Yesterday’s Championship Sunday in the NFL may go down as one of the most memorable Championship Sunday’s off all time. From the way it began all the way to how it ended.
Starting the day off the world was awoken to the news that Joe Paterno died of cancer. After being reported falsely by CBSSports.com late Saturday night that he died family members came out saying that the reports weren’t true and that Paterno was still fighting. However, come Sunday January 22nd Joseph Vincent Paterno had passed away.
Moving on from Paterno’s death the Baltimore Ravens would take the field at Foxboro, Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots. It was a back and fourth game from the start but the scoring would be put on hold after the Patriots took the lead off of a Tom Brady touchdown early in the fourth quarter giving the Patriots the lead 23-20.
However despite not being able to score sooner, the Ravens with 29 seconds remaining had a chance to win the game; until it happened. It was a 2nd and 1, ball on the 14 yard line when Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco stepped back, fake, then threw into double coverage to wide receiver Lee Evans, touchdown! The announcer exclaimed. However Patriots safety, Sterling Moore would knock the ball lose forcing Evans to drop the ball, ending in an incomplete pass and no touchdown.
Though it wasn’t over yet as it was 3rd down with 22 seconds left and the Ravens still had one more timeout. Flacco would try to complete a pass to tight end Dennis Pitta however it would end up incomplete as well. Though, it still wasn’t over as the Ravens were in field goal range and they were down by two.
It was a 32 yard field goal, an easy one, a gimmie, right? All Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff had to do was just step back and kick it as he was faced with a kickers dream. Instead it happened again. Cundiff’s kick was up and wide left. The home crowd was lifted by a sea of cheers as the New England Patriots were going to the Super Bowl.
Next up was a showdown between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. It was another back and fourth game that the 49ers were leading heading into the fourth quarter when they made another stop on defense forcing the Giants to punt. It appeared that with the 49ers getting the ball back again, that the Giants Super Bowl hopes were dwindling as with 11:17 left on the clock and trailing by four things just didn’t look good. But then, it happened again.
It was a punt that was almost blocked by the 49ers that ended up traveling close to 50 yards until being waved off as a fair catch by returned Kyle Williams. However, Giants wide receiver Mario Mannigham who came running down the field picked the ball up and continued running until he reached the end zone where he signaled that the ball hit Williams’ knee. After looking at a replay, it did appear that the ball did hit Willimams’ knee which meant Giants ball at the 20 yard line.
Then seven plays later after the Williams turnover, touchdown Giants, 17-14 Giants lead. However unlike Evans and Cundiff, Williams was luckily bailed out by the 49ers great defensive play and kicker David Akers as he would kick the game tying field goal to send the game to overtime.
Then in overtime after stopping the Giants offense yet again, the 49ers would force them to punt. However it happened again. Instead of calling a fair catch like he did last time, Williams, caught the ball and began running until falling to his feet. But that wasn’t it as when he was falling, he lost the ball and after reviewing the play, it was a fumble, Giants ball.
Despite being in field goal range the Giants ran the ball a couple times to assure the win as they too heard about the Cundiff miss and didn’t want it to happen to them. However, it would happen again. Though not another crazy screw up or a miss, but Patriots, Giants, Super Bowl rematch…the improbable prediction, would happen again.