ATLANTA– The 50,000 fans in attendance at the Georgia Dome got quite a scare yesterday when Atlanta Falcons fullback Verron Haynes’s head appeared to have fallen off on the forty yard line after he was tackled by New Orleans Saints linebacker Troy Evans. As it turns out, it was only Haynes’s helmet that fell off, not his head. Even so, that didn’t stop the sellout crowd from letting out a collective gasp of horror. One fan, twenty-five-year-old Liza Puglia, vomited. “When I saw what I thought was that guy’s head fall roll across the field, I completely lost my lunch,” said Puglia, who vows to never watch another football game for as long as she lives.
Puglia wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Saints fan Eddie Heegan fainted. “Ive been watching football for twenty years,” said Heegan, “so I’ve pretty much seen it all. But when I saw that guy get decapitated everything went black, and the next thing I knew, the paramedics were waking me up.”
The ironic part is that despite the crowd’s reaction to the tackle, Haynes walked away unscathed. “Sometimes, certain tackles look much worse than they feel,” said Haynes. “Then again, there are other tackles that don’t look like they hurt very much when, in reality, all I want to do is lie on the field, cry profusely, and pretty much die. This, however, was not one of those times.”
Maybe not, but many of Haynes’s teammates have decided to retire after seeing the hit that he took. “Every time we take the field, we know there’s a chance that we can be seriously injured, but we shrug it off,” said Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. “It’s part of the game. But after seeing Verron’s head fall off, or his helmet or whatever, I decided that it’s just not worth it. I mean, I’ve got a family to think about.” Falcons offensive lineman Rob Bruggeman agreed with Ryan, saying, “I don’t want my wife to have to explain to our two-year-old daughter that daddy’s not coming home because he was decapitated on a football field. Granted, Verron wasn’t actually decapitated, but he could have been.”
November 2, 2009