This, folks, was the highlight of the Washington Redskins' preseason for me. If you take this 95-yard punt return by Brandon Banks on its own, it'd be up there. Banks returned a kick almost no punt returner should return for a touchdown, zooming up the middle and racing past the punter easily. Really, though, it's Joe Theismann that makes this sequence amazing.
As you can probably see by the video, Banks holds the ball out a bit while showboating in his final steps to the end zone. It looks like he may have released the ball prior to crossing the plane, which would have been a fumble, giving the ball back to the Buccaneers. Upon seeing this, Theismann exploded on Banks, suggesting the mental gaffe might cost him his roster spot and maybe his career as he knew it. That made it really awkward when the touchdown got upheld.
Here's a full transcript of Theismann, who begins his rant at the two-minte mark.
THEISMANN: "Is it so hard at this day and age to run the ball into the end zone? I don't think football has changed that much where you don't want to score touchdowns."
KENNY ALBERT: "One more yard."
THEISMANN: "It's just, you know, why don't you just run. You know, if you just run around and hand it to an official, you don't have to worry about something like this. It's stupid! It's stupid hot-dogging. See that smile that Mike Shanahan had before? He's not smiling now."
[Camera shows Special Teams coach Danny Smith talking to him]
THEISMANN: "That's Danny Smith trying to explain it to him. See the vein on Danny's neck? It means the conversation isn't going very well for Brandon Banks."
THEISMANN: "We've seen it. It's just, you know, guys, all of a sudden, they get near the goal line and it's like their brain stops working."
THEISMANN: "Here's the other thing. I don't understand where teammates come up and congratulate a guy for being stupid. ... Fred Davis, he can laugh about it. Donte Stallworth, they can laugh about it. They're not the ones that did it. This kid's trying to make a football team."
Then, after a long pause, Theismann unleashed the best part, channeling Muhammad Ali.
THEISMANN: "The problem is, it's not a touchdown. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, make sure you get the ball in your hand or else you won't get a TD."
As the referees came out to make their decision, Theismann added one more thought, saying "maybe this will be a great lesson for Brandon Banks. This could be the one play that changes his career." The referees upheld the touchdown one beat later.