WITH ARMS WIDE OPEN

post number three

On November 22, 2001, the Mike Shanahan-led Denver Broncos took on a terrible Dallas Cowboys team. It was Thanksgiving in Texas Stadium, with a crowd of over 64,000.

The Broncos were up 26-3 going into the fourth quarter. The Cowboys mounted a comeback, but still came up short, losing 26-24.

Literally none of that matters. What does is what happened at halftime.

Do you have 7 minutes and 15 minutes to spare?

You do?

Great. Please click play, on the greatest video of all time.

Two months after 9/11, religious figure Scott Stapp and his band Creed walked on that Texas turf with a singular goal: America.

How can your goal just be “America”? I’m still trying to figure that out, but after watching this, it’s the only answer.

The video starts off with Jerry Jones and a few officials putting nickels in the Salvation Army jar. And then, immediately, CHAOS.

These two land figure skaters, followed by Scott Stapp in a Cowboys jersey tucked into Wranglers really sets the tone for the next 7 minutes.

Look at Stapp.

He’s an angel.

He launches into “Higher,” which you don’t think is a banger but most certainly is. As he croons, there are more dancers, as well as the entire armada of Cowboys cheerleaders. Even though this is Thanksgiving, there’s a real Super Bowl energy in the air.

At 1:00, however, things change. Permanently.

That guitar riff reminds us that we’re heading straight for this triumphant hook. But before we get there, Stapp gives us a little peak:

SCOTT STAPP IS WEARING A SCOTT STAPP JERSEY.

You heart is racing, because you know he’s about to go full Christian Rock with “can you taaaake, meeeee hiiiiigher.” And he does that, please believe it. But—

You know when people are like, “damn, I wish I could go back and watch The Wire again for the first time?” Yeah, that’s how I feel about seeing the Golden Child go full Cirque Du, in Texas Stadium.

A second aerialist appears, and they fly around, harnesses nowhere to be found. It seems like nothing can top this, not even this facial hair.

By the time 2:00 rolls around, we’re in pure inspirational mayhem. Stapp is jumping around, hitting spins. The goatee guy is surrounded by the red women dancers. The bald aerialist has wrapped his body 50 feet in the air like a mummy. THESE PEOPLE HAVE SHOWN UP:

Those are the big, obvious things. But there’s also a subtle thing — Scott Stapp has not stopped singing, but has seamlessly transitioned from “Higher” to “My Sacrifice.”

It’s hard to notice because the songs have 96% of the same DNA. “Higher” into “My Sacrifice” is basically Rick Ross doing “B.M.F.” into “MC Hammer.” Anyway:

When you are with me, I'm freeeeeeee
I'm caaaaaareless, I belieeeeve
Above all the others we'll flyyyyyyyy

This brings tears to my eyes
My sacrifice

The next 30 seconds: a back and forth of Stapp singing and videos of first responders. This is a rollercoaster. In case you’re wondering what that feeling is that’s creeped into your gut — don’t worry, it happens to all of us.

Welcome to the Cult of Stapp.

Once you hit 4:00, it starts to go off the rails, mainly because we’ve entered Creed’s third song, “Don’t Stop Dancing,” which is not a banger like the previous two.

There is some of everything on this field, with at least 8 different performances happening, in this one performance. Meanwhile, you’re joshing with yourself, saying “Who else could come out? A Black children’s choir?”

This is Scott Stapp’s version of “What’s Up With That.” This is so incredible — a genuine masterpiece. Look at Stapp build with my two young vacation bible student kings.

A lot of hilarious things have happened in this performance. But nothing tops 5:28, when The Woman with the Silly Belt appears.

She shows up, sings 5 words, and is gone. No explanation.

I think about her career every day.

How does this video end? Um, exactly how it had to, with as many people on the field as there are in the stands.

But just before Stapp hit that final note, to save America, the final piece of the puzzle.

No one asked Creed to go this hard. And yet.