On an NFL kickoff, when the ball reaches its apex then begins to descend-from that point to the moment it reaches the returner’s hands or hits the ground-how long does that take? Two seconds?
In a game that was finally great to watch, one that began with a rare touchdown bomb between Jay Cutler and Devin Hester, I wanted to recount my thoughts for two seconds prior to Hester’s 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Literally within two seconds, watching the ball hit its apex and land in Hester’s hands just below my north end zone seats, my series of thoughts were:
- Wow-they are actually kicking to Hester! It’s rare for a kickoff to not land deep in the end zone these days. This is rare?
- Awesome-love every rare opportunity to see this guy return a kickoff.
- Hang on, self, just because Hester actually gets the ball on the two yard line doesn’t mean he’s going to come close to returning the kick 98 yards for a touchdown….don’t you realize how rare it really is to return a kickoff for a touchdown?
Boom….bam….he’s gone, the entire stadium is celebrating, and once again I am in awe of Devin Hester.
Someday I’ll have to go back and count the number of Hester return touchdowns I’ve been able to witness in person (including his amazing two-kickoff return TD night in St. Louis in 2006, which I was fortunate to witness in person). But it occurred to me that I need to start celebrating how lucky I’ve been to once again watch a Chicago Bear that is better than anyone in NFL history at his position.
I was lucky to have been able to watch Walter Payton run for the final eight seasons of his career. I knew at the time how special it was to watch Payton run, believe me. But the perspective of a kid is much different than that of an adult at my age. During Payton’s final season I was eager for the page to be turned; maybe I didn’t savor every last chance I had to watch him run.
After watching Bears teams being fielded with an overall dearth of talent for mush of the last 15-20 years, I am enjoying every moment I have to watch the all-time great kick returner play for my team. I’ll be making sure to tell my son to appreciate what he’s seeing.