FANS STUNNED AS GAME ENDS IN THEOLOGICAL DISARRAY
Cincinnati, December 12 -
Cincinnati fans watched in stunned disbelief as the final seconds ticked off the Bengals’ scoreboard in Sunday night’s playoff game. With only three seconds left on the clock, and Cincinnati kicker Wade Kniceley poised to boot the winning field goal from the Cleveland fourteen yard line, Browns linebacker Z. D. Ford broke through the line untouched and blocked Kniceley’s kick. The ball caromed off Kniceley’s helmet and bounced high in the air. Ford caught the ball without breaking stride, and raced eighty-one yards to clinch the win for Cleveland.
As Ford neared the Cincinnati goal line, he slowed, raised his right hand, and pointed heavenward with his index finger, giving God all the glory for enabling him to make the play and for granting victory to the Browns.
George Winsapp, the Cincinnati holder, had already thrown both arms into the air, with a finger on each hand pointed skyward, in anticipation of the dramatic field goal, and appeared momentarily to be at a loss about what to do with his hands when Ford streaked past him, heading the other way. As recognition hit, he pointed at fullback Darren Billups, who had failed to pick up the blitzing linebacker, and began screaming at Billups in a voice that could be heard in the press box. Billups, in turn, wheeled around and pointed a finger at right tackle Aaron McWhorter, who was beaten badly on the play.
McWhorter, however, was glaring upward, pointing his finger accusingly and screaming, demanding to know why God had abandoned him, and was unaware of Billups’s action. Kniceley, meanwhile, who had been confident in his aim when his foot hit the pigskin, pointed downward in rage, blaming the Evil One for frustrating his team’s hopes and pinning them with the devastating loss.
As Browns fans began to pour onto the field, jumping and screaming in jubilation, several frustrated Bengals players were seen to gesture at them with an upraised middle finger.
Cincinnati fans, meanwhile, who had anticipated seeing both Winsapp and Kniceley point toward heaven in jubilation, found themselves caught up a flurry of unexpected fingering. Their heads spun as credit and blame flew upward, downward, and sideways. Several fans pulled out paperback editions of Good News for Modern Man, searching for guidance in allocating responsibility for the game’s outcome. Many appeared to be attempting to contact their clergy by cellphone.
© Tony Russell, 2006