Sunday NFL Insider: Remember McCown? Nooooooo!

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 1, 2013 - 7:46 AM
hide

Kevin Williams pressured Cardinals quarterback Josh McCown during the final game of the 2003 season. McCown denied the Vikings a playoff berth by beating them on the final play.

Photo: Star Tribune file photo,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

According to the NFL, the average career length for a rookie who makes an opening-day roster is six seasons. Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams is close to doubling that as he nears the end of his 11th season.

In fact, at 33, Williams has been around so long that he’ll get another shot at Josh McCown a full decade after that infamous day in the desert.

“So he was the guy in Arizona, huh?” Williams said this week as he prepared for McCown and the Bears to visit Mall of America Field on Sunday.

Yes, Kevin. Yes, he was.

Facing fourth-and-25 from the Vikings 28-yard line with four seconds left and the Vikings leading 17-12 at Sun Devil Stadium, it was McCown, then a second-year backup with an 0-2 record as a starter, who launched the ball that would sink a season.

The Cardinals were 3-12 in 2003 and had lost seven in a row. The Vikings were 9-6 and would clinch the division if McCown’s desperation throw fell incomplete.

By now, the image of that play and the call by Paul Allen, the team’s radio voice, has been forever burned into Vikings history.

“Nooooooooooooo!”

“What do I remember?” Williams asked this week. “I remember that the force-out rule was [ridiculous] and got changed a couple years after that. Too late for us, though.”

Nate Poole went up for that catch in the right corner of the end zone as time expired. Cornerback Denard Walker and safety Brian Russell converged on Poole, forcing him out of bounds. And for several seconds beyond that, Vikings players and fans waited for the referee to check the replay to confirm the touchdown call.

“That guy clearly was pushed out,” Williams said. “Now, if you’re pushed out, you’re pushed out, and it doesn’t count as a touchdown. It only makes sense. How you going to rule on a play based on whether you think a guy might have gotten his feet inbounds?”

Vikings players were left strewn about the field when replay confirmed the call. The 18-17 loss not only knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs but handed the Packers the division title.

Williams, a rookie then, had a huge game with a team-high eight tackles, three sacks, two passes defensed and an interception that should have sealed the game considering the Vikings had the league’s top-ranked offense.

With 8 minutes, 48 seconds left in the game, Williams’ interception gave the Vikings the ball at the Arizona 29. But the Vikings mustered 1 yard before settling for a 46-yard field goal by Aaron Elling.

Vikings 17, Cardinals 6. But McCown suddenly got hot. He threw a 2-yard touchdown pass with 1:54 left and then returned to the field immediately when the Cardinals recovered the onside kick.

Sacks on consecutive plays by Williams and Lance Johnstone turned the momentum by creating the fourth-and-25 situation. But, well, you know the rest.

McCown is 34 now. Since 2002, he’s played for the Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, Bears and, in 2010, the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League. He’s 15-21 as an NFL starter, including 2-1 with seven TDs, one interception and a 100.8 passer rating in relief of the injured Jay Cutler this season.

He’s also 2-0 against the Vikings, having also beaten them as a member of the Bears in Week 17 of the 2011 season.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close