You've made it to Pride and Pettiness.
Even though Big Ten football action returned this fall, we're still living in tough times. Some people, like our very own Ramzy, like to cope by looking back at happy memories. I, personally, like to revisit moments of satisfying pettiness.
Like Ramzy, my philosophy is simple. From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:
For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?
That we do, Jane. In today's chapter, we're traveling back to San Francisco's dominant win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football last year.
Before we get to the game mentioned above, it's important to provide context. Pettiness can't exist without a moment in the past to build from.
That moment came to Ohio State and its fans, painfully, on the evening of September 9, 2017. No. 5 Oklahoma invaded Ohio Stadium to take on second-ranked Ohio State, and quarterback Baker Mayfield wanted to draw even after the Buckeyes dominated in a 45-24 rout in Norman the year before.
That's exactly what Mayfield did. The eventual Heisman Trophy winner threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns against the Buckeyes in a convincing 31-16 Sooner win.
The moment could have ended there, but Mayfield wanted to indulge in a bit of pettiness himself. After the game, he took an enormous "OU" flag from the band, unravelled it, circled to midfield where some of his teammates had gathered, and stuck the flag directly into the heart of the Block O logo.
He later apologized and said his intention wasn't to offend anyone, but his comments in an interview with Rich Eisen made it clear there wasn't any true remorse.
There’s a lot of sensitive people in this world in this day and age. I’m going to offend a lot of people. It’s just the nature of the position I’m in. You’ve got to try and stay a little bit level-headed and enjoy the win, but at the same time, not tick too many people off. I wouldn’t take it back, but it was meant to be just for our team.
Two years went by. Baker went on to become the first overall pick and starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. A year later, Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa was selected second overall by the San Fransisco 49ers.
Baker and Bosa's paths crossed again on October 7, 2019.
The pettiness took a while to come to fruition.
In 2018, Mayfield took over as Cleveland's quarterback and gave a tortured fanbase (that I belong to, for what it's worth) hope. After years of aggressive badness, the Browns found a spark in Mayfield, who was largely responsible for seven wins in the team's final 14 games of the season.
An offseason move that brought one of the league's most dangerous wideouts in Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland, the city and its fans were in a frenzy ahead the 2019 season. With Baker behind center and a bevy of firepower at his fingertips, the Browns were dark horses in the AFC.
An uneven 2-2 start that featured a big win over Baltimore had Cleveland feeling confident heading into its Monday Night Football showcase against the unbeaten 49ers.
And that's when things collapsed for Mayfield and the Browns.
San Fransisco completely dominated the game, outgaining Cleveland 446-180 in the 31-3 rout. Thanks to the pressure Bosa and the 49ers defense created, Mayfield was subjected to what was arguably the worst performance of his professional career, completing just 8-of-22 passes for 102 yards and two interceptions.
Bosa was a huge part of Mayfield's misery that night. He registered four tackles, three tackles for loss and two Mayfield sacks. It was after one of those two sacks when Bosa surrendered to his pettiness.
NICK BOSA GETS THE SACK AND PLANTS THE FLAG.— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 8, 2019
Buckeyes apparently never forget, and neither did Bosa on the night he got the better of Mayfield.