In November of last year, two things happened. Arizona Cardinals Quarterback Carson Palmer tore his ACL, and Kansas City Chiefs Cornerback Eric Berry was diagnosed with a Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of Cancer. Each situation immediately ended the season for the players involved
Saturday night, both players returned to the field for the first time. Berry, did not accumulate any statistics despite being on the field intermittently throughout the night, and Carson Palmer only played one drive, according to ESPN stats and information.
But sometimes in sports as in life, the mere effort rather than the results are worth something. Eric Berry’s return to the game meant more to him than how he could have played, it meant coming back from a possibly life-threatening condition and the start of return to his ‘normal.’ For Carson Palmer, it meant the start of a return to his ‘normal,’ as well in that the November ACL tear was his second of his career in a field where few players at his position every completely recover from even one.
So for both players, and fans of both teams, and fans of humanity in general, Saturday night’s preseason opener meant so much more than the 34-19 final score. This was a night where the final game wouldn’t mean anything in the long term, (teams’ records over the next four games are reset after the fourth of these games), but where the human impact would be much longer, both for individuals in the situations themselves and their fans.
On a night where the first female coach in the NFL and the first female referee made their debuts, the human stories, the stories of how each of four unconnected individuals worked their hearts out to even get to touch the grass of last night’s field, vastly eclipsed the relevance of the final statistics.
But then again, I WOULD say that.
I’m a Cardinals fan, and we lost…