Billy Bob Thornton, Husker Football, and Perfection… How This Hellish Season Could Lead To Something Amazing

Billy Bob Thornton, Husker Football, and Perfection

When I first heard the news about Adrian Martinez’ injury come out I couldn’t help but feel, well…

Helpless.

Having watched this team play all season no matter what you may think of Adrian I do believe you have to admit that he is the heart and soul of the team (with the defense hot on his tail in second place). From what Coach Frost has said he has dealt with so much this season. Hell, throughout his career for that matter. For this season, possibly Martinez’ last, to come to an end in such a way just feels so wrong.

So it goes for some college football players though.

Some of them never get what they deserve in terms of glory on the field. Personally, as I want to see glory on the field brought back to the fore here in Husker Nation I also want one great season for Adrian Martinez in the Scarlet & Cream. Just one season where things work out like it felt they would when we first saw him take the field as a Cornhusker.

Adrian vs. Colorado 2018

Famously, Bill Parcells said that your team is what their record says they are, but I just can’t help but feel this season of Husker football flaunts in the face of that idea. With every fiber of my being I believe this team was, and is, on the precipice of something great for them and Husker Nation. A win, a series of wins, or, maybe even a season that shows the world of College Football what Nebraska is all about.

And yet…

There is this piece of me that just wants to pack it in already. I have, and do, believe Scott Frost can get our Cornhuskers back to some sense of glory on the field. Yet there is this side of me that is already ready to move on. My reasoning, well, Bob Devaney wasn’t the hometown boy that came to Nebraska and brought his state to a place of glory in College Football. Why is it that we must rely on our past to bring about the future we want?

Then again, I hate myself for that. Just as so many of us Husker fans I cannot let go of that hope for some glory to come not only back to Husker Nation, but back from this place we had it before. This beautful, poetic, amazing way of bringing the Husker’s back to relevance.

I want the tradition of the Blackshirts to remain. I want to see some semblance of the offense be a reflection of our brand of run offense, the option. So badly I want to hear this…

To remain the way of Husker football. I never want it to leave.

In the first article I wrote about Cornhusker football on this blog I mentioned a story about my past. The fact that in my first year of playing football there is a moment I will never forget about the season we played as a team.

The moment I’m thinking of, the one so indelibly etched into my mind is of the QB of our football team running down the sideline and into the end-zone with such little time remaining that we would go on to win the game.

The moment was so incredible to me, especially with it being my first season of tackle football ever, for quite a number of reasons. The reason that seemed to be most important at the time was that we had lost to the very team we beat on that amazing play earlier in the season and winning that game meant we won the division of football that year for our age group.

Years later, as I write this, what seems so much more important to me is that in the moment I saw my quarterback running down the sidelines the biggest reason it was so amazing was because I no longer believed we were going to win that game. I had given up on winning expecting that we would have to kiss our cousins and deal with a tie game.

Now that may not seem too big a deal. Thinking you might tie in a game where there is no overtime and it’s a bunch of 6th and 7th graders playing is…

Kinda expected.

No, the reason I find the little tidbit that I had given up on winning the game is because first of all we’re taught to never give up until the final whistle blows. Second, I’ve come to understand that saying to be not only something to hold onto, but one of those sayings that, even if it were a lie, is a beautiful one. Lastly, because a few years after living through that moment my first year of tackle football I saw a movie that made me understand how and why we had to live up the saying “it’s never over ’til the fat lady sings.”

Which is ironic because even though I root for the team to win every time I watch this movie, even though the last play has me standing cheering every damn time, the ending of the game is always the same. Odessa loses.

Friday Night Lights is one of my favorite movies of all time, and is, most definitely, my favorite football movie of all time.

“Yeah, and you can shut up too” Denzel!

My favorite thing to say about Friday Night Lights is that any time you see it after your first viewing you are still rooting for Mike Winchell to make it across that goal line and win the game for Odessa, Texas. And in fact…

I do promise you that if you watch Friday Night Lights again tonight you will be rooting for that quarterback to somehow pull off the miracle win. But, that isn’t the point.

You see what is actually the best part of the film Friday Night Lights is the message it sends. Now that message goes far beyond the realm of sports. It passes that by completely and does something even grander in my opinion, but…

For the sake of this article let’s stick to the message it sends to athletes everywhere. A message you don’t have to read into. You don’t have to look it up. The message is right there for you to see and hear. And… it’s right there at just the right time for you to see and hear it. The message, of course, is about…

Perfection

Now…

When you watch that I want you to think about Nebraska Football this year.

What do you think?

Most of you have been rooting for the Cornhuskers all your life. We’re always rooting for perfection. A season that ends with a record that shows no losses. A championship season.

But, ask yourself, how do you feel about how our Cornhuskers played this season? Yes the outcome is disappointing, of course it is. Yet, this team has played their hearts out. How can you possibly believe differently?

The team has made mistakes. They’ve shot themselves in the foot sometimes. But have they played their hearts out?

I’d say that’s a resounding “Yes!”

So…

We have four quarters. For us fans four for the rest of the season. For the players, some of them at least, that’s four quarters for the rest of their lives. No more football, no more playing their hearts out for us, the University of Nebraska, and anything which may be greater.

Do you want to sulk and think about how imperfect the season was in terms of the outcomes of games? Maybe, in many of your eyes, in terms of the coaching? Because me?

I say we root our asses off one last time.

The football players play their asses off one last time.

The coaches coach their ass off one last time.

For Nebraska the state. The University. Themselves. Ourselves. Each other.

Each season brings new beginnings. I believe this season, although painful, has set us up for something great next year and further on into the future.

Yet there is one last game this season.

Let’s beat the shit out of the Iowa Hawkeyes!

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