It’s not often you find an NFL game with a Prince George connection.
Yes, there are players in the NHL either from the area or who played hockey here. In a few years, there may be a Prince George player at the Major League Baseball level (Jared Young).
But Prince George connections to the NFL are few and far between. And even this one is not the most solid of connections. Miami Dolphins rookie tight End Durham Smythe has a grandmother who lives in Prince George. I know her, because she almost always eats at the same restaurant as my friend and I do on Saturday mornings. She happened to sit at the table next to us one morning, found out we were sports fans (including the NFL), and the friendship blossomed.
I bring this up because Durham’s name was mentioned on national TV in the U.S. last Sunday, and for a good reason. Playing for the Dolphins against the New England Patriots, he threw the key block that sprang Brandon Bolden free for a 58-yard touchdown run early in the game.
I caught the YouTube clip of the play, and when they showed the replay, the announcer took pains to mention the rookie tight end who made the big block on Lawrence Guy of the Patriots.
I don’t think Durham was on the field for the last play of the game, which will go down as the “Miracle in Miami”, a 69-yard game-winning touchdown play which included a forward pass, two laterals, a great weaving run by the final ballcarrier, a very poor attempt at a tackle by Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski (yes, a tight end on the field on defence on the last play of the game. I have no idea why.) and a celebration that placed the well-being of a Miami security person in jeopardy.
It also featured a play the announcers didn’t pick up on the replays, but several people did in comments on the YouTube clips. Offensive lineman Ted Larson of the Dolphins stayed in on the snap to help protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill, then released downfield.
He was 50 yards downfield, at the New England 30, when he blocked one of the last Patriots with a real chance of catching ballcarrier Kenyan Drake, (and no, I don’t consider Gronkowski as having a real chance of making the tackle.)
Incredible end to a ballgame that both teams needed for different reasons in the playoff fight.