It was one of the greatest moments in recent New Orleans Saints history. A 37-yard field goal by kicker Garrett Hartley(notes) sailed through the uprights as time wound down in Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The narrow three-point win gave New Orleans a 14-1 record and home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.
It so pleased Saints owner Tom Benson that he celebrated with his wife, Gayle, like they had just won a Super Tuesday primary; arms raised and clapsed triumphantly in the air as conquering heroes, with deep eye contact that seemed to say "we did it," both of which built into a slow embrace that was part exultation part relief. Finally!
But then Tom realizes something's up. The only cheering in the Superdome is coming from his owner's box. Everyone else is silent. His wife's hug and the pom-pom waving in his face are distractions from the slowly growing realization that something is amiss, namely the kick from Hartley's foot.
"Hey. Hey... hop off for a second. I don't think it was good. No, he missed it. Seriously, Gayle, he pushed it left. I thought it was good! The ref put his hands up, I swear! Can we challenge this? Somebody get me Sean! I want to dance!
Unlike Donovan McNabb, however, Tom Benson knew that a missed kick in a tie game leads to an extra session of play called "overtime." But Benson's disappointment would only compound there, as the Bucs successfuly kicked a game-winner of their own during OT.
Benson will have plenty of chances to celebrate over the next few weeks. The Superdome will host a rare playoff game and New Orleans figures to be the NFC favorite to make it to the Super Bowl. If any of that happens though, I bet Tom Benson will wait until the last possible moment to began his celebration.
The full animated GIF can be seen at mocksession.com
- Tom Benson
- New Orleans