An Open Letter To Matt Dodge (From Matt Dodge)

by Matt Dodge

[With 12 seconds remaining in last night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, rookie punter Matt Dodge was instructed by New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin to kick the ball out of bounds, which would have likely given the Eagles poor field position, and possibly put the 31–31 game into overtime. A bungled snap resulted in a direct punt to the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson, who scored a 65-yard punt return for a TD as time expired, handing the Eagles a 38–31 victory. Following the Giant’s loss, my Twitter account bearing the name @mattdodge, was flooded by fake ReTweets, vitriolic messages from passionate fans and sarcastic job offers.]

Heyyyy buddy,

How you holding up?

I know we’ve had our differences in the past. I’ve said a lot of nasty things about you to my friends, vowed to outshine you and pursued a career in journalism largely to close the gap in how many times our name appears in print.

But that all changed last night when I saw you getting your head chewed off by Tom Coughlin and I started receiving a slew of hate mail via Twitter and a steady stream of calls from news organizations who thinks this case of mistaken identity is a hilarious “our modern times” kind-of bit.

I mean sure, you have a history of fumbled snaps, something the Fox sportscasters were kind enough to point out shortly before your punt.

And yeah, you couldn’t really have sent a more direct kick to Jackson if you had used FedEx Same Day shipping, which you think someone might have mentioned, brand integration-wise at least.

But does that justify @nick_salvapapi’s characterization of you as a “chode blaster”? Or @InDaMixRadio’s suggestion that “you need to go into witness protection…NOOOOW!!!!”?

As @MzBrownSugah “gathers lynching mob”, let’s look at how all this started, and try to figure out a game plan going forward — one that you’ll stick to this time.

As near as I can tell, it began when @MrEkay267 posted a fake ReTweet shortly after The Punt reading “RT @MattDodge: Who’s Hiring?”.

Clever and topical, if ill-researched, but ultimately something I’m used to in managing the Twitter account for a Maine-based free daily that shares a name with South Africa’s largest newspaper.

Now, I always intended on offering to sell you my Twitter handle. I was just going to wait until you were making a little more than the pittance they call a rookie salary in the NFL. I’m glad to hear Coughlin plans to keep you on, so keep me in mind.

I mean, I’m not some screen name hoarder out to make a buck, I’m just a 23-year-old journalist named Matthew Dodge who has always enjoyed the monosyllabic appeal of our shortened name and is slightly more in tune with trends in social media.

As my friend Jimmie Connors (who is not the tennis star, but yeah, I get the joke) advised, citing the recent firing of Redskins punter Hunter Smith, “@MattDodge sell now, every punter is just one bungled snap away from unemployment.”

I’m also not interested in your job, so no worries about me taking up the innumerable offers from people whose involvement with the Giants is probably limited to the amount of licensed fan apparel they own.

And while I don’t have the whole Greater New York City area calling for my head, leg and slippery fingers on a plate, as a journalist I can sort of sympathize with the rigors of the special teams lifestyle — we are largely ignored when the jobs goes right, but make one mistake and they’re all over you.

So listen, man, if you want my Twitter handle, I’ll set a fair price. If not, we need to get together and run some drills, because this ruined my whole day.

THIS Matt Dodge is a journalist and photographer in Portland, Maine and blogs here. Follow him on Twitter before he sells out.