The college football season is finally upon us. The long sports winter has finally come to an end! The mere prospect of real, meaningful football has gotten me excited for the past week. This past Tuesday, the first day of school at UNC, I had not taken twenty steps onto campus before saying “hey” to Joe Dailey (what I should have said was “interception!”). I then headed straight for Kenan Stadium, one of the best college stadiums in America (to watch a football game? not so much lately…but that will change soon enough).
Looking onto the field began the synapses in my head, and my mind began racing with anticipation of this Saturday. Still, I think we all need a real adrenaline rush to get us pumped up before the college football season. So this post is dedicated to the single greatest play in all of football: the decleater. A hit so hard that it knocks your opponent clean off his feet.
Why is it this game’s greatest play? Because it works on so many levels. The mere hit acts as a simple but effective means of physical intimidation on your opponent for the rest of the game. When a receiver gets knocked to the turf by a safety, he’s going to think twice about running a route in the middle of the field. When a defender is decleated on a huge block, he knows to keep his head on a swivel for the rest of the game. When a running back runs you over, it could ruin you psychologically for an entire season. And when the home team delivers a big decleater, everyone watching the game notices, jumps out of their seats, and cheers their lungs out. It can be the ultimate home field advantage.
Not a single play in football, not even a touchdown, is more motivating than a bone-crushing hit. Before we begin the season anew, we must pay homage. And what better way to do that than a huge supply of YouTube decleaters?
We’ll start with some big defensive hits:
What’s better that a decleating hit on defense? A bone-crushing block on offense!
This one is special because it’s a quarterback who make the huge block, and he drills two guys:
The best decleaters, however, have to be the ones delivered by running backs on unsuspecting defensive backs. And in college, few were better at it than Florida State’s Greg Jones.
This final hit I was (un?)fortunate enough to see live, in Kenan Stadium. It was the first game of the 2003 season, August 30th. The last time my Tar Heels met the Seminoles in Chapel Hill, we destroyed them 41-9 for Bunting’s first career win en route to a six-game winning streak and an 8-5 record in 2001, including a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn. After that the last of Mack’s recruits left, and the bottom fell out in 2002. Still, we had UNC’s best-ever QB in Darian Durant, who had been hurt for most of the previous year. So I was somewhat optimistic that Coach Bunting could turn things around in 2003. (By the way: to those of you cursing out UNC’s QB situation from last year, I have one name for you: C.J. Stephens. Just the thought of him under center will keep me awake tonight.)
Any hope I had for that season was destroyed on this play.
Ugh. Not very good memories. I need to cleanse my palate a bit:
That’s better. Okay, NOW I’m ready to greet this season the right way, and I hope that this helpd you to get ready as well.