Rich Simons | Upper East 11th Street
Q: Just a few weeks ago my husband was watching one of his stupid football games. At about the end of it, he suddenly jumped up and started screaming. It sounded something like: “The . . . . . didn’t cover! The . . . . . didn’t cover the . . . . . spread!” (Where the dots represent words that I am pretty sure you can’t use in your family newspaper). – g. h.
I believe I can explain this to you quickly, in terms you can easily understand. I am quite sure the game in question has to be the Green Bay-Detroit affair. With the clock ticking down to zero, the Pack was in the red zone, which of course was good, but they needed a quick six to cover the point spread, The dive play had worked well all afternoon; you know the one – the right tackle pulls and traps the defensive center, the fullback pops through the gap and clocks the middle linebacker, the halfback dives through right behind him, clutching the ball. But that’s generally good for only about 5 yards, and the Pack needs about three times that.
So a pass play is called for, sort of a short Hail Mary. You know – just chuck it up and let ‘em fight for it. So as the man under approaches the line he surveys the defensive alignment. How many men in the box? Are they playing man? Or zone? Nickel package? Or zone? The man glides up behind the center and barks out the play. Something like “Omaha, twenty-eight, red!” This sounds real studly but is mostly for show; his flankers are spread out so wide they can’t hear him because of the crowd noise, and as for the line – well, as you know, all pass blocking is just about the same. So the center snaps the ball and the left end charges the cornerback, does a quick hook and sprints toward the flag. The QB flips a quick fade into the corner of the end zone. The receiver leaps, grasps the oblate spheroid and drops to the ground. TOUCHDOWN! . . . .Or is it? Did his tippy toes come down inbounds? We’ll see. All scoring plays have to be reviewed by the Authorities up in The Box.
“The Box” is a nice warm, cozy room way up high in the stadium, somewhere close to all the concession stands. The “Authorities” are grown men who basically get paid to look at television sets because they can’t make out anything that’s going on down on the field from up there. So at the game in question they order up another round of dogs and begin to scan endless replays. But in a few moments the Head Honcho glances at his watch and realizes ohmigosh it’s time for the network to start the old movie they have scheduled. Old movies are a lot cheaper than cameramen and talking heads.
So the Auhorities declare the game is over and pack up to leave. Therefore technically the Pack never scored and they didn’t cover. It was precisely at this point that approximately fifty per cent of the male adult population of the United States of America began to recite the same litany of words as your husband, the ones that we can’t print in our Family Newspaper.
So there you have it. That’s what happened. I’m sure you understand now. I’m glad I could make it simple for you.