Spiking the Ball

I grew up watching football on TV. At holiday family gatherings, the menfolk gathered around the tube to watch the games. I learned the sport through osmosis, listening to my elders discuss strategies, formations, and plays.

I played more baseball than football growing up; but the managers and coaches taught identical lessons about good sportsmanship and fair play. We shook hands with the opposing team after the game and downplayed our own accomplishments.

I nostalgically recalled those days during an afternoon of NFL football. I watched a wide receiver perform a dance in the end zone after scoring a touchdown. A running back dramatically pointed downfield after gaining a first down. A lineman struck a body-builder pose after sacking the opposing quarterback.

According to Wikipedia (the place of all true knowledge), Homer JonesSpike Football.png made the first touchdown “spike” in 1965.  Elmo Wright  performed what some believe was the original TD dance in 1971. Today, it’s the exception rather than the rule to see a player modestly hand the ball to the referee.

I could write a paragraph bemoaning the demise of good sportsmanship. I could lament professional athletes’ extravagant displays for simply doing their jobs. I could pontificate about the value of humility.

Instead, consider this simple point. Football teams are called TEAMS for a reason. No player single-handedly scores a TD. No running back makes a first down alone. No defensive lineman penetrates an offensive line by himself.

If you think about it, one player vainly glorifying himself for the accomplishments of an entire team seems rather silly. Our coaches always said there’s no “I” in “Team”; but there are several in “Idiotic!”

5 thoughts on “Spiking the Ball

  1. The legendary coach Vince Lombardi is credited with saying, “When you go into the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”


  2. Why can’t they just play football? That’s what they are paid (and real well) to do. For the most part, I don’t watch pro football regularly for the these reasons.


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