I threw this question out on Twitter, and thought I'd bring it to the class here. Football is a serious game, and sometimes (okay, lots of times) we take it too seriously. Which, in a way, makes the funny moments all funnier.
I shared one story in the original tweet, and I'll share two more here.
First, my eighth grade football team was terrible. I mean, just terrible. We'd lose 20-0 on Thursday night, then show up to school Friday talking about how we didn't play all that bad the night before. After winning all of one game in seventh grade, we entered the final game of our eighth grade year winless. At a school with a proud football tradition, every time we stepped on the field was a new disgrace.
But hope was on our side heading into that final game. Our sad sack of losers was set to play Temple Christian -- the team we'd beaten to close the seventh grade season. This was like the Iron Bowl, only the exact opposite.
Fast forward to the final play of the game. We're trailing 14-12, but we've got the ball on Temple's 3-yard line. Our head coach calls timeout and tells us we're going to run a new play. Our offensive line (I played tight end -- two catches for 10 yards on the season, not that anyone's counting) operated on a strong side/weak side system, and to that point in the year we'd exclusively put the strong side on the right. With the ball on the right hash, our coach decided we'd go strong left, put two receivers flanked to that side and throw a bubble screen for the game-winning score.
It was totally unlike anything we'd run all season, and for that reason we'd convinced ourselves it was going to work.
The timeout ends and we go to the huddle, where our quarterback repeats the plan: Strong left bubble screen.
We break the huddle, and I and our strong tackle line up to the left, only to turn our heads and see a massive, unmistakable, gaping hole where the strong guard was supposed to be. Despite being told the formation twice, we'd lined up Tight End-Tackle-Giant Empty Space-Center-Guard-Guard-Tackle.
In retrospect, with no timeouts left, we'd have been better off taking a delay of game and drawing up a new play, this time in strong right to better accentuate our strong guard's mental talents.
Only, this was a winless eighth grade football team. We weren't the smartest cleats on the shoe. Our poor quarterback snapped the ball, then was immediately swallowed by two Temple defenders who'd rushed through the open space our strong guard generously provided.
We finished the year winless and discovered a new and creative way to embarrass our school.
One other quick story. The defensive tackle I referenced in the tweet below -- an All-State player who played a little college ball -- also moonlighted as a fullback. In his exhaustion as a two-way player, he looked over to the sideline and tapped his helmet, the unmistakable Football Sign Language sign that he needed a blow. The ball happened to be near the goal line on the far hash from our sideline at this time, and so as the coaches sent in reinforcements, our guy made a conscious choice.
Too tired to run the 40-ish yards to our sideline by the time the offense snapped the ball, he pivoted to his left and made the shorter trot to the opponent's sideline. There, in a sea of white jerseys, he stood in his home blue. The opposing head coach went nuts, but the move -- bold and daring as it was -- went unpenalized by the officials.
Now, to your stories.
I am here for all punting mishap stories.
Got any tales of football folly? Hit me up on
What's the funniest thing you've ever seen happen during a football game?
Mine: One of our defensive tackles vomited *directly onto the ball*, a ball the opposing center already had his (gloved) hand on.
— Zach Barnett (@zach_barnett) April 15, 2020
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