Scott: The Gallaudet football team and its fans have a lot to be proud of right now. For the first time in nearly 150 years, the Bison are headed to the NCAA playoffs this weekend. Now sure, that is a big deal for any school but Gallaudet is no ordinary school, or team, for that matter. Take a look.
When Coach Chuck Goldstein came to Gallaudet from his high school coaching job, he had a lot to learn.
Coach Chuck Goldstein: How do you feel? A little better?
Scott: Every member of the Bison football team is deaf or hard of hearing, so he had to learn to sign and find other ways to communicate with his players.
Coach Goldstein: I’ve not used a whistle in five years. Our players can’t hear whistles.
Scott: Gallaudet, the nation’s first university for the deaf, has a long and celebrated football program. The Bison invented the huddle, thought up by a quarterback in the 1890s, as way to keep other players from seeing what they signed. But the school, famous for its contribution to the game, wasn’t particularly good at playing it.
Todd Bonheyo: I think the toughest part of this season is actually believing that it’s real. Based on previous seasons, we’ve never had this type of luck or this type of winning streak.
Scott: This year, Gallaudet had an 11-game winning streak, and the team is heading to the NCAA playoffs for the first time in its history.
The team only has 54 players, half the size of most in its division. But between the white lines, it only takes 11.
Adham Talaat: I’m 6’6, 270 pounds.
Jeff: You’re a big dude.
Adham: Thank you.
Scott: Senior Adham Talaat is a defensive end. And he might also be the first Gallaudet player in history to make it to the NFL.
Adham: It’s been a dream of mine since I can remember. And for it to happen here at Gallaudet, I couldn’t imagine a better place.
Scott: Two weeks ago, with just two seconds left in the game, Gallaudet blocked a potential game-winning field goal and returned the ball 79 yards for the win. Running back Nick Elstad says the team hits the field with something to prove.
Nick Elstad: That we can play and that we can compete and, in the end, we always want to have a ‘W’ on our record.
Scott: And just because they can’t hear the cheers, doesn’t mean they can’t feel the win.