been to a Vikings’ game in about 10 years before the Dec. 31 game, and, unless I have a press pass, I probably won’t be back for another decade.

The biggest cheers of the game came when Brad Johnson entered the game for one possession, and when the crowd started the wave during a break in the action.

And that’s the other thing. There are way too many breaks during NFL games.

How the heck do coaches run out of time-outs when they get a commercial break after every kickoff, punt, injury and sneeze.

Luckily, though, for me, the new year brought in some much needed excitement, in the form of college football.

I woke up to watch my alma mater, Penn State, take care of Tennessee in the Outback Bowl; spent my afternoon peering in on the Rose Bowl; and night-capped my day by watching the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

And what a way to end a day of football. Rarely does a football game get me jumping out of my couch indentation, but Boise State and Oklahoma did just that in the Fiesta Bowl.

Just when it appeared Goliath — Oklahoma — would put a dagger in little David — Boise State — the little guy digs deep to throw the last punch. A punch delivered by Lady Liberty’s outstretched arm, as the Broncos used the oldest trick play in the book — the Statue of Liberty play — to convert the game-winning two-point conversion in a 43-42 overtime win.

The Statue of Liberty. With 24-Dive, it was one of the first plays I remember learning. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought the one fancy play my seventh grade football coach, Mr. Oberg, put in our thin play book would someday win a major college football game in the national spotlight.

That last play was just one of three that prompted a “No way!” out of me. The touchdown preceding the two-point conversion came on a halfback pass, and the touchdown that sent the game to overtime came on a hook-and-lateral play.

Straight-up sandlot.

But I love it.

If tonight’s national championship game between Florida and Ohio State doesn’t live up to the hype, college football fans can always look back at the Fiesta Bowl for excitement.

Thank you college football, for you rescued me from a nausea brought on by watching the Vikings a day earlier.


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