The Kick that Won the Game

The Kick that Won the Game

My friend Tommy is a professional football player. His name, Tommy Maxwell, is in the Football Hall of Fame at Texas A&M University, where he went to college. Many years ago, he played for the Baltimore Colts, the team that won the Super Bowl on January 17, 1971.

The Colts were playing the Dallas Cowboys, and everybody thought the Colts would lose the game. The Cowboys were winners—that’s what everyone thought. But when the score was tied, 13-13, and time was running out, it all came down to one player, Jim O’Brien. And Jim was a “rookie.”  That means he wasn’t a seasoned football player with years and years in football, he was new and much younger than the rest of the team. The fate of Super Bowl V (5) was in the hands, or, well, in the foot of young Jim O’Brien. During timeout, and with time running out, Jim was pacing around, nervous. Tommy likes to tell the story, so I’ll pass it to Tommy Maxwell!

“We walked over to Jim and asked, ‘How ya doing, Jim?’ ‘How do you think I’m doing?’ Jim shot back. ‘You don’t understand the pressure, man!’ I thought we should probably leave him alone, but just then, Billy Ray Smith, a tough defensive player for the Colts, came slowly walking up to us. He looked Jim O’Brien in the face and said, ‘Son, millions of dollars are riding on this kick. Now you go make it!’ He shoved the young player out onto the field. Jim stumbled forward, but he chose to leave his fear behind him, and walked with confidence. He turned around and laughed.”

Tommy says that Jim made up his mind. He could do it. Jim kicked the ball perfectly, right through the middle, and the Colts won the Super Bowl! Score: Colts 16, Cowboys 13. Wow. But it wasn’t just a good kick, was it? It was Jim getting his confidence up, having a positive attitude, or we might say, having faith that he could do it. That was the game-changer. He kicked a football, flipped the score, and made NFL history!

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