Monday Night Football rules expert John Parry said that Xavier Gipson's walk-off punt return should not have counted due to a penalty. Photo Credit: ESPN Photo Credit: ESPN

It would be hard to imagine the most highly anticipated New York Jets season opener in recent memory getting off to a worse start, with Aaron Rodgers suffering what could very well be a season-ending injury four snaps into his debut for Gang Green.

And yet, the Jets’ matchup on Monday Night Football still ended on a high note, with Xavier Gipson’s 65-yard punt return touchdown in overtime sealing an improbable 22-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Whether you were watching on TV or listening the game on radio, the excitement was palpable (unless, of course, you’re a Bills fan). In a game headlined by a future Hall of Fame quarterback making his debut for one of the league’s longest suffering franchises, it was an undrafted rookie who wound up the unlikely hero — although the game-winning play wasn’t without controversy.

“Gipson inside the 30, hits the jets!” Joe Buck called on the ESPN television broadcast of the game. “And he’s going to go — Jets win it! Touchdown rookie Xavier Gipson. Game over.”

The “ManningCast” — which also featured former Jets and Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as a guest at the time — was simply left stunned.

“Touchdown! Touchdown! The Jets have won!” Kevin Harlan called on the Westwood One radio broadcast before letting the crowd at MetLife Stadium take over. “Sixty-five yard punt return by the rookie, Xavier Gipson! The Jets have won!”

Meanwhile, the call from Bob Wischusen on ESPN New York 98.7 sounded like this:

As many were quick to point out, prior to his overtime heroics, Gipson was best known for being featured as one of the undrafted players attempting to make the Jets’ roster on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” In fact, one of the scenes in the final episode of this year’s series featured Jets head coach Robert Saleh informing the Stephen F. Austin product that he had made the roster.

[Awful Announcing on Twitter]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.