Last night I had a strange dream. Not like the one where I was abducted by Vancouver Canucks thugs, but it was strange anyway. It has to do with the Canes, so be patient.
I dreamt that I was attending a Carolina Panthers pre-season football game against the Buffalo Bills. In real life, my dad has season tickets to the Carolina Panthers, and I occasionally go to regular season games, but pre-season football games aren't even remotely fun, so I never go to those, even when I get invited and have the free time.
Back to the dream...
The Panthers were playing the Bills, and it was really late in the game. The Bills were up by four and had the ball deep in their own territory. Buffalo wasn't going to be able to simply run the clock out, so they had to get a first down. Carolina's defense held, and the Bills elected to take a delay of game penalty on fourth down, running the clock down to 0:10. Next, they took a deliberate safety just to give their punter some breathing room, and an unmolested kick.
They punted the ball away, as you have that option following a safety, and there was some mayhem as the Panthers attempted to field the ball. It was a lousy kick, only making it to about the 50 yard line, and there was a big pile of players surrounding the kick returner. After a second or two, the player, Justin Williams emerged from that pack, slipped a few tackles, and lumbered all the way to the end zone for a touchdown and a thrilling win. Nobody knew who he was, because for some reason, he wasn't wearing a Panthers jersey. Or the pants. Or a helmet. He was just wearing blue jeans and a long-sleeve black t-shirt. For some reason, the referees allowed it. I immediately recognized that it was Viva, but I looked at the game program just to make sure. It was him, alright. The hero of the game.
Viva didn't make the opening night roster for the Panthers, but he had that moment of football fame.
As a tidbit of trivia, the empty net goal Viva scored in game 7 was the only empty net goal in Stanley Cup Final game 7 history.
5 years ago