Setting career and franchise records while dealing with personal loss played out as an emotional roller coaster for one NFL player during a whirlwind, tear-filled, trash-talking postgame interview.
Heading into their Sunday Night Football matchup at Lambeau Field, the Detroit Lions had a matching record with the 8-8 home team Green Bay Packers. With nothing but bragging rights on the line as far as their own playoff hopes were concerned, the already eliminated Lions would go to end the Packers’ season as well with a 20-16 victory.
The decisive score in the game came with running back Jamaal Williams’s career and team record 17th rushing touchdown of the season, his second of the night, surpassing the previous record set by Hall of Famer Barry Sanders in 1991. Earning himself a game ball, Williams met up with NBC Sports’ Melissa Stark on the field after the game where he quickly broke out in tears.
“My great-grandfather died on me. I just dedicate this to him,” he began.
“I’m just grateful to do this for him, my grandfather. He was 92. I’m just grateful for him to be in my life, and I’m grateful to be able to play football and do this for him. There’s a lot of memories, a lot of emotion happening right now, but I’m just grateful, I’m grateful to be able to play this game for my great-grandfather,” Williams continued, fighting back sobs.
“I’m glad that he’s looking down on me, and I know I’m making him proud,” he concluded on that point before making a whiplash emotional pivot when asked if the ball was for his grandfather to declare, “And another thing, stop playing us, man!”
“We the Detroit Lions, stop playing with us!” Williams exclaimed. “I don’t even watch TV, but I heard everybody already picked the Packers over us! Stop playing with us! That’s all I gotta say, man. Don’t let these tears fool you; it’s all dog around this mother!”
Ahead of the matchup, seven of the eight-member broadcast team for NBC had picked the Packers while former player and NFL coach Tony Dungy had sided with 55 percent of viewers who were predicting the Lions would be victorious.
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 9, 2023
While Williams stated evenly, “I’m good,” to Stark before stepping away from the interview, viewers had their own takes to offer on the running back’s state of mind after the away game victory that also happened to be against his former team.
He did the shimmy shake going from his pops passing to the network crew not showing the DETROIT LIONS some respect!
— Dak Mack (@SupremeStepDad) January 9, 2023
Dude is a leading character in his own movie lol
— Justali1bit21 (@justali1bit) January 9, 2023
This dude straight up cut a WWE style promo. Had the Cody Rhodes tears and everything
— Matthew Smothers (@TheMattSmothers) January 9, 2023
Man went from crying tears of joy to popping off
— Cristian⚔️ (@AltxriaL) January 9, 2023
Others decidedly considered Williams’s viral video to be the “best interview ever,” but he was in close competition with himself following the game from the previous week when after the game he told the press, “I don’t care. I just wanna play football and go home…I just wanna go home and play Pokémon,” before calling out a reporter on how to properly pronounce it, “Don’t do that. You can’t disrespect Pokémon like that.”
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