Daniel Jones fell down.
“Football players fall all the time,” you may be saying right now. “It’s a very difficult sport full of collisions and whatnot.”
This is true, but the New York Giants’ second-year quarterback didn’t fall down in the manner one expects from a licensed NFL professional. Against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, Jones fell like Dick Van Dyke over an ottoman, except there was no ottoman. There wasn’t even Mary Tyler Moore. There was just grass—lots of it. But nonetheless, Daniel Jones produced the greatest pratfall of the 21st century. The man is a comedic genius.
For all his faults, Daniel Jones is actually a terrific athlete. That’s what everyone kept saying when the Giants selected Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Sure, it was a reach for a guy from Duke who looks like an actor playing Eli Manning in a Hallmark movie about Tom Coughlin’s life (Red Cheeks, Blue Blood). But he is fast and nimble and good at basketball. And after all, what’s more important in the game of football than being good at basketball?
To be fair, Jones showed some excellent athleticism on that 80-yard run Thursday night. Eighty yards is a long distance—it’s 30 yards longer than the 50-yard dash, which, while a dash, is still enough to make Olympians a little winded. (In swimming. And it’s actually 50 meters, not 50 yards, now that I think about it. But still.) And let’s not forget that Jones was being chased! By professional athletes! Who couldn’t catch him! Until he tripped over himself and fell down.
I’m genuinely impressed. As was Patrick Mahomes.
I mean, the dude was genuinely moving.
To think, millions of Americans missed this moment because they were watching a presidential debate. A functioning democracy would not provide counterprogramming to the best NFL moment of the year. No NFC East contest is “must-watch,” but, in retrospect, the Commission on Presidential Debates pulled a mondo boner here. I mean, look at this guy. This is what will bring our nation together.
Laugh all you want, but the Giants did score a touchdown on that drive even after Jones hit that banana peel and spun out like Bowser on Rainbow Road. He then led New York to another touchdown, and the G-Men took a 21–10 lead with just over six minutes remaining. “Jones is the comeback kid!” exclaimed all of the Big Apple. “Nothing can trip up ‘Dan the Man!’ ”
No one will remember the fact that Philadelphia scored twice in those last six minutes and won, 22–21. Or that Jones got sacked and fumbled the ball away on the Giants’ final drive. (Or, to be fair, that Jones threw a perfect pass to Evan Engram that would’ve pretty much iced the game, if Engram hadn’t dropped it.) All that we’ll take away from this game between the 1–4–1 Eagles and 1–5 Giants was the quarterback’s hilarious stumble. Thanks, Daniel Jones. The nation needed that.