LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One problem with this business these days is that everything that happens has to be the "best" or "worst" or "biggest."
Every disaster has to be bigger than the last. Every storm. Every tragedy. Every win. Every loss. Every scandal. Every game.
All it takes for a game to be a "classic" these days is a close finish and an ESPN replay the next night. I'm as guilty as the next person looking for web hits. There should be a rule -- no writing about "what something means" for a full day.
But there is no such rule. And the Internet never sleeps. And the news cycle does not stop. So the best I could do tonight was five hours.
It's been roughly five hours since Auburn's Chris Davis fielded a 57-yard field goal try off the foot of Alabama freshman Adam Griffith and ran it roughly the distance from Birmingham to Montgomery for a game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock to beat the Crimson Tide 34-28 in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
They've been playing college football since 1869. Only four times has a field goal been returned for a touchdown.
Davis covered a hundred yards (109 yards in actual distance). In the Iron Bowl. In a battle of Top 5 teams. For a berth in the SEC Championship Game, and quite possibly in the BCS Championship Game. On national television. In prime time.
It's been five hours, and I have to tell you -- that was still the most remarkable college football moment I've ever seen.
The drama of that finish -- set up by a lengthy replay review to determine whether Alabama would have one second in which to run one final play in the first place -- is unmatched in my memory.
Nick Saban, college football's evil genius (who, actually, is neither), makes the fateful decision to try a long field goal instead of settling to battle it out in overtime with his Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback A.J. McCarron. Having missed three shorter tries earlier in the game, he goes with Griffith, who actually boots a good effort after the review of the previous play restored one second to the clock. But Davis, settled under the goalposts fielded the kick, took off up the middle, then cut left and up the sideline, sprinting past Alabama players and into legend.
See? That's the kind of overwrought language we use in these kinds of things. So you tell me. Twenty-five years from now, will they not still be talking of that run? Fifty?
The band on the field at Stanford. Doug Flutie's Hail Mary. Boise State's Statue of Liberty two-point conversion against Oklahoma. There have been others. But Alabama's stranglehold on college football being what it has been, I don't think any has been greater.
This game, we're going to have with us for a while. This was Christian Laettner with a chinstrap and a 4.4 in the 40.
The images afterward. The shocked Alabama fans. Saban, disgusted. McCarron finding his parents, and a sympathetic hug from girlfriend Katherine Webb. The field disappearing beneath an orange-and-blue clad cloud of witnesses.
There's a reason that of everything on television, sports is one of the few that people still insist on watching live. Moments like this. Lightning striking. The drama of the moment. The breathtaking immediacy. Did that just happen? Did you see that? Can you believe it?
CBS was on top of it with the radio calls from each school, the agony and the ecstasy.
We're a cynical people. We just finished Black Friday, when we've been bombarded with marketing and advertising and "limited time only" and "biggest sale ever." Not a day goes by when somebody isn't trying to market something as the biggest or best ever.
None of it, of course, is true. It's all designed to sell us something.
But once in a while, something does happen that you know even as it is happening is going to stand the test of time. You call the kids into the room and run back what happened to let them watch, so they'll at least have this little memory.
What this means for the national title picture and everything else, I'll leave for others tonight. Twitter, I think, is in a state of punch-drunkenness. Troll Tide.
Two bitter rivals just engaged in something that was bigger even than their own rivalry, and now belongs to the sport.
Thursday, April 24 2014 12:25 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:25:05 GMT
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