That's what the guys on ESPN called it: Situational Football. They were referring to a play in the San Diego/Denver game in which the Chargers needed four yards and were going to punt from inside their own ten yard line. The Broncos, who were behind by two touchdowns, and they really needed to get the ball back. What they they jumped offsides, resulting in a five yard penalty and a first down for the Chargers. If the defensive lineman who jumped across the line would have simply stayed put, the worst that would have happened was that the Broncos would have the ball back with a chance to make up some of those fourteen points. That didn't happen. The Broncos lost to the Chargers.
In the big scheme of things, it didn't matter a lot. The Broncos are still in the playoffs, and the Chargers are still clinging to a hope that they might make it there too, but it did affect my week. This past week has been cold, for Northern California standards, and so I have been wearing my Broncos windshirt outside to do yard duty and after school. This means more parents have noticed my team affiliation. Here in Oakland, that can be a dicey thing. I have had a number of polite but charged conversations with parents and caregivers about my favorite football team. One particular grandmother, who was well-versed in the ways of the gridiron, was curious about the Denver Broncos' chances with a defense that was giving up somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-seven points per game. I shrugged and gave her my best answer: "I guess that's why they keep playing the games. You never know exactly how they're going to turn out." That mildly uncomfortable situation was part of my own experience with football. That's why I keep watching those games.