If you weren’t too afraid of the never-ending Taylor Swift references to watch last night’s Philadelphia Eagles-Kansas City Chiefs game, you might have noticed Philly defensive tackle Jalen Carter doing something you have never seen before late in the first half. (Personally, I’m far more offended by the fact that the Kelce Brothers covered “Fairytale of New York” AND RUINED IT than anything to do with Taylor Swift. No, I will not provide a link). Anyway, as the clock wound down before halftime, Carter dove forward off of the line, nearly intercepting a Patrick Mahomes spike.
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I don’t know what was more shocking, that Carter tried it or that it nearly worked. How did he even come up with such an idea? Like all good Gen Zers, he saw it on YouTube. “I seen it on YouTube,” Carter told a local Philly sports station. “Some high school kid tried — and he actually caught the ball. So I was like, you know, that’s a good idea. And I knew they were spiking it. So I tried to go for it.”
Given that the NFL has been around for 103 years and we have games going roughly 12 nights a week, it’s always exciting to see a new and innovative play. I don’t count the Tush Push among these, as William “Refrigerator” Perry basically invented shoving a player across the line when he tried to hurl Walter Payton over the goal line in Super Bowl XX. Also, Jim McMahon was able to successfully execute the QB sneak without someone pushing him where the sun don’t shine. But I digress.
As much fun as Carter’s attempt was, can you imagine if it had actually worked? It seems pretty obvious that, when the ball leaves the QB’s hands and the other team catches it, it’s a clear interception. But I have faith that the officials would have found a reason for it not to work, calling it roughing the passer or incomplete or something else stupid that ruins everyone’s fun. That said, I really hope this becomes a regular thing that we can look forward to, much like when touchdown celebrations were first allowed and we got masterpieces like this and this and this.
As for Carter, he’s not only creative, he’s great at his job, currently the frontrunner for Defensive Rookie of the Year. As ESPN pointed out last month, “the last first-year defensive tackle with at least 12 combined tackles and 3.5 sacks over any five-game stretch was the Rams’ Aaron Donald in 2014.” That’s not bad company to be in, especially for a player who seems fun and creative and willing to try new things. Keep watching YouTube, Jalen. Can’t wait to see what you try next.