Ain't No Party Like a TD Party
Better than a Tim Tebow prayer & the Lambeau Leap combined: Texans keep theircelebrations real
A bit of first-time playoff magic from Tim Tebow resurrected Tebowing on Sunday — with not only the Broncos quarterback doing it, but the CBS studio crew too. Who have thought that Dan Marino knew how to genuflect to anyone but himself?
And if Tebow's bit of overanalyzed celebration isn't enough for you, the Green Bay Packers will be back playing at home next weekend, with Aaron Rodgers trying to feed plenty of Lambeau Leaps against the New York Giants.
No matter — the Houston Texans have them all beat. Yes the Texans, a franchise in only its 10th year of existence and its first playoff appearance, displayed an old-school, unforced celebration style in its 31-10 playoff victory over the sixth seed Cincinnati Bengals.
Andre Johnson didn't expect to become a jumper. In fact, common sense and past experience told him that's about the last thing he should do.
OK, Houston did mimic the Lambeau Leap twice — with both wideout Andre Johnson and tailback Arian Foster jumping up into the stands after second-half touchdowns. (Are those Reliant Romps?) But before you dock the Texans for a lack of originality consider how Johnson wrestled with the decision — for safety's sake.
After Johnson faked Pacman Jones into Louisiana on a beautiful double move that resulted in a 40-yard touchdown catch, Johnson paused in the end zone. Many speculated that the longest-suffering Texan wanted to soak up the moment. After all, the score put the Texans up by two touchdowns, essentially put the game out of reach for the Bengals.
It turns out that No. 80 wasn't reflecting on everything he's been through as a Texan, though. Instead, he needed the moment to brace himself for that leap into all those thirsting-to-celebrate fans.
"I was kind of thinking about jumping," Johnson said. "That's what the pause was for."
Johnson didn't expect to become a jumper. In fact, common sense and past experience told him that's about the last thing he should do.
"I really wasn’t going to jump into the stands because I knew the people weren’t going to let me down,” he said. “I have jumped into the stands a few times (before) and I have been grabbed by the facemask and everything."
Houston fans can get a little excited. But Johnson jumped anyway. He couldn't help himself. How often do you get to celebrate a playoff touchdown at home?
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When Foster broke free for a 42-yard touchdown run later in the fourth quarter, he jumped too. Not because he always wanted to try and Lambeau Leap. Because he wanted to be like Andre, the greatest Texan of them all.
Foster's jump came out even more excited than Johnson's. He face planted himself into the crowd, loving being part of something that felt bigger than just football.
Foster — who grew up in New Mexico and played his college football at Tennessee — not only understands what Hakeem means to Houston, he thought about it long before kickoff.
"I'm just elated, excited and happy to bring this city — that's been thirsty for a playoff win for years — a playoff win," Foster said. "To be a part of that, it just feels so good.
"You can feel the energy and buzz throughout the city."
Especially when you almost literally bury yourself in that energy. Foster went so far into the crowd on his leap that you could barely see him amidst the happy humanity.
Foster had already pulled off one of the great celebrations of all time early in the game when he broke out the Dream Shake after tying the game at 7. Few professional athletes would have the presence of mind to pay homage to one of their work city's greatest sports heroes from the past — especially one from a completely different sport.
You can bet that there are at least a few Texans players who have little grasp who Hakeem Olajuwon is.
Foster — who grew up in New Mexico and played his college football at Tennessee — not only understands what Hakeem means to Houston, he thought about it long before kickoff. The Pro Bowl tailback challenged his Twitter followers to a bet before the LA Lakers hosted the Houston Rockets last week. If the Rockets won (Foster is a Lakers fan), No. 23 agreed to break out the Dream Shake as a touchdown celebration.
LA won easily, but Foster decided to Dream Shake anyway.
"You know, I won the bet," Foster reminded everyone.
Still, after his first touchdown in a 153-yard playoff debut, Foster faked left, faked right and shot the football over the goalpost crossbar like it was a basketball. Completely original, meaningful and not contrived?
Check, check, check.
Sorry Tebow fanatics. Texans celebrate touchdowns better.