erik lundegaard


Wednesday January 28, 2015

'Seahawks Outlast Packers': A Look at the Dullest NY Times Headline for the Thrillingest NFL Game

I meant to post this last week but better late than never. It's the New York Times' Jan. 18 headline/blurb for one of the most thrilling/heartbreaking championship games in the history of the NFL. The one on the right:

Seahawks Outlast Packers

Outlast? How about stun? Jujitsuflip? Mindboggle? Mindfuck?

I subscribe to and root for the Times, our paper of record, to make it through the digital times we're all stuck in. But c'mon, guys. Try a little. It's the dullest hed/synopsis imaginable for the most thrilling come-from-behind, unimaginable game I've seen. It actually makes me laugh. 

With 3 minutes left in the game, the Hawks were down 19-7, hadn't scored on offense (only through special teams), and put their win probability at 0.1%. That's not 1%; that's point 1 percent. Which was probably higher than the percentage I was giving them. It seemed all but over to me. If I had been watching at home, I probably would've turned the game off. Thankfully I was watching at Ben's house. 

With 5 minutes left, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw to Jermaine Kearse over the middle, and the ball bounced off Kearse's hands and was picked off by Morgan Burnett who ran a few yards, and then, without a Seattle player nearby, slid to the ground. The Packers were thinking it was over, too. That's what you do when it's over. You cradle the ball like it's an NFC championship trophy and slide. Safe.  

But not. The Packers went three and out and suddenly the Super-Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, absent for most of the game, showed up. From their own 31, they scored in four plays. Except Marshawn Lynch was ruled out of bounds at the 9 on the 35-yard pass and run. So many of these calls went against the Hawks. It was a good call but it seemed more of the same. We just couldn't score.

Then we did—three runs later. 

Before the onside kick, Ben's teenage daughter asked about onside kicks and their probabilities, and we all agreed they were fairly improbable. 

Which is when the improbable happened. Then the impossible happened: run, run, pass, run, touchdown. Out of nowhere, from the depths, we were suddenly ahead by 1. Then we coverted another improbable 2-point conversion to go ahead by 3. The Packers got their field goal but they must've been stunned. They should've been walking off the field in triumph rather than heading out into the middle of it for a coin toss. We won that one, too, and started on our own 13-yard line. Four plays later it was 3rd and 7 at our own 30. Two plays later the game was over: a 35-yard pass to Doug Baldwin and a 35-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse over the middle. And Seattle, and the sports world, went crazy. Everyone went crazy except the New York Times headline writer.  

Outlast. I don't think I'll ever look at that word the same way again. 

See you Sunday. 

Seattle Seahawks: Legion of Boom Sports Illustrated cover

Posted at 11:13 AM on Wednesday January 28, 2015 in category Sports