The 2001 New Orleans Saints came into Week 8 with a 4-2 record and were coming off the 2000 season which saw the franchise win its first ever playoff game. The Saints' opponent in the Superdome for Week 8 were the 4-3 New York Jets. The mid-season showdown aired on ESPN's Sunday Night Football and was a primetime showcase for the defending NFC West Champions.
The Saints offense struggled throughout the game but found themselves in position to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. With just 1:14 remaining in regulation, the Saints trailed 16-9 but had the ball in Jets territory. It was 2nd & 3 at the Jets 6 when Aaron Brooks ran a play scrambling to the left for a 2 yard gain. At the conclusion of the play, Jets safety Damien Robinson felt it necessary to grab Brooks' facemask and pull it to the point of extending Brooks' torso as his lower body was still caught beneath defenders.
Kyle Turley was first on the scene and defended his quarterback by reciprocating the act to Robinson. Of course, a scrum between the two ensued on the Superdome turf as members of both teams looked on. Referees tugged and pulled at the two as Turley proceeded to rip off Robinson's helmet while keeping his head intact. Turley emerged crawling from the pile, helmet-less himself, with a Jets helmet in hand, and proceeded to toss it in the air with defiance.
The ensuing penalties cost the Saints field position, and ultimately the game. Following the loss, the Saints only won 3 more games for the remainder of the season, finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs.
I'll start the conversation:
I spent the earlier part of that evening watching baseball with my then roommate who was/is a devoted Yankees fan. That night was Game 7 of the 2001 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks, an infamous game in baseball history. As most know, that game ended with a bases loaded walk-off single by Luis Gonzalez against legendary Yankee closer Mariano Rivera.
Needless to say, my roommate was crestfallen, but decided to wait for the conclusion of the Saints game before hitting the sports bar for some sorrow drowning, figuring at least I'd have some better luck. Well, so much for that. I get that Turley was protecting his teammate, but that wasn't a heads-up play (no pun intended). In fact, Turley's toss was pretty weak in retrospect. I needed to get out and hit the bar after that one, and I don't even drink. The roommate and I hit up a favorite sports bar where we got to see countless "highlights" of our favorite franchises failings that night on the monitors behind the bar. Good Times!
Now tell us your stories, memories, and impressions from that memorable Sunday night. Where were you?