It hasn’t been a week since the BCS National Championship game, a game Colt McCoy dreamed about his whole life. In McCoy’s final game as a Longhorn, he had one last shot to bring home a national title for the Texas Longhorns. He had been preparing for this game his whole career. The past month of his life had been nothing but studying for one game against the Crimson Tide. The game finally kicked off, and McCoy was ready to lead his team.
But it was not meant to be.
On the opening drive for the Longhorns, McCoy runs an option play and takes a hit to his right shoulder – his throwing arm. McCoy gets up from the hit but motions to the sideline; he has to come out of the game. He will not return.
The quarterback who has played every game for Texas in the past four years – the one who never gets hurt – is knocked out in the biggest game of his career on the fifth offensive play.
McCoy goes into the locker room to have his shoulder examined. Longhorn fans are hoping somehow McCoy will return. The X-rays come up negative; nothing is broken or fractured. McCoy is now pleading with trainers to clear him to come back and play. This is his team and his time. Then the moment of truth comes for McCoy. Colt lines up 7 yards away from his dad, Brad McCoy, and attempts to throw a short pass. It’s a throw he has made millions of times. He grabs the ball and throws it. It goes soft and wide. He demands another throw and tries again, but his arm has nothing left. Later, he will say it felt like a “noodle.”
McCoy’s career as a Longhorn is over. The father hugs his son as McCoy breaks down in the locker room. McCoy goes out and tries to encourage his team. Texas makes a comeback, led by freshman quarterback Garret Gilbert. Gilbert has brought the ‘Horns back, and they now trail 24-21, with three minutes left in the game. Texas gets the ball and has one last chance for a miracle comeback. Gilbert takes the snap, and McCoy watches as Eryk Anders comes unblocked from the blind side. Anders nails Gilbert and forces a fumble. Alabama scores and rolls on toward the national title.
Everything McCoy worked for was taken away in one play. You could see McCoy’s heart breaking on the sidelines, watching as the game slipped away. The game ended, and Lisa Salters ran to McCoy to interview him. She asked him how hard it was for him. He could barely answer; he was fighting back his emotions. Then he said something unforgettable. He said he had given everything he had to this game and to Texas, and he would have given anything to be out there with his team. He took a moment and continued.
“I always give God the glory,” he said. “I never question why things happen the way they do. God is in control of my life, and I know that if nothing else I am standing on the rock.”
On the biggest stage of his career, with the eyes of Texas and America upon him, McCoy stood like a modern-day Job – strong in his faith, even when everything was taken from him. McCoy may be remembered only for winning awards and football games, but the man he is off the field is the one who is truly great. That is the hard sports truth.