About Last Weekend: The Buccos Are Back

In case you were busy signing with the Vikings in order to guarantee a Super Bowl ring, here’s what you missed in sports last weekend:

  • The Pittsburgh Pirates are a game away from the National League Championship Series after Pedro Alvarez powered them to a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. “Don’t say anything,” said Pittsburgh superfan Willie Langdon after the game. “Just no one say anything. This isn’t happening. No one talk about this.” When asked if he was excited, Langdon yelled, “Shh, shh, shh. No. Not excited. Why would I be excited?” before whispering under his breath, “You shut your damn mouth before this whole damn thing falls apart. It’s built on Popsicle sticks and Silly Putty, and if you crush this dream I’ll crush you.”
  • Today’s the day, Tony Romo thought to himself as he sat on the bench, helmet in his hands, feeling a feeling: pride? He was almost sure it was pride. He glanced at the scoreboard. 48-41. He looked at the field; his team’s defense was outmatched. Didn’t matter. Don’t think about being a hero, don’t think about being a hero. You become a hero by being a hero, not by thinking Be a hero. Also, maybe the defense will keep things together. Maybe. So just think about anything else. Like why do humans feel pain? Huh, that’s a brain tickler. Think, Anthony, think … why do humans feel pain?
  • Keith Price and Washington suffered their first defeat of the year, falling 31-28 at the hands of no. 5 Stanford. When asked if he was nervous as his team faced the Huskies’ rally down the stretch, Stanford head coach David Shaw responded, “Nervous? That would have been highly irrational.” When asked if he feared for his team’s chances because of the Huskies’ offense, Shaw furrowed his brow and said, “I know of fear in an academic sense, but why would it apply in this situation? The odds remained consistently in our favor.” Shaw then shook his head and said, “To allow emotion to overwhelm your rationality? During a game of all things? Preposterous, and frankly beneath my team’s dignity. Wait, is that what people at other schools do? Weird.”
  • “That was good by the Broncos, really good,” Romo said out loud to no one. A look at the scoreboard: 48-48. But it’s almost better this way. To just be great, no one notices that. To be great and clutch? That is everything in this business. Romo shook his head. No! That’s why you don’t think about it. You just do the thing. Remember the work. And your breathing. Remember to breathe, Anthony. You’ve lived a whole life to be here right now. A hundred thousand fans who know you’re going to succeed. Another hundred million at home, yelling at their picture boxes. Don’t think of them. Romo shook his head again. Don’t! Think of them in their underwear. Romo did, and he smiled. Perfect. So many naked people waiting for me to be a hero. For me to achieve my destiny. Oh, their nude celebrations in my honor. A whole naked parade — I just can’t wait.
  • For the third consecutive Presidents Cup, Tiger Woods hit the clinching putt for the Americans, this time securing an 18½-15½ victory over the Internationals. “Would have been really tough to lose,” said American captain Fred Couples. “Some of those international countries don’t even have presidents! They have like emperors and prime ministers. I’m pretty sure Graham DeLaet worships some sort of duck god.” When asked about his beliefs, DeLaet, a Canadian, responded, “Oh, the loonie, eh? Sorry, but not a god. Unless he was mispronouncing Drake. In which case, um, guilty as charged.”
  • Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla has decided to leave the school after a series of disagreements with head coach Mark Helfrich went public. “It’s not like I worship some sort of duck god,” Lyerla explained, before gesturing at Nike co-founder and Oregon alumnus Phil Knight, who was dancing atop the Ducks’ new football facility wearing a suit made out of feathers. “And that proved to be more of a problem than I expected.”
  • Ouch, can’t believe I took a hit there, Romo thought as he got up from being sacked. Second-and-long. Tie game. Two minutes left. This is the moment. People aren’t born heroes, but I was. I’ve been so good today, there’s no way I fail now. Romo shook his head as he entered the huddle. Don’t think that, don’t think at all. Tell the guys the play. Just do your job. Tell them the play. Use your lips to make words. You got this, Anthony. You’ve been making words since you were a child. You were born to make these words. And making words makes heroes. Romo smiled broadly at his teammates, a weird toothy grin, and told them, “I can’t wait for what comes next,” before staring at them dumbly as they waited for the play call.
  • Tom Brady’s 52-game passing touchdown streak was snapped, as the Bengals also ended the Patriots’ perfect start to the season with a scrappy 13-7 win. After the game, Brady, dressed in a top hat and carrying a wand, said, “And that my friends was 52 pickup. Thank you, thank you. And for my next illusion, I will make my current receiving corps disappear.” Since his statement, no active receivers from the Patriots’ roster have been seen in public, and their whereabouts remain unknown.
  • Hanley Ramirez led a Dodgers barrage of runs as Los Angeles took a crucial 2-1 lead over Atlanta in their National League Division Series with a 13-6 win. “Way out of line,” said Braves catcher Brian McCann after the game. “Guys ran the score up on us. Classic violation of the unwritten rules of baseball, but that wasn’t all.” McCann then pulled out his “Angry List” and enumerated the following additional violations of the unwritten rules committed by the Dodgers: awkward first-base convos, taking pitches outside of the zone, standing in the dugout, sitting in the dugout, being in the dugout, “funky butt-loving,” smiling, “not just high and low giving, but calling each other out for being too slow,” Mattingly not having a mustache, and beating the Braves.
  • Step into the throw, and … Romo let go of the ball and time stopped. A feeling he’d felt before swelled up within him. Not shame; shame was too simple. And not regret either. “Actualization,” he muttered as he lay on the ground. The Broncos had the ball. They would go on to win 51-48. The game did not matter. What mattered was when the ball had left his hands, he was purest Tony Romo. Romo opened his mouth as if to curse his state. How could one do so much and yet be left with nothing? How could one be a heroic villain? But no words emerged from his lips. Just a ball of white light. And in that moment Romo had the presence to realize that whatever relationship exists between a higher power and man flowed honestly through this moment. This is why people feel pain. He is Tony Romo. Tony Romo is him. Tony Romo is.

Filed Under: About Last Weekend, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Dodgers, New England Patriots, Oregon, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Stanford, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Tony Romo

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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