Wednesday, August 15, 2007


The most important moment of Monday night’s whitewashing of the Eagles may have been a combination of two plays during the first drive of the game. Willis McGahee ran off tackle for 16 yards followed by a play-action fake by Steve McNair and a 22-yard toss to Todd Heap. By all accounts, this is what the Ravens offense will look like in 2007 as the new burst in the backfield will freeze defenses for an extra second, giving McNair enough time to find Mason, Clayton, Williams, Heap and anyone else Brian Billick and Rich Neuheisel choose to send downfield.

But you knew all that. We all knew all that. Ozzie sure knew it when he brought Willis to Baltimore. Fantasy football forecasters seem to have known that as mock-drafts across the net have the Ravens running back amongst the top ten at his position and both Clayton and Williams listed as possible breakout performers at wide receiver. And of course Willis knew that as he relayed to the press after the game, “I told the receivers that they’re going to love me this year.” And because everyone knew this was going to happen, another moment from Monday night would prove to be the most memorable. And if you don’t remember, don’t worry; you can now watch it again as often as you’d like. That’s because on a punt return in the 2nd half, Ravens rookie linebacker Antwan Barnes YouTubed Eagles kicker Sav Rocca.

There is no more posterizing in the digital age. In the time it would take to merely develop the film, more than 12,000 fans have already replayed the footage on their computers and shared it with their friends and family. And despite the premier of “Jacked Up” still a few weeks away, the play made the rounds across the ESPN family of networks within hours of the final whistle.

Of course Barnes is still a first year professional and was modest when describing his first game at M&T Bank Stadium as he told the Baltimore Sun, “For my first game, I think I did pretty well.” Fortunately for all Ravens fans, Bart Scott’s ascension in the ranks now allows him to speak a little more freely and he was quoted describing the rookie linebacker as “a beast.”

News of the beast sighting made its way across the oceans the conventional way as well as The Australian reported on the debut of Rocca, a former Australian Rules Football player for the North Melbourne Kangaroos (he played for other teams as well, but the Kangaroos just fit the stereotype perfectly). In the article, Rocca was quoted as saying, "He got me pretty good actually.” Actually, the reporter for the Aussie paper, David Nason, had the best description as he characterized the hit as a “crash tackle.”

Barnes’ big play is yet another moment that will live on, literally, on the servers of YouTube for years to come. However, although the website is only two and half years old, Antwan will now share hard drive space with some of the greatest sports clips of all time, including three examples I found by the time Rocca found his helmet. In no particular order, I give you a fans-eye-view of Barry Bonds’ recording breaking home run; the antithesis of the Ravens draft history in an NFL Draft montage of the New York Jets selections and fan reactions over the years; and in the wake of Madden ‘08 fever, although those commercials are spot on, the single greatest video game athlete in the post-Atari era, Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson.

The list goes on and although Barnes is playing for playing time in Baltimore, his crash tackle against the Eagles will continue to receive airtime around the world.

1 comment:

Jarrett said...

Only Bo Jackson is capable of such Tecmo Bowl wizadry.