Akeem Ayers in The Player’s Page – Everyone remembers Malcolm Butler’s interception to win the Super Bowl this past year, but I’ll never forget the play right before it.
Jermaine Kearse had just made that circus catch, putting the Seahawks at the five-yard line with 1st-and-goal. We know Marshawn is going to run the ball, so we throw in a bigger package. I get on the field, and I know what’s coming. Everyone knows what’s coming. The fans are going crazy. You see people setting up ropes around the field so that nobody can jump out from the stands when the game ends. It’s coming down to the last couple of plays.
I’m lined up, the ball gets snapped to Marshawn, and he comes right my way. There’s a gap right there, and he’s running through it. Hightower hits him, and Marshawn starts to stumble right towards the end zone. I shed my block and dive over to him ‘ right as he’s trying to stretch the ball over the goal line. There’s a collision. The dust settles. And I’m laying there staring at the ball. Stopped at the one-yard line.
The rest is history. …
To get traded to New England was just unbelievable. I had heard about the culture of the team ‘ the intense preparation and complete focus — but I didn’t really understand what that meant until the first week I was there. New England prepares with the expectation of winning. You go there as a player and you know the tradition they have, the players they have and the mindset they have. Anything other than winning is simply not an option. And I can see how they’ve maintained such success over a long period of time. When I arrived, I just had to follow everyone’s lead. The organization runs like a well-oiled machine.
I couldn’t be happier that Akeem Ayers delivered this little piece of Patriots Porn. I’d suggest you read the whole thing because he offers a lot of insight into his personal journey, how he came to New England and the way he was received by Mr. Kraft and others. But I pretty much served up the money shots here.
I’ve watched the play he describes here, the penultimate play of the game-clinching defensive stand – almost as many times as I’ve watched the Malcolm Butler interception. And while Dont’a Hightower got credit for the tackle in the box score, it was a group effort by the Pats‘ defense. Vince Wilfork got a push on Max Unger that forced Marshawn Lynch to make a cut. Pat Chung made first contact and tripped Lynch up. And of course Ayers and Hightower were there to stop him short of the goal line.
It was an amazing stop that will forever be overshadowed by the world-changer that came next in that way that no one remembers what the hell happened on the Apollo 10 mission. But without it, we’re listening to people say the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl in 11 years. So thanks to Ayers for the play and for shedding light on it. With the season starting in nine days and the Patriots “America’s Game” plus “Do Your Job” premiering between now and then, I can’t think of a better way to kick off a week’s worth of looking back at the championship. By Friday the 12th I’m going to have to check myself into a Patriots Porn addiction treatment center.
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