One plays on ice, the other on gridiron. One was in sub-freezing temperatures, the other in the Arizona desert. One makes $2.5 million, the other is a 22-year-old college student.
But on Wednesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk and Baylor QB Bryce Petty both rang in the new year turning in the day’s most dazzling displays of athleticism in front of the biggest audience of their respective careers. And hey, they both did it on a football field.
To understand, let FOX Sports MLB Insider (yes, MLB Insider) Jon Paul Morosi explain:
James van Riemsdyk: baseball goal, hockey game, football stadium.
He is referring to this amazing goal, scored by van Riemsdyk during Wednesday’s Winter Classic. The game was played in a snow flurry at Michigan Stadium, home of the Michigan Wolverines football team, before 105,491 people — the largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game. Anywhere. In the world.
And van Riemsdyk was rewarded after the game, as well, being named to the United States Olympic team headed to Sochi.
As for Petty, he spent his New Year’s evening at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. That’s in a stadium with a roof located in a city whose temperature was in the 60s with clear skies at kickoff. Petty had never started a game in college before this season, so needless to say, a BCS bowl before a national-TV audience was as big as it has ever been for the fourth-year junior.
Oh yeah . . . former Baylor star and 2011 Heisman winner Robert Griffin III was in attendance, too. So with all those eyes on him, when Petty got his shot at the end zone shortly before halftime, nothing was keeping him out. And this was the result — and check the reaction of RG3.