Joseph Harper was so inspired by the agony of Blair Walsh’s choke against the Seahawks on Monday that he spent two days creating an extraordinary game in tribute.
My Dad loves the NFL. When I visit him in Christchurch he’s almost always glued to the family computer, watching emo New England Patriots retrospectives or cracking up at Dave Dameshek’s bag of shame. Because of that I casually follow the big gridiron. My brother and I barrack for the Seattle Seahawks.
I don’t usually sit down and watch games in full because they go for ages and are kind of boring. But during the playoffs I usually dip in. On Monday morning the Seahawks faced off against the Vikings. The Vikings of Minnesota boast the kind of tortured history that builds strong self-loathing and leads to near-constant assumed despair.
They’ve never won a Super Bowl. In 1998 the team went 15-2 and after completing a perfect season (not missing a single field goal or extra point) their kicker Gary Anderson missed a potential game winner from 38 yards in a game the Vikings ended up losing.
In 2009, future hall of famer Brett Favre led the Vikings to the NFC Championship game. Then threw an interception in the final minute of the fourth quarter to gift the game to the soon to be Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.
The Seahawks were seemingly peaking toward the end of this year’s regular season. I assumed they’d hand the Vikings and their inexperienced quarterback, “Teddy”, and arguably villainous running back, their walking papers.
It was -21°c in Minnesota and the game was suitable icy. The Vikings led through the first part of the game via the big booted heroics of their kicker, Blair Walsh. Walsh drilled 3 from 3 in the arctic conditions and according to Bill Simmons, was “kick[ing] the shit outta kickoffs”.
Seattle came back and took a 10-9 lead thanks to some crazy nonsense from their QB and Macklemore associate, Russell Wilson, and their defensive unit, The Legion of Boom. But some piss-poor clock management let the Vikings drive downfield to the 27 yard line with 26 seconds remaining, setting up Walsh to seal the deal with a gimme field goal. Walsh is a great kicker. Through his career, Walsh hit 96.8% of his attempts from that distance. It’s the equivalent of in sevens when they score a try and whoever is up there at the time just smacks a droppie through the posts because it’s so easy and pointless that it basically doesn’t matter.
So I figured the Seahawks were screwed. I started hanging out the washing. That’s how done and dusted it was. Then this happened:
It’s nuts. Like most people, I couldn’t believe it. Obviously you feel for the the guy. But also… how do you gank that kick?! I decided to pay tribute to this amazing sporting moment by making this game in 48 hours I had spare. Enjoy.