October 13, 2015
Thanks to a last-second, 1-yard touchdown on Monday Night Football, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the San Diego Chargers 24-20. Blah, blah, blah. Whatever.
That wasn't the most important thing that happened during the game. This was: With just over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers hit Antonio Gates on an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Then, the cameras caught him doing this:
For those of us who weren't watching the game -- but were watching Twitter -- the narrative became "OMG, did you see Philip Rivers just punch a bird out of mid-air?"
And, I'll tell you what: It was amazing. You had this guy facing off against a Michael Vick-led team, ostensibly doing what Mr. Miyagi did with chopsticks to a tiny fly on a national stage. Sure, empathy kicked in some worry about that poor little bird, but it was still a remarkable story.
Phillip Rivers just legit punched a bird... pic.twitter.com/iTT8r0tpPY— NFL Humor (@NFLHumor) October 13, 2015
If you told me "Some athlete punched a bird." Phillip Rivers would be my first guess, sight unseen.— H. Jose Bosch (@HJBosch21) October 13, 2015
The pushback was ugly but ineffective insofar as I refuse to believe their account of the event. Facts are facts, but whimsical fantasies do have a place in this world. So, despite evidence to the contrary, I will hold firm in my beliefs that lead to tweets like this:
Nothing anyone can say can convince me Phillip Rivers didn't punch a bird last night.— Brian P. Hickey (@BrianPHickey) October 13, 2015
If I can still sit here saying that the Cubs are going to win the World Series in a couple weeks, what's the harm in pretending an arrogant NFL quarterback cast aside any sense of morality and punched a harmless bird that made the mistake of flying too close to his gloveless hand?
None. No harm at all.