Some have called it the best touchdown ever, but the man who scored it won't give himself a perfect score.
Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson provided loads of holiday joy with an eye-popping somersault over Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington on Saturday, capping off a remarkable 19-yard touchdown reception.
Simpson's explanation for the move is quite simple: He didn't want to get slammed. "It seemed like he was going to hit me and I didn't want to get hit," Simpson told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "And I used my athletic ability and my jumping ability."
Despite his leap going viral thanks to Shutdown Corner and other popular sports websites, Simpson won't accept a flawless grade. He says the landing wasn't perfect.
"Yeah, that was one of the key points (of the play), me sticking the landing," Simpson told Cincinnati.com. "I don't think if I stuck the landing, it wouldn't have been as exciting. But you know, I stuck the landing like a gymnast. A lot of the guys gave me a (perfect) '10' on it. I think it was like a 9 maybe, because I touched the ground (with my hand) a little bit. But I just wanted to make a great play for my team -- you know, have a Merry Christmas and just be happy."
The pride of little Reidsville, N.C., with a population of less than 15,000 (dubbed the "Football Capital" of the State), Simpson has shown his athletic ability for years. He was the runner-up for North Carolina's Mr. Football Award at Reidsville High School, leading his prep team to consecutive state championships and leading the basketball team to its first title as a senior.
A computer technology major at Coastal Carolina, Simpson's jumping ability isn't a surprise to Chanticleer fans. He starred in track as well as football in college, setting school records in high jump and long jump. The Bengals picked him in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Simpson has 45 catches for 671 yards and four touchdowns in an inconsistent season.
Simpson said almost nothing to the press after police tracked 2.5 pounds of marijuana shipped to his Cincinnati area home. Simpson was questioned by law enforcement about the pot, but as of now the Bengals receiver hasn't been charged with any crime.
The Bengals could clinch a playoff birth with a win against Baltimore this weekend, but don't tell that to their fan base. It's gotten so bad that players are begging fans to sell out Paul Brown Stadium.
"I just want to thank the fans who were out there today," defensive lineman Domata Peko told the Enquirer after the win on Saturday. "We really felt you guys out there, and that helped us out big-time. I really want to encourage all of the Cincinnati fans to come out and cheer us on as we try to make the playoffs."
In addition to that sales pitch, the team is offering a two-for-one ticket sale for season-ticket holders.
Despite having a shot at making the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, the Bengals have just one sellout in their past 11 home games, meaning 90.9 percent of recent home games haven't been on TV in the Queen City.
Meaning that if you live in Cincy and love the Bengals, you'll have to show up to see Jerome Simpson's next jump.
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