Friday, December 7, 2012

What might have been

Just like y'all, still working my way through this.

I've been thinking this week about signature plays. Ones that not only help define a game but also put that player(s) on the Shelf of Legends at Butts-Mehre. The best example to get where I'm coming from is - would you remember Verron Haynes so easily without the Hobnail Boot play? Sure, he later rushed his tail off against Ole Miss when we absolutely had to have him at tailback, but it was because of that play in Knoxville that he's so easily recognizable, mostly due to the importance of the win.

Others that came to me in a rush: Fred Gibson's finger tip catch on the hard slant route in Jacksonville 2004, Michael Johnson's catch on the Plains to send Georgia to the SECCG for the first time, Tra Battle on the Plains as well in 2006, and of course Pollack's circus interception in Columbia 2002.

So here's where it gets hard for me. And I have yet to watch the replay of it; I'm only going by the raw footage in my brain that continually torments me. So I will probably miss a play or two. But there are so many guys on this year's roster that were so incredibly close to achieving that "status" in last week's SEC Championship game.
Mike Ehrmann
For instance, the first one that comes to mind is Tavarres King's catch on the last drive where he knew two things going in: 1) he was going to get nailed, and 2) he HAD to catch it. And he did. It was heroic and as full of courage as it was skill. For all I know T King will have another incredible day January 1st, 2013 in Orlando like he did on the first day of 2012 in Tampa. But for me, that catch in the Georgia Dome will be the cherry on top of an incredible career wearing the "G".

And of course there are others. Washington blocking the field goal that Tree returned for a touchdown really helped carry us later in the game; it was a confident shot in the arm. Gurley carrying Bama defenders that were draped all over him was a highlight to his award winning season.

Aaron Murray...just pick a throw, damn. I mean the guy was one lousy tipped pass away from immortalizing himself as one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in Georgia Bulldog history. It's one thing to have records, it's quite another to have a game winning play on the biggest of stages. And damnit if Aaron Murray didn't deserve just that. Every shot he took, he just kept getting up and making even bigger throws.

Don't get me wrong, the fact that Alabama ended up winning the game doesn't diminish these guys' careers in Athens. Not one bit. They're all damn good Dawgs, every single player on that sideline this season.

It's just the what might have been that haunts us. As that final second drained from the clock my eyes turned to Murray and I was reminded that my pain and my hurt was but a fraction of what he was feeling. I saw Chris Burnette walking slowly in disbelief towards the locker room and Kenarious Gates doubled over near the goal line. They had proven themselves as champions, and still...STILL were left to wonder, what might have been.