The Sunday of Week 14 was great fun for NFL fans. We saw upsets, overtimes, walk-offs, even a no-look pass. But nothing topped what went down in Miami.
The play had it all. A double lateral, Kenyan Drake's tremendous rope-a-dope near the 40 before his desperate dash and, of course, the sight of Rob Gronkowski -- surprisingly inserted into the game by the Great Belichick -- making a last-gasp lumber toward Drake, his only reward for the effort a facemask full of Bermuda grass. Considering the unlikelihood of the result and everything the Pats represent as the opponent, it is absolutely in the discussion for play of the decade.
Listen, I get it. Alliteration is king when coining these nicknames, and I'll admit that Miami Miracle has a nice ring to it. But, and maybe it's just me -- OK, it's almost definitely just me -- but I'm a little MIRACLE'd out. We've lost control of the word. Consider the history here when going down the list of some of the most famous plays in NFL history:
-- Miracle In The Meadowlands
-- Music City Miracle
-- Monday Night Miracle
-- Miracle At The Meadowlands II
-- Minneapolis Miracle
That's a lot of miracles! Honestly, how many plays can one sport attribute to divine agency? We have to be nearing a limit here.
In the good old days -- I'm sprouting gray hairs from my ears as I type this -- nicknames for famous NFL plays had style. Panache. They told a story, and they were sometimes as famous as the plays they catalogued. The Immaculate Reception. The Holy Roller. The Hail Mary. This was three-word poetry. I have a working and totally unresearched theory that the sad and ferocious downsizing of newsrooms across America has led directly to the dearth of imagination in the nickname game. Absent paid professionals to immortalize these plays, we've turned to Twitter -- never the brightest bulb in humanity's technological box -- to handle the job. And what's Twitter all about? Speed over beauty -- it's all about a term that can be quickly and efficiently hashtagged for maximum viral effect. Hence, the miracle epidemic.
But enough of my half-baked (if probably correct) culture theories. What I'm here to say today is that we can be better. Let's use the events of Sunday afternoon in Miami Gardens as a turning point in the NFL moniker game. If the creation and curation of nicknames is now truly the responsibility of the public, let's hold ourselves to a higher standard. It starts here:
The response to my tweet was swift and emphatic. The people wanted to help. This was a welcome reminder that humans can come together for the greater good. Call it a Christmas mira ... unlikelihood.
OK, here's the top 15, based on your submissions. I'd like to say my No. 1 instantly becomes the recognized replacement for the Miami Miracle. But I can't control that. It's really up to you.
Oh, grow up, people. (It was a 69-yard play, though.)
Funny, bitter tears.
Only problem here is that this stadium changes its name every 15 minutes. I miss Joe Robbie.
It rhymes ... and it's educational!
I mean ... wow. We did it, folks.