The NFL Depot
by Dave Mest
Wow, is all I can say! Junior Seau, dead at age 43. From everything I’ve seen and heard it was a single gunshot to the chest. This is an apparent suicide and also the second football player to do so in 3 months. Dave Duerson of Chicago Bears fame also killed himself last year in the same manner and this has lead to the ongoing concussion debate.
I’m choosing not to go the negative lane here. I want to just remember the great football player Junior Seau was. 20 years in the NFL (the average NFL player’s career is 3 years) which says a lot. 1990 first round draft pick 5th overall, a 12 time pro-bowler and the list just goes on. Here is just one of my many memories of Junior.
Take a trip back in time with me, to the year 1994. A mid-January afternoon, quite warm in fact, the place Three River Stadium in Pittsburgh. The San Diego Chargers vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, This was the AFC title game, the right to go to Super Bowl XXIX.
The Chargers came into this game as a heavy underdog. But someone forgot to tell the Junior Seau lead Chargers. Everyone including me thought this game would be over by half-time. With a 10-3 half-time lead, it looked to be heading for a Steelers victory.
The Charger defense was keeping them in the game. This in a essence, was Junior Seau’s coming out party. I remember him all over the place, during this game. The famed Steelers run game wasn’t working. Why? Junior Seau is why!
Neil O’Donnell threw the ball 51 times, not the Steelers strong point. The Chargers defense, took over the second half. They held the Steelers to just 3 second half points. Two bombs later, on a failing Steelers defense, the Chargers took the lead for good.
The game wasn’t over yet (this is the part where Dave’s heart gets ripped out). The Steelers finally started to drive on the Chargers. After a long drive that consisted of a fourth down conversion and many plays later, the game came down to a First and Goal at the 9, with 1:51 left in the game.
First down, a draw to Foster that went nowhere. Second down was an incomplete pass. Third down, a pass to John L Williams to the three, stop by guess who? Junior Seau! Who made a game saving tackle? Fourth down, pass knocked down at the goal line. The San Diego Chargers won the AFC Title!
Though, the Chargers would go on to lose Super Bowl XXIX, to the San Francisco 49ers 49-26, the Chargers did more than any one thought they would. Despite the loss, Junior still had a great game. He had 9 tackles, 2 assist and a sack.
RIP Junior Seau 1969-2012
Thanks for reading. My next column is, part one of eight, on the NFL draft. I’ll bring you my take on each team by division. Till next