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Remembering the Buttfumble: A Patriots Thanksgiving tradition

Where does the time go? The Buttfumble is a decade old!

If you’re of a certain age, at some point in your life you’ve more than likely found yourself in an awkward, uncomfortable situation where you’re dressed in a suit and incredibly well put together, but you feel completely naked and exposed. You sit there, fake smile pasted on your face, as someone, or a group of someones, scrutinize your every move, evaluate your accomplishments up until this point, and decide whether you’re worthy of the privilege of spending 40-70 hours per week crammed behind a desk crunching numbers or making sales calls or schmoozing clients or whatever it is they do over at Intitech. You don’t want to do it — hell, you don’t even want to be there right now — but you need the money, and the front office needs a new victim. So the dance goes on.

I’m talking, of course, about the ever-so-infamous job interview.

It’s just the worst. It’s bad enough trying to fit your entire life onto a single piece of paper and smiling along with buzzwords like “team player” and “maximization” and “efficacy,” but in my opinion the absolute worst part of the whole process are those stupid, pointless questions they always seem to throw at you.

“How many pennies can fit in this room?”

“What would you say your biggest strengths and weaknesses are?”

“Do you feel comfortable in a highly competitive environment?”

And perhaps my personal favorite:

“Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

There’s just no way anybody could know where they’ll be in 10 years, but it’s a popular question nonetheless. It’s a way for potential employers to gauge a candidate’s commitment and ambition, and a way for the candidate to ensure that they’re there for the long haul. Neither side believes a word that the other person has to say, but such is the box we’ve all trapped ourselves in and there’s not much we can do about it.

But once in a while, that question holds some real merit.

Had the front brass here at Pats Pulpit posed that question to me 10 years ago as I squirmed on the other side of the interview table, desperately fighting for my job, my answer would have undoubtedly been “doing everything I can to make sure that nobody ever, ever forgets the single worst play in the history of the NFL. If you let me continue to work for you, I promise that under no circumstances will I allow a single Thanksgiving to go by without paying tribute to The Buttfumble.”

If nothing else, I am a man of my word.

Exactly 10 years ago this evening, on Nov. 22, 2012, Mark Sanchez became forever joined with Brandon More (quite literally) as his face slammed right into Moore’s behind and Steve Gregory jogged into the end zone to put a cap on history. We all sat there, stuffed to the gills with turkey and potatoes and pie and wine and beer and whatever combination of deliciousness we have at our various Thanksgiving tables, trying to figure out if what we just witnessed was in fact real or if it was the result of some tryptophan-induced hallucination. But it was as real as it was embarrassing, and it remains the gift that keeps on giving.

New England Patriots fans likely remember the other elements of that game, how this play was part of the 21 points New England scored in the span of 52 seconds, starting with an 83 yard catch and run from Shane Vereen and capped with Devin McCourty knocking the post-Buttfumble kickoff out of Joe McKnight’s hands and right into Julian Edelman’s. But everybody — and I mean EVERYBODY — remembers the Buttfumble itself. It’s as much a part of the holiday as turkey and divisive political dinner conversation.

It’s hard to believe that the Buttfumble is celebrating it’s 10th birthday today. There are plenty of marriages that don’t have the kind of staying power that the Buttfumble does. TV shows never make it to the 10th season. And so as a birthday present, or an anniversary gift, perhaps, I want to take a moment to hammer home just how remarkable this play truly was.

We all remember that play vividly. You’re picturing it perfectly in your mind right this very moment as you read these words. We’ve watched it countless times by this point, even a full decade later. To put how incredible that is into perspective:

On average, an NFL offense runs about 65 plays per game. That means, during a 16 game season, an average NFL offense takes about 1,040 snaps between September and early January. That’s 32 teams running a combined 33,280 offensive plays per regular season. That means that, over the last decade of watching football, fans have seen over 330,000 offensive plays run. Add in playoffs and the new 17 game schedule, I think it’s safe to say that there have been well over 350,000 opportunities for another team to make a bigger blunder than Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets since that fateful Thanksgiving night. And while the Colts certainly gave it their best effort, the reality is nothing has ever even come close to what we all saw 10 years ago. And it came against the Patriots, on Thanksgiving, courtesy of a division rival.

The Buttfumble is an all-time amazing play, it will never fail to amuse, and we’re just blessed to be able to celebrate the best holiday of the year and the worst play in NFL history all at the same time.

Never forget how great it’s been to be a Patriots fan.

It’s fitting that the Patriots are playing on Thanksgiving Night for the first time since that fated game, in another highly anticipated matchup between two teams hoping to make a postseason run. And while I highly doubt we’ll get anything even remotely similar from Kirk Cousins and the Vikings, you never know. It’s the mystery that makes the holidays so magical.

Rewatch the Buttfumble here.

Watch a digitally enhanced version of the play with full noise-canceled sound here.

Enjoy a Thanksgiving feast-worthy cornucopia of Buttfumble gifs here.

See the exact moment Mar Sanchez collided with Brandon Moore’s ass here.

Watch highlights from that game here.

There’s a great article published on ESPN giving an oral history of the Buttfumble here.

And if you have three hours to kill and want to watch the whole damn Pats/Jets game, you can click here.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and an even happier Buttfumble-versary to us all.