BRUNSWICK, GA. | Sunday is the day, the day of boundless jubilation or deep depression, and it depends on the Jaguars.

 

I was glad they beat Pittsburgh on Sunday and Ben Roethlisberger, but it didn’t offset the Atlanta Falcon’s loss in Philadelphia. I also wanted the New Orleans Saints to beat the Minnesota Vikings, but the Vikings won on a weirdly incredible play.

I learned later that sportsmanship won and gambling lost in that game. In case this got past you, here’s a recap: The Saints had taken a one-point lead with little time left on the clock. Then a near miracle play gave the Vikings a five-point lead with no ticks on the clock, and, dismayed, the Saints shambled off to their locker room.

The referee said not so fast, the Vikings were required by rules to attempt the extra point. After a long wait, a few Saints trotted back out to nominally defend the point after. Viking quarterback Case Keenum took the snap and then graciously took a knee, not willing to put another point on the board.

The problem is the betting line was 5½ points. Had the point after been made, bettors who put down money on the Eagles to cover those odds could have cashed in. Instead, they tore up worthless betting tickets.

Good. I’m no fan of sports betting.

Among the few things I like about increasingly slow-paced baseball is that when the winning run crosses the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, it’s over and the people rejoice, somewhere. The umpire doesn’t say, “There’s a runner on first. By rule, we must have a disposition on the runner on first.”

It should be that way in football. If the clock has no ticks left, game over unless it’s to break a tie.

I hope the Jaguars win Sunday and go on to win the Super Bowl. That would be nice, but …

Can somebody please come up with something catchy to replace that Doooo-Vaaahhhl thing?

Have you seen those TV ads in which a bunch of personalities’ eyes turn teal-colored? We have to watch out for that and change the channel because it scares my grandson. That’s just creepy.

The thing that has impressed me about the Patriots last week is they have done nothing more than make measured compliments about the Jaguars while the Jacksonville team beats its chest and sets a new NFL record for bleeps. Nobody should ever stand in front of a crowd and use the sort of language some of the Jaguars used so ungraciously in victory.

May the best team win a close one and may the gamblers lose big.

I’m still a Falcons fan as I have been since they started playing in 1966. I learned recently that, even though Georgia is not in the range of the peregrine falcon, they got the name after high school teacher Julia Elliott, who died in 1990, won a naming contest.

“The falcon is proud and dignified, with great courage and fight. It never drops its prey. It’s deadly and has a great sporting tradition,” she wrote in her winning essay.

Other suggested names were the Knights, Bombers, Rebels, Crackers, Thrashers and Thunderbird. Well, the Falcons have bombed on occasion and you can bet the team would have undergone a name change by now had Rebels been chosen.

Thrashers, after the state bird, would have been nice but too easy for headline writers. Thrashed, thrashees, come to mind.

I’ll wait for next year and hope the Falcons make the Super Bowl again. Perhaps that makes me a Doooo-Fussss, but I can live with it.

It is with a mixture of emotions that I tell you this is my last column for the Times-Union.

I’m past the age of retirement, and it’s time. So I’ll fish more, may get back to golf and enjoy time with our grandson. And Vonette and I may go see a few places in America we haven’t seen.

I got in this business as a part-time darkroom technician in the fall of 1972 in Anderson, S.C., and it’s been an incredible and unbelievable joy to spend my career writing and taking pictures. That is possible only because of readers. I am thankful to the Times-Union for letting me do this so long.

In fact, I’m thinking it may be good to have a job you dislike, at least a little. It hurts to leave one you truly love. Trust me.

I’m most grateful for all the kindness — and sometimes forgiveness — you, the readers, have shown all these years. Believe me, I will miss you.

God bless you all.

Terry, AKA Bubba Gene