Larry Fitzgerald was having a rough 2018. The 11-time Pro Bowler had yet to record a 100-yard game headed into Week 8’s showdown with the San Francisco 49ers, and had been held to 40 yards or fewer in each of his last six games.
But he broke through against San Francisco in a rare Cardinals win. Not only he he explode for a vintage eight catch, 102-yard performance but he also, for the first time in his career, celebrated a trip to the end zone with an emphatic spike.
The uncharacteristic celebration came moments after Josh Rosen hit Christian Kirk for a game-changing touchdown with 34 seconds left on the clock. The ensuing two-point conversion to Fitzgerald gave Arizona an 18-15 lead in what would become just the Cardinals’ second win of 2018. He offered up a smile and an apology for the spontaneous moment of catharsis.
“I”ve never spiked a ball before in my life,” he told reporters. “I was a little frustrated and had a heavy heart today because my son Devin — my oldest son — didn’t want to come to the game today. My feelings were a little hurt, so I was carrying that around all day. So when I got in there, I kind of let it out.
”To all the kids that are watching, I’m sorry I set a bad example today.”
That wasn’t the only emotion Fitzgerald was carrying with him Sunday. The former University of Pittsburgh All-American opened his press conference to express his condolences for the Pittsburghers who lost loved ones when an act of domestic terrorism claimed the lives of 11 people at a Squirrel Hill synagogue Saturday.
“Before I even get started on that, I want to give my condolences to the city of Pittsburgh ... I spent two great years at the University of Pittsburgh, and it breaks my heart that such a great city is going through such a tragic loss like that. I know we’re talking about football, but it’s something that was on my heart.”
So Fitzgerald used one serious thing and one silly one serve as the motivation for his best game of 2018. And it all manifested with a high-velocity spike in the end zone and then a formal apology to all the children watching at home who might have taken his celebration the wrong way.
Yep, Larry Fitzgerald is the dad Roger Goodell wishes the NFL had all along.