Kudos to the Associated Press for highlighting one of the most significant issues in the Indianapolis Colts-Houston Texans game Sunday afternoon. On a Colts kickoff, Texans defensive tackle Cedric Killings went down in a somewhat freakish injury that left him motionless on the field. The CBS announcers, filling the time gap, commented on their hopes for Killings' recovery and on the number of Texans players holding hands. They didn't mention that the players were on their knees, in circles, holding hands with their heads bowed.
Apparently all the announcers saw at first was a bunch of players holding hands, because it wasn't until the very end that they mentioned that the players were likely praying for the recovery and health of Killings.
The AP comes right out and says what everyone else saw during this scary moment:
In a scene eerily reminiscent of the one played out in Buffalo two weeks earlier, the Colts and Houston found themselves unified in prayer as Texans defensive tackle Cedric Killings left the field strapped to a stretcher before resuming the game. ...
As part of the Texans' "wedge" unit, the 310-pound Killings ran up the field at full speed, going head first to open a hole. Rookie receiver Roy Hall met him at about the Texans' 15, turning his left shoulder slightly in an effort to break through and make the tackle as players are taught. Both dropped instantly to the ground, and while Hall eventually walked away, Killings did not. ...
It appears Killings and Hall will, fortunately, be all right.
Killings spent Sunday night in a Houston hospital with a neck injury and had feeling in his arms and legs. Hall walked briefly into the Colts locker room Monday wearing a bulky harness over his left shoulder, and Dungy said he expected Hall back within a few weeks.
At the beginning of football season I commented on Christianity Today's cover story on faith and football. The article pointed out the NFL's attempt to discourage post-game prayer huddles that mixed players from both teams and Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly's silly fuss over the huddles being offensive.
The CBS commentators' reluctance to talk about what was happening on the field indicates the gulf that separates some of the journalists and commentators who cover this league and the players who throw their bodies out there every weekend. The religion angle in football cannot be ignored, especially in moments like we saw Sunday afternoon in Houston and in moments that unfortunately we're going to see again and again.