Let’s presume for a moment that the claim Clowney “mailed it in” this year to protect his business interests is true. Does it matter?
“That’s weird, a Michigan helmet just rolled into my room.”
– Grabhammer, YouTube (May 2013)
Nope. Not weird at all, Grabhammer. I saw the Wolverine football hardware on my street heading north sometime in early February. It was moving so fast the facemask got caught on the edge of a manhole cover and pried the thing loose like a can opener popping the cap on a Yuengling.
The good people of Tennessee say it caused an eight-car pileup on I-75; folks in Kentucky blamed it for rolling power outages; and in the report filed with the Coast Guard, a fisherman on Lake Erie mistook the helmet for the Loch Ness Monster. I’m just relieved to hear it finally came to a stop before anyone was seriously injured.
While none of us reporting these events have visual proof of this helmet’s odyssey – an improbable journey of three and one-quarter longitudinal laps around the earth that spanned approximately 74,945 miles before it rolled to a stop in Grabhammer’s man cave – scientists have a working theory of how it happened. They have traced its beginnings – the launch event – to January 1, 2013 in Tampa, Florida.
Launch Event. I couldn’t think of a better description of what happens to Michigan running back Vincent Smith and his helmet on this 1st-and-10 play with 8:22 left in the Outback Bowl against South Carolina.
The ESPN caption of the universally viewed YouTube clip I’m about to share reads “a rush for a loss of 8 yards.” It’s technically correct, but how does one classify what happens above as a “rush” if Smith never took a step with ball in his hands? “Rush attempt” is a more accurate description. After all, Michigan did at least try a running play. There are options I like more: Mugging. Ball jacking. Annihilation.
Yet there isn’t a better term to describe the play that sent this Michigan Wolverine helmet into a temporary orbit around the earth than the phrase “Launch Event.” The ignition for the world’s first momentum-powered land-based satellite is South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. For those of you who just got out of solitary confinement, here is this proper introduction to the best prospect of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Before scientists defined the travels of this maize and blue helmet as an orbit, fantasy football writer Ryan Boser artfully named this play the “Jacapitation.” Actually, he used the past verb tense “Jacapitated,” as in “Vincent Smith’s helmet, and any sense of bravado he once possessed as a big-time college football player, was Jacapitated from his head on the afternoon of January 1, 2013.”
Clowney is a game-changing talent. Kirk Herbstreit sums it up best when he says that Clowney is to the defensive end position what Calvin Johnson is to wide receiver.