About Last Whatever: Iron Bowl Chaos

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In case you were busy foolishly enjoying the company of friends and family this holiday season without a television on in the background, here’s what you missed in sports over the holiday:

  • In one of the most stunning endings to a football game in recent memory, Auburn shocked Alabama in the Iron Bowl, winning 34-28 on a 109-yard field goal return for a touchdown as time expired. “No regrets,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said after the game when asked about his late-game management, “I thought to myself, What’s the worst that could happen? And the answer was that the kick could hit a child in the head, creating a trauma that the boy would bury deep into his subconscious. This trauma would then only rear its head again when the boy had grown, fueled by his hate, to become governor of Alabama, and he would then decide by gubernatorial decree to make football illegal. But then I decided that, rightly I might add, that would be impossible; if anything could provoke a coup in the state of Alabama it would be the abolition of football. So I made the right decision, I just got a bad result.”
  • With Alabama stumbling, Ohio State asserted itself in the BCS picture, holding on for a 42-41 win over Michigan after a failed two-point conversion attempt. Urban Meyer met the release of the BCS standings, which had OSU in the top two for the first time this season, with his trademark sense of humor and excitement, saying, “Factually, we are currently in the top two of the BCS standings.” Meyer then joked, “I am a football coach, and I will coach my team in the pursuit of victory in our remaining game, as that is the most effective way to ensure we remain in the top two of the BCS standings.” Meyer finished off his postgame press conference by hilariously blinking twice, showing off his trademark gentle nod, and leaving without answering any questions.
  • Peyton Manning and Eric Decker connected for four touchdowns as the Denver Broncos grabbed control of the AFC West with a 35-28 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. “Oh,” groaned the city of Kansas City in unison, “so, um, this?” The entire city then let out a collective sigh, before all shrugging at once and saying, “Well, I guess it beats what we were. I guess. But, Andy Reid and Alex Smith. Huh. They are who they are. Huh. Well, at least they’re not bad and neither are these ribs. Mmmmmm, ribs.” The entire city then tucked into a slab of baby back ribs and smiled with a contentment that can only be felt when devouring a plate of baby back ribs.
  • Indiana moved to 16-1 as Paul George outdueled Chris Paul in the Pacers’ 105-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Also of note, Pacers guard George Hill outdueled the Clippers’ Willie “The Hill” Green, Pacers forward David West outdueled a guy named David in a BMW 540i heading west on the 10, and Pacers reserve point guard C.J. Watson outdueled Dr. Watson in a battle of wits associated with the long-dormant Case Of The Two Davises.
  • Daniel Alfredsson scored a late goal for Detroit in his return to Ottawa as the Red Wings beat the Senators 4-2. “All of a sudden, whoever scores more goals wins? Preposterous!” yelled a furious Senators head coach Paul MacLean after the game, “to win a game requires a team to score a full ¾ of the goals while simultaneously preventing anyone on the opposing team from speaking for an extended duration of time. And Daniel knows as well as anyone how important that tradition is to this organization.”
  • Despite losing Anthony Davis to a hand injury, the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Knicks 103-99, sending New York to its ninth straight defeat. “Why would this happen?” a boy in Queens asked his father as J.R. Smith heaved up another ill-advised jump shot, “even I, a child, know that jump shot should not be taken. Father, please, help me understand.” But the boy’s father did not respond; he was too fixated on piling mashed potatoes onto his plate to hear the boy. As Andrea Bargnani was blown past for an easy layup, the father aggressively molded his pile of potatoes. His son watched him, stunned into silence, eyes red and welling with tears. The father pushed the potatoes into a pile, used his fork to sculpt them, and in a frenzy made a perfect potato replica of Walt Frazier finding Willis Reed in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. The father took a moment to admire his work, briefly able to indulge in the feeling he had when he first fell in love with the team. The shot. What could be better? He then looked up at his boy. Those red eyes, he thought to himself, what have I done to my son? “I guess you’ve noticed something a little strange with dad,” the father said, not knowing what else to say, “It’s OK, though. I’m still dad.” But there was no explaining what he had made to his son, the feelings it evoked; there was only the inescapable domestic hell that was sharing this Knicks team with his only offspring. “I can’t describe it,” the father said as he, too, began to cry, “this means something. This is important.”
  • The Steelers are facing punitive action from the NFL, including a potential six-figure fine and the loss of a draft pick, following head coach Mike Tomlin’s interference with a Jacoby Jones kick return in Baltimore’s Thanksgiving Day 22-20 win over Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, in the same game, no penalty was given and a touchdown was wiped off the board as Pittsburgh running back La’Veon Bell was badly concussed when struck in the helmet by two Ravens defenders while crossing the goal line. “Juxtaposition is my art form of choice,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell later said to explain his disciplinary decisions. “I believe the audience must be shocked awake from the stupor of modern life, and the stunning contrast of light and dark is the most effective way I can use my medium to do so.”
  • Also facing punitive action for disrupting a game is Nets head coach Jason Kidd, who was fined $50,000 for intentionally colliding with point guard Tyshawn Taylor, to whom he said “hit me,” spilling a soda on the court during the Brooklyn’s 96-94 Thanksgiving Eve loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. I think, however, that the real question is, where did the soda come from? Who has ever heard of an NBA coach holding a soda during the climax of a game? If there were any evidence, I’d say that Jason Kidd was set up to look like a fool in this situation. But, I mean, it’s not like there’s a member of the Lakers who wasn’t on the court who has well-known ties to the soda industry, and a history of embarrassing Nets teams with Jason Kidd on them … oh wait … oh no …

Filed Under: About Last Whatever, Alabama, Anthony Davis, Auburn, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Broncos, Detroit Red Wings, Indiana Pacers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Clippers, Michigan, New York Knicks, Nick Saban, Ohio State, Ottawa Senators, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers

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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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