Terence Garvin, Kevin Huber, and Martin's Ferry, Ohio

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Homer was horrified when he saw Kevin Huber go down like he had been shot last night, He was glad to see the Bengals' punter helped to his feet, and able to walk off the field with assistance. He is deeply sorry that Huber suffered a fractured jaw on the play, and hopes he has a speedy recovery and no lasting effects. No one wishes serious injury to any player or coach. Except, perhaps, the faint hope that Bill Belichick gets run over by a snowplow, or is knocked unconscious by a hidden camera or listening device.

Seriously, what happened to Kevin Huber was awful, and my heart goes out to him.

But Homer has had it up to here with the whining and bullshit emanating from Mike Florio, a few Bengal fans, Steeler haters, and those who want to turn the NFL into the NFFL (flag football).

Huber was absolutely in the vicinity of the return man, and heading in his immediate direction. When you look at the gif of the play, you can see how close he was to the path of Antonio Brown. Huber was a defender, actively seeking to impede the runner or make a tackle, and he was absolutely fair game. He turned his head and Terence Garvey hit him first at the top of his chest, and the hit proceeded directly into his jaw.

That brutal hit was exactly the type of hit that the American poet James Wright described when - 50 years ago -he wrote the poem, "Autumn Begins in Martin's Ferry, Ohio." The poem is part of the football exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, next to the kicking shoe of Lou "The Toe" Groza (who was a native of Martin's Ferry)..

Wright wrote:


Their sons grow suicidally beautiful

At the beginning of October,

And gallop terribly against each other's bodies."

Garvin's hit was as old as football, as old as football in the Ohio River Valley, and as old as the term smashmouth football. It was at once suicidally beautiful and terrible.

Football is not a contact sport, folks. Dancing the polka is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.

If, as Mike Florio suggests, the kicker is somehow to be protected from the violence of the play, he should kick the ball and then head off the field. Not place himself directly in harm's way. It is one thing to target a kicker when he's nowhere near the play. But when he's playing in traffic, he's asking to get run over.

What does Mr Florio suggest Mr Garvin should have done when clearing a path for Antonio Brown? Should he have said, "excuse me, Sweet cheeks, but you seem to be in the way. I suggest you move before I give you such a pinch?"

Maybe Jack Lambert's suggestion about protecting quarterbacks should be considered for kickers and punters. Maybe Florio agrees with Lambert that we should put them in dresses. Homer's not much into fashion sense, but he would remind those with suggestions that a simple blue or red dress would be nice. Paul Lynde reminded us that pink chiffon wrinkles.

There is nothing - repeat nothing - funny about Kevin Huber's injury. I imagine the Chief is looking down from heaven and telling Kate he wishes he could visit Huber in the hospital and bring him some fresh squeezed OJ and a morning paper. I hope we all wish that we could do something to ease his pain, lift his spirits, and hasten his recovery.

But to blame Terence Garvin for throwing a crushing block to help spring Antonio Brown for a touchdown is abject nonsense. Football is a suicidally beautiful game where huge and powerful gladiators gallop terribly into each other's bodies. They call it smashmouth football, and sometimes mouths get smashed or jaws get fractured.

Get well, Kevin. We wish you Godspeed.


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