Whenever my wife and I have a disagreement, one of us will always try to do reconciliation before we go to bed. Her late grandmother always used to say, “Never go to bed angry, ‘cause you never know what will happen the next day.”
That never happened for Jack Tatum and Darryl Stingley.
Both became part of NFL folklore in one of the most vicious hits in football history. The collision between Tatum and Stingley happened on Aug. 12, 1978, at Oakland Coliseum.
Stingley ran a route, cutting inside, when he lunged for a pass which fell incomplete. Bearing down at full speed from the opposite direction, Tatum met Stingley while the receiver was off balance and leaning forward. Stingley crumpled to the ground, his fourth and fifth vertebrae severed.
(It’s hard to believe, visualizing the hit in words. But if you saw the play in real time, your heart would have just stopped. It was that vicious.)
Over the years, Stingley would regain limited use of his body, but he spent the rest of his life in an electric wheelchair. He died in 2007.
There were never words of consolation or an apology from Tatum, and the two players never spoke after the hit.
Jack Tatum died today after suffering a massive heart attack due to diabetes. Despite his unforgiving ways, there’s no doubt the hit had a prolonged effect on his mental psyche had some cause for his fatal condition.
And my wife’s grandma made a good point. I could be walking across the street and some screwball will go barreling down the road, hit and kill me. Or, I could be on a plane and the plane could crash.
The moral of the story is, anything can happen on any occasion, at any time. You should always count your blessings, be thankful for what you have and let bygones be bygones.