Watching Colt McCoy try to hold back tears was a lot harder than I thought it would've been. After Tim Tebow, it's hard to find a college athlete over the last four years that's been as over exposed as he has. His name or visage has been in or on every college football commercial, watch list, draft board, and "best player" discussion for the last three years. His face has been everywhere. And as a result, a certain amount of animus has been built up. There are a lot of people who just don't like him.
I really can't figure out why. He seems like a good kid. He can tell a bad joke and laugh at himself. His teammates like him. He grows a horrible pornstache. He's a damn good football player (completing something near 70% of his passes. Repeat that until it actually computes. 70%.). Yet somehow he became the bad guy to a lot of people. I'm still not quite sure how that happened, but it did.
And then there was the game. A game he'd waited more than a year to play about getting jobbed out of the opportunity by the BCS and a team he and his teammates had pummeled earlier last season. On the second series of the National Championship game Marcell Dareus helmet found the critical spot on McCoy's throwing shoulder, sending the two time Heisman finalist to the bench, permanently. It wasn't a dirty hit. It was clean. A normal tackle. One that McCoy had received thousands of times over the course of his football career. But somehow it found the nerve, dulling sensation in McCoy's shoulder and making his right arm a senseless, useless appendage for the evening.
Life is simply unfair. He'd never missed a game and now he was forced to watch the defining game of his college career from the sidelines. I can't imagine that. It just doesn't compute. Congratulations Mr. McCoy, you just won the lottery and by the way, the planet ends tomorrow.
In the long run this will be a minor unpleasant memory for McCoy. There was truly nothing he could do to change it, so I hope and pray it won't be something he rehashes in the long term. More than likely he will go on to successful pro career and make enough money that he can retire at half the age that I will be able to. But for one evening, it seemed like he was cheated by fate.
And it wasn't just Colt or the Texas fans that seemed to be dealt a bad hand. In particular I look at the Alabama team as a whole. They won the national championship outright. No questions asked. They won. But until kickoff this August, the Tide faithful will have to hear about how it would've been a different story with McCoy, how the outcome would have been different.
Maybe. But Alabama did what good teams do, they took their opponent's best player out of the game. Whether McCoy's absence inducing hit was "manly enough" or brutal enough is immaterial. Alabama took him out of the game. That's why they won. Even so, a legitimate win will be somehow diminished by certain people because McCoy didn't come back to play in the game. How that makes sense is beyond me.
What's most troubling about last night's game is that the conclusion of an interesting season will somehow be left open by the media. Unfinished. Despite the final score, the fact that there are no more games to be played, and that a big crystal ball was handed around a podium, I have to admit that the game itself was anti-climatic.
It was close, but it really didn't feel that way. The battle of stars it was billed to be never materialized. The game should've been compelling, but to anyone outside of Texas or Alabama, it wasn't. The season is over. Bama is the champion. But we didn't get the game we had built it up to be.
But that's life. Just ask Colt McCoy.