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For all of us, football is a weekly ritual from September to January…It’s what we live for. No matter what kind of clusterf****tish we have going on in our everyday lives, football, (at least for a few hours anyway) is a great distraction…No matter how bad ones favorite team blows. Puts the mind at ease.
And so was the case yesterday what happened in Tampa, Florida. While us as fans treat the flying pigskin as religion, for the players that play on Sunday, well, it’s their job. Now we often rag on players in the league for various reasons, (too many to mention) we often joke around that kickers in the NFL aren’t really football players…As we make fun of them trying to attempt making a tackle, lunging and grasping nothing but air in doing so. Or having that Gero Yepremian version in our heads as he attempted, (I think) in Super Bowl VII. Yes, we all give kickers the business! Although, it can’t be argued that Matt Bryant wasn’t the toughest player to put on an NFL uniform yesterday!
It just can’t! Not when you consider that fact that a day after burying his three-month-old son, Bryant not only showed up for work, but he kicked three field goals, including a 24-yarder with 2:28 left that proved to be the difference in the Buccaneers victory over the Packers. First off this is nothing short of remarkable that Matt even showed up to work! Hell, lets take you or I for example…If this shit happened to us, there’d be no way in hell that we’d be showing up to our 7-11 job a day after burying our son asking customers how much they want on pump 4 out there! Or if somebody was bitching and complaining that we were out of slurppees, we just as soon go Kimbo Slice on their ass! How surreal must that have been for him yesterday…On the football field, doing his job. It had to have been all blurred together as I imagine the game was played out in slow-motion silence.
What Bryant was able to do yesterday defies words…It really is! He wasn’t trying to be a tough guy, one who’d play through the pain…Wasn’t trying to suck it up for the team and play through an injury. The pain that he has is unlike any of us have felt…And hopefully haven’t felt, or will never feel! Having our world crash in all around us…As we keep echoing that same sentiment. Why? Why? Why? Now true, just as I mentioned about football giving us the fans a temporary distraction from our real lives, I’m sure Bryant would echo that, for this was his three hour escape! Unfortunately, it is only temporary…And as those remaining 2:28 slowly ticked away, the distraction went bye-bye and Kimbo Slice reappeared punching Matt in the gut once again!
I don’t think this can even put what Matt did into context, but the reality is what Bryant did against the Packers transcends any vague sense we might have of football toughness. Also, the reality is in a sports world of today where athletes are always thinking about themselves…Looking out for number one and in a time where it could be deemed necessary to look out and take care of oneself, Matt Bryant didn’t blink! Rather showing up for work as though nothing ever happened…When he’s an emotional wreck inside!
Yes, we tend to rip kickers often…Although, perhaps we see them in a totally different light now! One thing for sure, Matt Bryant you are the toughest player quite possible ever to step foot onto a football field!! RIP Tryson!
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