I Thought Vince Young Was Finished





There's a shot of Vince Young at the end of this drive, after he's won the game, that I love. He's standing near the fans shaking his head up and down, and slapping their hands. The shot says something beautiful that I'm having trouble naming (Damn right? I told you so? I think it's more than that.)

It's extremely important that I tell you that I thought Vince Young was done. While we're at it, I thought Brett Favre was done too--but for other reasons. I'm bringing this up because I think people shouldn't confuse thinking someone's done, with wanting them to be done. For all my chatter about the impending end, it's been a joy to watch Favre this year. I don't care how much the pundits love him. I love him for my own reasons.

Likewise, for Vince Young, but even more. That drive yesterday is why I watch football. For people who think it's only about the hits, I'd show them this. There's something almost super-biographical about it. I called football a narrative earlier this year, and maybe that's not quite right. Myth, maybe?  Watching a guy go from the bottom, watching  him come back better at his job, and then, against incomparable odds, arrive at a moment where it all depended on a choice, is resonant. (Especially when, like me, you've spent a good part of your life considering yourself a fuck-up.)

I'm struggling a bit, here. I guess this is what's important: I watched that drive with my son yesterday. He loves Vince Young, and since Week three, or so, he's been asking when they're going to play him again. I called Kenyatta--who has roots in Tennessee and thinks Jeff Fisher looks like a Civil War general--over from her studies to after they crossed their own 30. When Vince threw that touchdown, the boy just lit up and this whole apartment went crazy.

I love the Cowboys and my son loves the Giants, and my Dad loved the Eagles. (Except when Doug Williams played for the Redskins.) But I don't just remember Troy Aikman hitting Alvin Harper in the 92 championship. I remember Steve Young hitting Terrell Owens in the divisional playoffs against Green Bay. I remember Randall Cunningham hitting Fred Barnett for 95 yards, with Bruce Smith breathing down his neck. And every time I think of those moments, I get warm and happy. Vince Young gave me, my partner and my kid one of those moments yesterday. I swear it makes living a little easier.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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