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NostraTravis’s Pretty Good NFL Draft Blog

Who is that?

Woah, who the heck is that?

It’s me, NostraTravis. Here to tell you about which players are going to go where in the NFL draft today, tomorrow, this weekend, and throughout the seven-week long odyssey that is the National Football League’s Fourth Annual Acquisition of Additional Human Sacrifice Volunteers (“It’s a BloodBath!”TM).

Nah, not really. I’m not going to do that. There’s a million folks who are doing that already. I mean that literally — there are 1.27 million different mock drafts available on websites such as: google.com, sports.com, nfldraft.com, whotheheckisgonnagetdrafted.com, pornhub.com, football.com, footballers.com, pigskinsRus.com, and many others. So we’re not going to do that, because even I, the great NostraTravis, don’t really know, and who the heck even cares anyway. I wasn’t going to do anything at all for the draft because I try to avoid the waves of NFL coverage after the Super Bowl until at least August if I can, but there was some popular demand, and dang it friends I am a man of the people.

Instead, we’re going to talk about a couple of the guys that I sure hope the Packers can draft tonight, and maybe a few later this weekend that might be neat. But first! A list of players the Packers will definitely not draft tonight:

  • Jameis Winston – Winston will be drafted before it is the Packers turn, and anyway they already have a quarterback who’s pretty good, maybe you’ve heard of him, his name is Aaron. Idiot. Surprised you didn’t know that.
  • Cleatus – Cleatus is the football robot that began it’s rise to power in 2005 and now runs all of Fox Sports programming with an iron (literally) fist. It is widely rumored that Terry Bradshaw talks like that now because Cleatus punched him in the head, causing severe brain damange. Cleatus is not eligible for the NFL Draft, because he is not a human being.
  • Melvin Gordon III – Stop being silly.
  • Shane “Footsteps” Falco – Footsteps is a great young quarterback who had an incredible performance in the Sugar Bowl. However, he is also a fictional character, and as such is not eligible for this year’s draft.
  • Jake Kumerow – The former UW-Whitewater standout wide receiver is a pretty good football player, but he is not a first round talent. It would be quite a stretch if Ted Thompson were to select him with the 30th overall pick.

FINE we’ll do some real actual #analysis, you big babies. Fine, are you happy? The Packers most glaring needs are on the defensive side of the ball, as they had an exodus of sorts on that side of the ball. At inside linebacker, the Packers lost A.J. Hawk, Jamari Lattimore and Brad Jones (the latter is addition by subtraction, of course), and at cornerback, the Packers will move on without Tramon Williams and Davon House; all five of those players left through free agency/were cut. That leaves them perilously thin at both positions, especially ILB, where their best player is 2013 fourth-round pick Sam Barrington (assuming Clay Matthews shifts back to the outside).

While ILB is Green Bay’s primary position of need, that’s a position where talent can generally still be found on days two and three. By contrast, the elite secondary players are going to fly off the shelves early; last year’s first round saw nine defensive backs selected, including our very own Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Assuming Thompson doesn’t just decide to trade out of the first round altogether (a rather hefty assumption),  here’s a couple of guys he might target tonight:

Jalen Collins, CB, LSU

There’s little doubt about Collins talent: he’s rated at the 5th cornerback in the draft by ESPN. However, it was revealed just a few days ago that Collins had failed “multiple” drug tests at LSU (not that the NCAA would give a rip about that as long as he didn’t sign his name on the joints before he inhaled them). Or course, Thompson has a history of not worrying too much about off-the-field issues; he brought Johnny Jolly back after his stint in jail, resigned Letroy Guion after his arrest this off-season, and drafted Colt Lyerla last year (the latter may have given him some pause, however).

Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut

You may remember Jones as the fellow who broke not only the combine record, but the world record as well, in the broad jump back in February. If broad jumping were worth any points in the NFL, Jones would probably be one of the first players drafted tonight, but it’s not. It does speak to his athleticism however. Considered more of a third day prior to the combine, Jones rocketed up to possible first round territory with his performance there.

Eric Rowe, CB, Utah

Rather than pretending I know much of anything about Rowe, I’ll just point you to Acme Packing Co., where Evan Western (@TexWestern) posted a piece about him yesterday morning.

Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota

A little bit outside the box here, as Williams fits neither position of greatest need and the Packers just spent a third round pick on Richard Rodgers last year, who showed flashes of ability. But Williams is the best tight end in this class by a significant margin, and Rodgers (Aaron, that is) an the Packers offense struggled mightily at the beginning of last season as the Packers desperately sought a tight end who could make some plays offensively.

Anyway, I want to just quick close by saying that if you spend this evening watching the draft instead of Bucks-Bulls game six, what in the entire world is wrong with you? Get your head on straight. The best way to follow the draft is to check the internet when it is over because there is zero benefit to watching Kiper and McShay drone on about who cares what, and don’t even get me started on Chris Berman. Go Bucks. Fear The Dear.

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Merry Christmas, Packers fans.

2015 hasn’t exactly been the greatest year for Packers fans so far, but strap on your party hats (don’t wear cheeseheads. don’t ever wear a cheesehead), Packers fans:

Our six year long statewide nightmare is finally over as Jones joins the two other NFC Championship Game special teams goats, Brandon Bostick and Shaun Slocum, with a pink slip of his own. 15 minutes after the news was announced, “LB Brad Jones” was the 4th highest treding topic on Twitter dot com in the entire dang United States. Let the fire takes parade commence:

Travis’s Mailbag #1

Well hello there, folks. Guess what it’s a new feature of Bucky’s Beer Cheese Co. (that is the name of my blog but don’t worry it doesn’t matter), it’s Travis’s Mailbag. This new feature will appear pretty much every time I think it’s time to do one. It includes real questions from actual readers people I know. Some of the questions are about sports, some are not. I hope you like it. If you don’t, please send all complaints to a therapist, they’re awesome at listening.

jlaw

That analogy was in no way a thinly vieledexcuse to use a picture of JLaw.

What difference in performance will we see this weekend in the Green Bay offense against Seattle with three key scratches (Davante Adams, Bryan Bulaga and Eddie Lacy) from week one that are now available and playing well?

-Ian F., Kenosha, WI

Comparing the Packers offense in week one of 2014 to the Packers offense in, say, November, when the Packers averaged 39.5 points per game, is like comparing the attractiveness of pre-pixie cut1 Jennifer Lawrence to the burned side of Harvey Dent’s face. Sure, you can do it, but you shouldn’t, because you’ll only wear yourself out and honestly it’s irresponsible.

Green Bay’s offensive line in week one featured Derrick Sherrod, who might represent Ted Thompson’s greatest draft failure of his ten year run as the Packers GM, starting for the injured Bulaga; and Corey Linsley, a fourth round draft pick pressed into a starting role due to JC Tretter’s injury. The Packers were abused by Seattle’s defensive line; Sherrod posted a PFF grade of -6.4 for the game (an explanation of their grading process is here, but -6.4 was the lowest of the game, and among the lowest in the league that week) while being exposed repeatedly in pass protection by Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Linsley was also ineffective, which you might expect from a rookie playing his first meaningful snaps against the defending Super Bowl champions in the most hostile environment in the NFL.

Now, the Packers have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, with Bulaga now healthy and Linsley, with a season’s worth of experience under his very large belt, playing like one of the top centers in the league. They also have a couple more weapons in the passing game with the emergence of Adams and Richard Rodgers, and of course they have Lacy, who looked like a Trent Richardson starter kit over the first several weeks of the season but has emerged now as one of the NFL’s premier running backs.

All of this leads us here: were Aaron Rodgers healthy, there’s nothing about the Seahawks that really scares me, and I would expect a comfortable win for Green Bay. But he’s not, and the loss of his mobility is something the Packers will miss even more against Seattle’s dangerous defensive line. Rodgers will have to be much closer to 100% than he was last Sunday for the Packers to have a legitimate chance to advance past Seattle. I don’t know if they can do it THE PACKERS ARE GOING TO WIN BY 600 POINTS.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

-Megan L. (@megan_leonard), Lake Geneva, WI

First of all, we need to define some of our terms here. The woodchuck, more commonly known as the groundhog when not starring in North American tongue twisters, is a rodent that belongs to the family of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Groundhogs, common throughout North America, are excellent swimmers and burrowers in addition to their well-documented revulsion toward their own shadows and lackluster meteorological skills. To chuck, according to Webster’s dictionary, is to toss, throw or discard something.

So how much wood would a groundhog throw, if it could throw wood? When digging it’s burrow, a groundhog moves about 35 cubic feet of dirt. The wood of a sugar maple tree weighs approximately 56 pounds per cubic foot. So a woodchuck would chuck about 1960 pounds of wood, if a woodchuck only could.

Are there hats?

-Brett H. (@bhtherightway), Madison, WI

Unfortunately, there are no hats at the present time.

Wei+Chung+Wang+Milwaukee+Brewers+Photo+Day+0JUlREp1ykVl

Despite a passing resemblance to Number Eight, it is unlikely that Wang is a Cylon.

Will Wei-Chung Wang ever develop into the pitcher the Brewers hope he will?

-Cael K. (@calejames), East Troy, WI

That depends on what sort of pitcher the Brewers hope Wang will be. At the minimum, based on their actions to date, you have to assume that the baseline is “at least the sort of pitcher that justifies torpedoing your own bullpen in a year in which you were in first place for five months as you consistently overused young pitchers in high leverage situations, causing them to burn out in June both physically and mentally, as the team played basically a man down for four months until you were able to find a doctor to lie about a phantom injury long enough to hide him on the disabled list, thus circumventing the spirit of the Rule 5 draft process.”  In that scenario, you’re looking at Wang needing to be a Cylon specifically engineered to be the greatest baseball pitcher of all time, consistently hitting 145-150 mph on the gun and treating the inside corner of the plate like the roof of the Sistine Chapel.

Do I think Wang can be that? Not really. If anything, Cylons would have been engineered to play Pyramid, which is a boring game anyway, and he has yet to exhibit the kind of mechanics that might be able to produce those kind of eye-popping fastball speeds.

Why is purple?

-Rob Z., Waukesha, WI

Oh, we got a wise guy, eh?

What is the greatest boy band of all time?

Stephanie, C., Racine, WI

What is a boy band?

-You need a collection of boys making music (you know, because words mean things)

-No instruments. If I so much as see a guitar string, you’re out (sorry, Hanson)

-If you weren’t managed by Lou Pearlman, that’s not a good sign (if you were managed by Lou Pearlman, that’s not really great either)

-No writing your own music. Are you kidding me? Out of the question. Get real.

Fine, fine, FINE. We know what this comes down to. After the jump:

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The Backstreet Boys are the best boy band of all time. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!! Look, N*Sync was great. The video for “Bye Bye Bye” was iconic, Tearin’ Up My Heart is a dope track, and their Christmas album is as important at holiday gatherings as the the damn cheese and crackers. But we are talking about the Backstreet Boys here. Millennium is one of the greatest albums of all time, and went Platinum 13 times in the United States. THIRTEEN DAMN TIMES! They invented Diamond, a certification better than Platinum3, in Canada because the Backstreet Boys sold too many dang records. “I Want It That Way” belongs in the Library of Congress, and if you sing it in a crowded karaoke bar it will cause all ladies within earshot to fall in love with you4.

In your opinion, why, when Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Bjork worked together, did they not call Byorke or Thom Bjork or anything like that?

-Adam G. (@AmadJames), Milwaukee, WI

First of all, let’s clarify something. Nothing read here is “my opinion”; this collection of molten-hot takes is comprised entirely of verified, indisputable facts4. Now, I don’t know anything about either of these artists. The only thing I know about Radiohead is that they are Scott Tenorman’s favorite band, which means I absolutely want nothing to do with them, because Scott Tenorman sucks. The entire sum of my knowledge of Bjork and her work comes from the following classic Celebrity Jeopardy clip from SNL, which you will now watch before continuing with my mailbag (if you don’t watch it, I’ll know).

Celebrity Jeopardy - 2002-05-18 - Dave Matthews, Bjork, Sean Connery

Anyway, the answer to your question, most likely, is poor management. In the high-stakes business of Icelandic folk rock, it’s important to brand your image correctly, and this was obviously a missed opportunity.

Why isn’t Flint Flossy everyone’s favorite rapper?

-Jesse D., Whitewater, WI

It’s Flynt, Jesse, and he is. Ladies love F dot Floss, Flynt Flo double, Internatioknown, ya feel me. You know better than that. Ol’ McFlossy had a freak so E I E I E I E I OHH.

Who was your favorite obese Brewers bullpen pitcher, and why?

-Cael K. (@calejames), East Troy, WI

This one’s easy: Ray King. My boy was 6’1″ and listed at 225 pounds (yeah…naw), and the hefty lefty (h/t Jared Lorenzen) mowed fools down in his first season with the Crew in 2000. His strong debut and our shared southpaw status made Burger a fan favorite in the Sarandos household.

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The hat I’m talking about. It is real and it definitely exists.

My fun story involving Ray: my dad took me to the MLB Fan Fest when the All-Star game came to Milwaukee in 2001. We hopped in line at the Fox Sports North booth, where Ben Sheets was on hand to tape faux Sports Center-type clips with young fans along with a couple other players and the Brewers TV broadcast team. I had my hat5, signed by both Sheets and Ray King, who was at the time my favorite player. As we made our way through the line, Bill Schroeder asked me if I wanted his autograph as well. I really didn’t, but 14-year-old me had the grace to not shoot the poor guy down, so Rock signed the hat too. I then went on to make my on-screen debut. The almost certain fact that the video of me awkwardly reading a fake sports highlight clip next to Ben Sheets is going to re-surface during my wedding reception remains a constant source of anxiety for me.

What is true about you today that would make your 8-year-old self cry?

-Matt H., Salt Lake City, UT

We never get to marry Mallory Voelker. We don’t even date. However, she does invite us to play four square once in 5th grade. You’ll be shocked to learn that she knows your name, even though there’s only 25 dang kids in your class, and it will be the highlight of your time at Magee Elementary. Other things that may upset you to learn: the Brewers still haven’t won the World Series, they made a The Lion King 2 and it’s just awful, and we’re going back to school at age 27 on purpose.

What is love, and why does Haddaway keep asking that after all these years?

-Stephen J. (@johnsonsd04), Rockford, IL

Love is when her favorite girl from The Bachelor doesn’t get a rose, and she’s crying she’s so upset about it, and you pretend like that’s not absolutely insane. The reverse of this is any woman tolerating our reaction to every sports game ever. Haddaway only keeps asking that question because you keep listening to that song, which is really only acceptable if you’re watching 1990s SNL. Get your life together, son, that’s my advice to you. Start listening to better music. Like Taylor Swift.

Travis’s Mailbag was filmed in front of a live studio audience. Any rebroadcast, re-transmission or account of this mailbag without the express, written consent of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club is strongly encouraged and appreciated.

1Pixie cuts are awful. “BUT THAT’S SEXIST WOMEN DON’T HAVE TO DO THEIR HAIR THE ‘CORRECT’ WAY JUST TO PLEASE YOU!” No you don’t that’s correct but I don’t have to like what you like. I also don’t like mayonnaise or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Please note: post-pixie cut JLaw is still an absolute smoke show.

2Yes it was.

3I don’t know if Canada invented the Diamond certification specifically for the Backstreet Boys. Probably not.

4This is not true.

5The existence of this hat does not contradict the answer to Brett’s question, in which I state that no hats exist at the current time.

Top 5 best and worst Wisconsin sports moments of the last 25 years

de8a9-download5Following the US Men’s National Team’s thrilling victory over Ghana on Monday, I’m in the mood to rank the five best and worst sports moments I’ve experienced in my life. These are all going to be single moments, rather than entire games or seasons that were amazing, which is why you won’t find the either of the Packers’ Super Bowl wins, the Badgers’ Final Four runs/Rose Bowl championships, etc. here. Also, this suffers from an inevitable recency effect, as the memory of huge moments fades over time. Deal with it. We’ll start with the bad, to send you out on a high note.

Top Five Sports Heart-breakers

Shameful mention: Shaun Marcum announced as Game 6 starter in 2011 NLCS, Kirk Cousin’s hail mary beats No. 6 Wisconsin, Ray Allen misses the tip-in to win in Philly in the game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals

5) 4th and 26

Date: January 11, 2004

Location: My parent’s living room

This play was so painful it has its own Wikipedia page. After their thrilling overtime victory over Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks a week earlier, the Packers were one play away from a berth in the NFC Championship. Two incompletions, a penalty and a sack left the Eagles facing, well, you know what, with 1:18 left and no timeouts remaining on their own 25 yard line, trailing 17-14. The probability of a loss for the Packers was just slightly higher than the likelihood of Lance Armstrong winning another Sportsman of the Year award. Instead, Nick Barnett blew his coverage, Darren Sharper blew his coverage, Bhawoh Jue blew his coverage, and the Eagles were able to tie. Moments later, a Brett Favre overtime interception (stay tuned for more!) set up David Akers for the game winner.

4) The Catch II

Date: January 3, 1999

Location: Hannah Spear’s birthday party

This would have been heartbreaking in it’s own right: On 3rd and 3 from the Packers’ 25 with eight seconds left and the Packers leading 27-23, Steve Young fired a strike to Terrell Owens to give the 49ers a miracle win after Favre had lead the team on what seemed to be the game-winning drive moments earlier as the Packers sought their third straight Super Bowl appearance (*huff huff huff* how about THAT sentence?). What made it even more painful was that replays clearly showed that Jerry Rice had fumbled four plays earlier in a play that the referees missed (replay review would come to the NFL the following season). Adding to the heartache, this would be Reggie White’s final game as a Packer, as he retired following the season (and then came back to play for the Panthers). I cried in my parents’ room for an hour after this game.

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Can you not

3) Aaron Harrison’s trey ends the Badgers’ title hopes

Date: April 5, 2014

Location: Replay Sports Bar

I’m still not over this. The building was absolutely rocking with about 300 of my closest friends living and dying on every shot. The collective “oof” when Harrison’s shot went in with 5.7 seconds to give Kentucky an improbable victory was palpable and awful. Even with all that time left on the clock, it just felt like the Badgers’ luck had finally run out, and indeed it had as Traevon Jackson’s prayer clanged off the rim as time expired. This game felt like a battle for the NCAA’s soul, with Bo Ryan and his scrappy team of four-year, team-oriented grinders fighting on the side of good against Calipari’s definitely-not-paid-yet, five-star McDonald’s All-American one-and-dones. As with Butler facing Duke in the championship game just a couple years earlier, it seemed like everyone in the country outside of Lexington was a Badger fan that day. And once again, the evil empire won the day.

2) Favre’s final pass as a Packer intercepted in the NFC Championship

Date: January 20, 2008

Location: E. Harmony Apartment in Whitewater

Playing in their first NFC championship game since 1998, the Packers seemed to be charmed and destined for a Super Bowl appearance in what was widely speculated to be Brett Favre’s last year (lol), After a wild, see-saw game, the teams headed to overtime after Lawrence Tynes missed the potential game winner from 36 yards out with four seconds to play, his second miss of the game. At this point, I’m already an absolute train wreck. When Favre threw the second pass of the overtime period right into Corey Webster’s chest near the home team’s sideline, I had to leave the living room and could only listen, lying face down on my extra-long twin size bed furnished by DLK Enterprises (UW-Whitewater s/o), as the game once again hung on the wildly inaccurate leg of Tynes. Shortly after he connected from 47 yards to put the Giants in the Super Bowl, my roommate and best friend Derek watched me pour the first alcoholic beverage I ever imbibed, the first of three I took before 21st birthday. It was a shot of UV Pink, and it tasted like heartbreak.

644e9-hailmar21) The Fail Mary

Date: September 24, 2012

Location: Mad Dog’s Sports Bar and Grill

Bugger that and bugger you, Seattle.

Top Five Best Sports Moments:

Honorable Mention: Ben Brust’s miracle trey sends the Badgers to OT vs. Michigan (right), Desmond Howard’s kickoff return in Super Bowl XXXI, Ron Dayne breaks the NCAA career rushing record

5) Ryan Braun’s extra innings grand slam beats the Pirates

Date: September 25, 2008

Location: Miller Park Terrace Level

Locked in a tie with the Mets for the Wild Card lead with three games to play, the Brewers were tied at one with the Pirates, a team they’d beaten 12 out of 13 times in 2008, heading into extra frames. Tensions in the stands were high with the left field scoreboard already flashing the NYM 7, CHC 6 final. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the tenth, Ryan Braun drilled the 2-2 pitch into the Brewers bullpen, keeping the Brewers abreast of New York and sending 43,000 fans into delirium. This of course came two days after Prince Fielder’s own walk-off two-run shot against Pittsburgh, and three days before, well, stay tuned.

4 Graham Zusi and John Brooks shock Ghana

Date: June 16, 2014

Location: Jack’s American Pub

You’ve just seen it, so I won’t bore you with a recap. If you’re not aware, you don’t care anyway. The beautiful corner from one substitute to the second-touch header of the other to finally exorcise the Ghana demons just minutes after Ghana had equalized was one of the greatest moments in recent USMNT history. The bar was jam packed wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, and the the jubilation that occurred after the goal was amazing to be a part of. How much it will mean in the grand scheme of the tournament remains to be seen, but Brooks’ reaction says it all: “OH MY GOD!!!!! Oh my God….oh…my god…I need to lie down.”

3) Rodgers to Cobb puts the Packers in the playoffs

Date: December 29, 2013

Location: Shorewood Apartment

After suffering though two months of bad quarterbacks for the first time in my life, Aaron Rodgers made his triumphant return against the team that knocked him out in a winner-take-all NFC North championship game against the Bears. The lead changed hands four times, and with the Packers trailing by one with 6:24 remaining, the quarterback led the Packers on a game-winning drive that included two fourth down conversions, none bigger than the 48-yard strike to Randall Cobb, who himself had missed the previous 11 games, on 4th and 8 with 38 seconds to play. I watched this at home with some of my best friends, which is really how I should watch all important sporting events, because I don’t do losing in public all that well.

2) Wes Helms and Ryan Braun put the Brewers in the playoffs for the first time in 26 years

Date: September 28, 2008

Location: My cousin Jessica’s birthday party in Racine

The Brewers’ first potential playoff appearance since losing the 1982 World Series to the hateful Cardinals hung in the balance on the season’s final day, with the Brewers, hosting the Cubs, tied for the wild card lead with the Mets, hosting the Marlins. Both games started at approximately the same due to an hour long rain delay at Shea (lol rain delays), and both entered the eighth inning tied. Completely isolated in the corner watching this game on the tiny TV I was allowed to use while the rest of the family watched the Packers lose to Tampa Bay (probably Aaron Rodgers worst game of his career, incidentally), I was an absolute nervous wreck. In the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Braun drilled the first pitch he saw into the left field bleachers, giving the Brewers a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish. Moments later, FSN North cut away to Shea as former Brewer and confirmed terrible third baseman Wes Helms became a Milwaukee hero when he ripped a pinch hit home run, the first of a back-to-back pair with Dan Uggla, to give the Marlins a 4-2 lead in the eighth that also became the final. The Brewers ended their regular season with a nifty double play, the Mets completed their second consecutive September collapse, and playoff baseball returned to Milwaukee for the first time since the Reagan administration.

1) Tony Plush’s extra innings walk-off sends the Brewers to the NLCS

Date: (2011)

Location: Miller Park Terrace Level

After both teams held serve at home, the Brewers and Diamondbacks returned to The Keg for a decisive game five. The D-Backs struck first, scoring in the third, but the Brewers tallied in the 4th and 6th to carry a 1-run lead into the ninth, when John Axford served up three straight hits, including a Willie Bloomquist bunt single that tied the game. With the jam-packed stadium holding it’s breath on every pitch, Carlos Gomez laced a one out single to left, stole second on the 1-1 pitch to Nyjer Morgan, who then just tickled it into the outfield, scoring Gomez and sending 44,000 screaming fans into a sustained fit of delirium that lasted for well over a half-hour before we started to clear the seating bowl. In season full of Plushdamental moments, this one topped them all.