INDIANAPOLIS -- Ten feet. I was 10 feet from Tom Brady's final Hail Mary pass that fell incomplete Sunday night.
And that final play. The ball was impossibly high and came down into a gaggle of players. Rob Gronkowski leaped, seemingly 10 feet, as the ball hit the ground. The crowd roared. Confetti streamed down to the field. As long as I live, I'll never forget the image of that pass, of being that close.
There's a bit of a disconnect when you watch a game from the field or the stands compared to seeing it on TV. It's hard to see when players are dominating, it's hard to see the rhythm.
Wes Welker's inability to come down with Tom Brady's pass with four minutes to go looked like a huge missed opportunity on TV, I'm sure. In the stadium? You could tell it was the missed knockout punch. It was letting the Giants up off the mat. The game could have been over, but instead the Giants had life. New England wasn't going to convert another third and long, and that was when I knew the Giants were going to win. And that was when the fans in the stands knew it too.
With five seconds remaining in the game, an entire season hung unresolved in the time it took for the ball to go from Brady's hand to fall incomplete on that final play.
My dad texted me after the game and asked why I didn't run onto the field to get the ball when the game ended if I was so close. I reminded him who I worked for and then he said if that was the case I should have been able to go try and catch it. He was kidding. I think.
But then I thought about it (while trying to take a picture next to Eli Manning's new Corvette): Would it have been worth it to throw my career away, and risk incredible injury, to run out on the field and try to catch the Hail Mary? I'm laughing as I'm typing this because I would never have done it, and don't condone it but what if?
Let's play it out for grins and giggles. I would have been immortal. I would have been the ultimate fan man. I would never truly die because it would have become THE most famous play in NFL history, and they'd play that highlight 60 years from now.
But I also saw this part of it. I imagine some anchor running down the highlights of the top 10 Super Bowl plays of all time and getting to No. 1 and saying, "And we all remember when former NFL personality Jason Smith ran onto the field to catch the Hail Mary at the end of Super Bowl XLVI. As you know, Gronkowski made the catch off the deflection for the score and the Giants wanted to do the play over and were denied. Smith was fired while receiving treatment in the hospital for a cracked skull, and later on spent the rest of his life eating mashed potatoes in a wheelchair."