Washington, DC — Finding himself in a fourth and six situation on his own 42 yard line early in the third quarter, NFL Blitz player Arthur Christmas was at his wit’s end. His 1998 San Francisco 49ers offense had been unable to get much done against the 1998 Green Bay Packers. His go-to plays, Dog Hook and Hail Mary, had been rendered completely ineffective by his opponent’s clever use of the Suicide blitz play: relying on CPU players to rush the quarterback, while controlling a lone safety deep to tackle the intended receiver before the pass arrived. What he decided to do next would prove to be a turning point not only in the game, but in NFL Blitz history.
“You know,” Arthur said at the post-game press conference, “Jerry Rice was on the sidelines complaining about a broken back after a series of vicious late hits and we got no indication from the refs that they were ever going to do anything about it, and I just thought to myself, F— it. I’m gonna try and pin em deep. YOLO.”
He called a punt. Taken completely by surprise, the 98 Packers were not even set up to receive and wound up pinned deep. Arthur’s gamble had paid off. Noted NFL Blitz blogger James McNaulte said in his fourteen years following NFL Blitz, that was the first punt he had ever seen. “It’s really remarkable, I think, and it shows us that the game is never done evolving,” said McNaulte via his Xanga page.
Brett Favre, also suffering from debilitating spinal injuries, took the field at his own six yard line and immediately threw an embarrassing interception. The 98 Packers offense had already expended all of their turbo for the play and were helpless to stop 6’9 373 pound 1998 49er defensive back Jose Williams from running it in for a touchdown. Williams celebrated by doing a 360 jump as he crossed the goal line, sparking retaliation after the play from two 98 Packers lineman who tackled him to the ground and then brutally stomped him.
But coach Christmas wasn’t done making NFL Blitz history yet. After the 98 Packers failed on a two point conversion they really had no rational reason at all to attempt late in the fourth quarter, Christmas found himself down by just two points with only five seconds to go. Arthur knew what he had to do. He brought on the field goal unit.
“I was a little worried,” he said, “because it was the first time [kicker Steve] Rupert had ever kicked in a game besides the automatic extra points. But I had faith.”
The 98 Packers smelled a fake, and set up in a deep zone formation. This proved to be a mistake, as with no one rushing the kicker, he was able to concentrate and easily stop the moving cursor in the green area at the center of the status bar. The ball sailed straight through the uprights as time expired, resulting in a 31-30 win for the 98 49ers.
A spokesman for the 1998 Packers said that the game was “F—— bulls—“, before throwing an N64 controller at our reporter and storming off. A source in the league confirmed that this was the first time a punt had ever been attempted in NFL Blitz, and told us that league officials were already discussing inducting coach Christmas into the NFL Blitz hall of fame.
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