I Thought Vince Young Was Finished

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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. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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