This little pigeon helped the Oakland Raiders in a critical special teams situation in a win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
We all knew that Michael Vick coming to town would bring the animal rights activists out to Oakland Coliseum for Sunday's Raiders game. We did not know that the animals themselves would be teaming up with the Raiders against Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.
A silver and black-looking pigeon squatted right on the field for much of the afternoon, taking in the Raiders' 13-9 win over the Eagles. And when the Raiders were clinging to a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter and kicking the ball back to the Eagles, the pigeon lined up on the field with the Raiders' kick coverage unit and literally flew down field to help cover Philadelphia's return man.
NFL.com's footage of the kick shows that the pigeon was a real special teams kamikaze, lining up at the 20-yard line in between Raiders Michael Huff and Todd Watkins before Sebastian Janikowski kicks it off. When the ball is kicked, the pigeon joins the Raiders in kick coverage, flying at chest-level right in between Huff and Watkins. The pigeon stays with the Raiders' coverage unit step-for-step, until Eagles' return man Quentin Demps is brought down in a short return to the Eagles' 23 yard line.
"He is on cue! Watch him go on coverage!", CBS analyst Tim Ryan raved about the pigeon's coverage skills. "He's got contain. He's going to be the contain guy. Not letting anything get outside him on that kick return."
That pigeon might only be one of our fine feathered friends, but don't call him a bird-brain. Because unlike Donovan McNabb, the pigeon didn't try to call a time out when his team didn't have any time outs left.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who will never complain about those pesky pigeons again.