On Friday, we talked about beauty. Today, we’re talking butts.

That’s right! The Butt Fumble (capitalized letters because it is indeed a proper noun) is likely the most infamous play of The Joey Era, and it’s quite possibly the most epic fail in the history of the NFL. It has its own Wikipedia page, caused ESPN to change the rules of their Not Top 10 plays, and literally ended Mark Sanchez’s career. The one play did all of that—and it also signaled the beginning in a new era of watching sports.

But first, let’s recap the play just in case the highlight doesn’t echo forever in your brain (in which case…what’s wrong with you?). It was Thanksgiving 2012, NBC primetime, Jets-Patriots. A month earlier, the two teams had played and gone to overtime. The Rex Ryan-led Jets were two years removed from back-to-back AFC Title game appearances and had inexplicably traded for Tim Tebow in the offseason. At 4-6, Jets fans were chanting for their team to pull Mark Sanchez in favor for everyone’s favorite youth pastor.

It was the second quarter, and the Jets were down 14-0. The play call was a simple fullback dive, but Sanchez turned left while the fullback ran the designed play, trying to receive a handoff on his right. Momentum carried the quarterback about five yards past the line of scrimmage and then, panicking, he plunged straight ahead—directly into guard Brandon Moore’s ass. The force of the collision swept Sanchez off his feet (let me emphasize this once more…with his face in his offensive linemen’s butt), the ball flew out of his hands, and Patriots safety Steve Gregory recovered it for a touchdown.

The wheels came off from there. The Patriots would score two more touchdowns before another minute ticked off the game clock “I coached for 30 years,” Ryan said later. “That was the worst quarter in the history of my coaching career, and there’s been some bad ones. But not even close to that one. It was brutal.”

It was brutal, but it was also perfect for Twitter. When Sanchez’s face smashed into Moore’s butt, the social media platform was just starting to enter the mainstream. In 2012, the site saw its user base double, and hashtags and the question of what would be trending were just starting to permeate online. Within seconds of the play, GIFs of the play made their way around, and eventually a hashtag emerged. There was a fumble because of a butt. Voila! #Buttfumble was born. An hour after the play first aired, 22,000 people had shared it on Twitter. By the time the postgame highlights were rolling, sportscasters were already adopting the name.

“Social media has really capitalized on the idea of image as a metaphor for life,” Ted Spiker, a journalism professor and social media expert from the University of Florida, told ESPN during a five-year anniversary celebration of the play. “You can sum up your entire existence and your complicated feelings in, like, four seconds. So now the Butt Fumble can describe your Monday or getting rejected at work. Butt Fumble has lived on because of that power that we now put in Vines and GIFs to define our lives for us in four seconds.”

I don’t remember if I was watching the game on TV or not, but I do remember the discussion around the play afterwards online. It was ubiquitous that Thanksgiving night, and with nearly a decade of remove, it’s clear that it was one of the first examples of how sports would exist in the digital age. It proved to be the moment that the digital era officially arrived for sports.

Most of my friends don’t watch many full games anymore, but that’s not to say they don’t know sports, though. They watch Twitter and Instagram for highlights instead, digesting games in the most important frames, picking up storylines from analysts and fans online. The leagues are noticing, too. In 2013, the NFL inked a deal with Twitter to share their highlights on the platform in almost real time. In 2014, the @NBA handle was added to official Spalding basketballs. “The way we’ve looked at it, we’ve been incredibly protective of our live game rights,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “But for the most part highlights are also marketing.”

You’ll read stories about how league ratings are down, but look online and a different pattern is clear. People are as engaged as ever, while watching less and less. You don’t need to wait for the Jets to receive the kickoff, break the huddle, and go through their snap count to see the finished product. You can just see the Butt Fumble, chopped up and shared moments after it happened, and you’ll understand just as much about the game as you would have were you to have watched the whole prequel. It’s why Instagram’s House of Highlights, started by a college junior in 2014, sees over a billion views per month. It’s the new Sportscenter.

The Butt Fumble was a football catastrophe sure, but it was also a perfect storm. Butts, gaffes, and football? It’s a story made for the Internet.

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