Is there anything better in sports than a fat guy scoring a touchdown?
There are so many speedy receivers, powerful running backs and skillful quarterbacks who get most of the attention in the NFL, but there’s nothing more exhilarating than seeing one of those 300-plus pound linemen getting into the end zone. Those are the guys who do the dirty work on most plays, and seeing them getting to score is just plain fun.
It’s also a lot of fun to see those fat guys running because we feel like we’re seeing someone run the way we’d run on a football field: Noticeably slower than everyone else out there. (Although, truth be told, even the fattest NFL lineman is a good enough athlete that he could beat the average American in a 40-yard dash.) You don’t see guys with big bellies excelling in other sports the way you do in football, and when a guy with a big belly crosses the goal line, guys across America with big bellies can celebrate with them.
I was thinking a lot about fat guy touchdowns yesterday because Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe scored one. With Kansas City facing fourth-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line at San Diego, Poe lined up at fullback. Everyone figured the Chiefs had brought him in to serve as a blocker, but he surprised the Chargers by taking the handoff and plunging in for the touchdown.
With that one-yard touchdown, the 346-pound Poe became (according to the records at Pro Football Reference) the heaviest player to run for a touchdown in NFL history.
That record has stood for three decades. It was set by the godfather of the fat guy touchdown, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who was listed at 335 pounds when he scored three touchdowns for the 1985 Bears. NFL players have gotten bigger through the years, but none of those bigger guys had run for a touchdown until Poe did it yesterday.
The heaviest player ever to score a touchdown was the former defensive tackle Sam Adams, a 350-pounder who scored two touchdowns in his NFL career. Adams had a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown in 1998 and a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown in 2003. The 1998 season was a banner year for fat guy touchdowns, as 348-pound Chargers defensive tackle Jamal Williams also had an interception return for a touchdown. Yesterday Poe became the third-heaviest player, after Adams and Williams, to score a touchdown — and the heaviest player ever to score on offense.
Poe may not have that record for long. Baylor senior tight end LaQuan McGowan, who at 410, outweighs Poe by a whopping 64 pounds, has caught three touchdown passes in his college career and may be in the NFL next year. McGowan makes Refrigerator Perry look like nothing more than a hefty fullback.
But for now, Poe is the biggest player ever to score an offensive touchdown. What better time than Thanksgiving week, when Americans will watch football and stuff their faces, to celebrate the joy of the fat guy touchdown?
Here are my other thoughts on this week’s NFL action:
Aaron Donald is a bad, bad man. Donald, the Rams’ star defensive tackle, picked up Ravens running back Justin Forsett and slammed him to the ground, breaking Forsett’s arm. It was a perfectly legal tackle by Donald, but it was also brutal and likely ended Forsett’s season. Donald is, like J.J. Watt, the kind of defensive lineman who can inspire fear in opposing teams.
Tony Romo is back, and Dallas wonders what might have been. The Cowboys beat the Dolphins yesterday in the return of Tony Romo from a broken collarbone in Week Two. Dallas is now 3-0 this year with Romo and 0-7 without him. Over their last 28 games, the Cowboys are 16-3 when Tony Romo starts and 0-9 when he doesn’t. At 3-7, it’s probably not realistic to think the Cowboys can reach the playoffs, but they have to feel like they’d have a good chance of doing some damage if they could get there. With Romo, the Cowboys are one of the best teams in the NFL. Without him, they’re one of the worst.
Maybe Chip Kelly isn’t cut out for this. Kelly was given total control of the Eagles this offseason, and the results speak for themselves: Philadelphia is 4-6 after yesterday’s 45-17 beatdown at the hands of the Buccaneers. The NFC East stinks, which means the Eagles still have a chance to reach the playoffs, but the reality is Kelly’s team isn’t very good. It might be time for Kelly and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to mutually agree that Kelly should go back to coaching in college. Kelly was great at Oregon and could win a national championship at a place like USC, Miami or LSU. It’s not working in the NFL.
Jameis Winston is coming on strong. After struggling early this season as the No. 1 overall pick, Winston is playing some great football for the Buccaneers right now. Yesterday Winston became just the third rookie in NFL history to throw five touchdown passes in a game. (The other two were Matthew Stafford with the 2009 Lions and the little-remembered Ray Buivid with the 1937 Bears.) Winston is a rookie of the year candidate, and the 5-5 Buccaneers are wild card contenders.
Case Keenum or Nick Foles, the Rams’ passing game is horrible. The Rams benched Foles and started Keenum yesterday, but it didn’t make any difference in their 16-13 loss to the Ravens. Consider this: Both the Buccaneers and the Panthers had five different players catch touchdown passes yesterday. The Rams have only had four different players catch touchdown passes all season. The Rams have a young star at running back in Todd Gurley, but they simply must find a franchise quarterback. Neither Keenum nor Foles is the answer.
Andy Reid is a coach of the year candidate. A month ago, it would’ve been easy for the Chiefs to pack up and quit on the season. They were 1-5, and their best player, Jamaal Charles, was lost for the season. But after yesterday’s blowout win over the Chargers, the Chiefs have won four straight games, all by double-digit margins, and at 5-5 they’re right in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Reid deserves an enormous amount of credit for keeping the Chiefs on track. And he also deserves some credit for giving the ball to his enormous defensive tackle yesterday at the goal line.