It's nerd Christmas, as the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises was released today to the orgiastic squeals of the internet. There's plenty to take in: Bane's unintelligible speech, Anne Hathaway's vie to become the first woman since Michelle Pfeiffer to actually add something to a superhero movie—but we being sports fans are more concerned with the most apocalyptic football scene on film since Black Sunday. Let's dive in.
The Gotham Rogues front office needs to pick up its game. This is a rivalry, damn it! This is the hated Rapid City Monuments coming to town, and the best you can do for the National Anthem is some little kid? Where's Beyonce? Where's Springsteen? Even Jeff Jimerson would do. If you can't properly get up for the Monuments, you have no hope.
Speaking of the Monuments, their placekicker appears to be Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Roger Goodell must be snoozing on the job, because this has to be some kind of conflict of interest. And Ravenstahl, remember, is such a big Steelers fan that he legally changed his name to "Steelerstahl." I can't imagine Pittsburgh fans are too thrilled that he's now kicking off for Rapid City.
Back to the Rogues. It's hard to believe a team coached by notorious hard-ass Bill Cowher would be so lax on their blocking schemes. Take a look as Hines Ward scampers for the touchdown: not a single yellow jersey to be seen. Did they all give up mid-play and go get some Gatorade? (Props to the late members of the Monuments' linebacker corps. Ward has a clear path to the end zone, and there are still players 25 yards behind him in pursuit. That's hustle.)
We have to think that play is coming back, though. Rule 17.1.1 of the NFL rulebook states that
If any non-player, including photographers, reporters, employees, police, or spectators (or supervillains), enters the field of play or end zones, and in the judgment of an official said party or parties interfere with the play, the Referee, after consulting his crew, shall enforce any such penalty or score as the interference warrants.
I think that's an immediate fine and probably a suspension for Bane, and the game will eventually be resumed from the spot of the previous play.
That's a shame for Ward, who shows a laserlike focus on the end zone, even as potential tacklers lunge at him and the whole of the opposing team drops to a gruesome death. No head on a swivel for Hines. (Reportedly, 15 percent of the film's estimated $250 million budget was spent on making Ward appear to have breakaway speed.)