There’s been a whole lot of flipping, flopping and flying in football recently, from the Carolinas to the frozen tundra and, appropriately, just off Broadway.
Receivers, runners, quarterbacks and big ol’ linemen have been pulling off some dazzling feats _ a few without a hitch, others with funny flaws, and one almost too astonishing to believe.
So let’s return to Sunday’s NFL games for a Pick 6 of scoring celebrations _ well a Pick 5 really, with a surprise addition to round out the package.
David Wilson, RB, New York Giants
Not once, not twice, but three times the rookie produced near-perfect backflips after scoring touchdowns in a 52-27 win over the Saints. Turns out, the 5-foot-9 Wilson has been practicing since he was 4, and there’s even a YouTube video of him performing 21 consecutive backflips during his college days at Virginia Tech.
“Now that it’s on tape, we’re going to expect that from him every game,” defensive end Justin Tuck kidded after Wilson set a club record with 327 all-purpose yards, including a 97-yard kickoff return for a score followed by the first of his impressive end zone backflips.
Backflip celebrations are not new for Wilson, it just took him awhile to get his game going with the Giants. An early season fumble put him on the bench, and he’s just made his way back into the lineup.
Some teammates call him the best athlete on the team. Salsa-dancing Victor Cruz is among them.
“If you blink once or twice, you might miss him,” Cruz said, presumably referring to his speed, not his backflips.
Lee Smith, TE, Buffalo
The 6-6, 266-pound second-year player was coaxed by a teammate into his poorly-executed flop into the stands at Ralph Wilson Stadium after his first TD at home. After the catch, Scott Chandler convinced Smith to follow in his and Stevie Johnson’s jumping shoes and celebrate with the fans.
He obliged, but when he leaped up the barrier, back first, he slid off the ledge and into the stands. He later said he was wedged between the barrier and metal bleacher where fans sit. He was drenched in beer and ketchup before untangling himself from the mess.
“I’m definitely not the most experienced guy about jumping into the stands, so I might have gone in a little too hard on those fans,” Smith said. “I might have scared them a little bit, but either way, it’s a fun time.”
The Bills ended up losing to the Rams 15-12 to fall to 5-8.
“It’s not fun losing football games, and if that’s the one thing that everybody can kind of sit in their meetings and smile about and think about, and if this is the one thing from the game that makes everybody laugh, then it was worth it for me,” he added.