- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Brandon Moore has perhaps the most famous butt in sports, and he's not happy about it. He was just doing his job last Thursday night, blocking, and now people are cracking jokes about his rear end -- all because Mark Sanchez mistakenly thought his backside was ... you know, daylight.
"I really don't know what to say about it," the New York Jets right guard said in a quiet moment Monday at his locker. "It's the weirdest play I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of plays over my time in football."
Moore is a good player and a good guy, one of the classiest people on Woody Johnson's payroll, but here's what happens when a season goes spectacularly bad: It creates a vortex so powerful it can pull innocent bystanders into the maelstrom.
It got Moore. It got him bad.
He had no idea it was such a big deal until he caught wind of it on the Internet, got home and watched the replay. His initial reaction?
"It doesn't even matter what my reaction was," he said.
How many times has he seen it?
"I've seen it enough."
Is he surprised it has become so talked about?
"The littlest things nowadays turn into Internet sensations. It's not surprising."
Does that bother him?
"Yeah, to be part of something like that is ... it's not something you want to be part of."
Moore was careful not to dump on his quarterback, who dumped on himself by admitting after the Jets' humiliating loss to the New England Patriots that he forgot the play and turned out the wrong way on a handoff. Aborting the play, Sanchez scrambled toward the line of scrimmage, but he ran into Moore's backside, went down hard and fumbled.
Naturally, it was returned by the Patriots for a touchdown. That's probably when Fireman Ed decided to B-O-L-T.
No doubt, Sanchez's butt fumble will be the defining moment of the Jets' season -- unless they have more football folly up their sleeves. If things don't change for Sanchez, it might be the defining moment of his career. Seventeen years later, Jets fans still lament Bubby Brister's shovel pass against the Carolina Panthers, remembering it as the symbol of futility of the Rich Kotite era.
Sanchez wasn't available to the media Monday; he speaks on Wednesday and Sunday. Moore didn't hide. He faced a group of reporters, politely -- if not expansively -- answering questions about his behind and how it became involved in one of the most infamous plays in Jets history.
Moore objected to Cris Collinsworth's depiction of the play. On the NBC telecast, Collinsworth credited Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, saying Wilfork "just threw Brandon Moore into Mark Sanchez ... This is what Reggie White used to do to people, just fork-lift them."
Moore is a prideful competitor, and no offensive lineman wants to be talked about that way on national TV.
"The Collinsworth guy, I've never really been a big fan of his," Moore said. "To portray it that way and to see it on TV ... when somebody slides into the back of you, you're going to fall. That happens a lot in general.
"You don't know what's going on (behind you). I didn't know what was going on until after the game. During the game, I didn't know. It's a good thing."
Reached by phone Monday, Collinsworth maintained his opinion, although he softened his description. He praised Wilfork for recognizing the busted play and "instead of trying to go around Moore, he pushed him back into the play and made the whole thing happen."
Collinsworth called it a "clever" play by a cagey veteran, adding that Wilfork -- and not Moore -- had the benefit of seeing the play develop. Moore didn't know Sanchez had missed the handoff, but he knew there was a hiccup.
"You could feel it, you knew something wasn't right," Moore said.
It went horribly wrong for the Jets. Quicker than you can say, "Moe, Larry and Curly," they surrendered three touchdowns. It took 52 seconds for the game to fall apart, and probably their season, too.
"You watch football your whole life and to see that many unique, entertaining and funny-in-some-ways plays in one stretch ... it was, 'Wow, what's going on?'" Collinsworth said. "I had to hold in my laughter a couple of times."
Moore wasn't laughing. Asked if he found any amusement in the fumble, he replied tersely, "No."
Earlier, the Jets' senior lineman had distributed fliers to teammates, inviting them to participate in his annual Christmas party for kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Newark. He gets it. The fliers were on stools throughout the locker room on a day in which the Jets returned to work four days after one of the most embarrassing losses in franchise history.
The Jets could use more players like him. Unfortunately, he'll be remembered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
59mBy Tom Friend
9hBy Jackie MacMullan
1dEric D. Williams