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The timing was so perfect it felt like a comedy skit.
Jason Rudge, an editor with the Weather Channel, set up on Monday to film the planned destruction of the Georgia Dome, the former home of the Atlanta Falcons and where two Super Bowls were once played. Atlanta now has a new, modern center for its sports: the $1.6 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium erected next door to the old dome.
After finding what seemed like the perfect spot across the street from the stadium, he live-streamed the crowd gathering for the big moment for 40 minutes.
The dome’s destruction promised to be a powerful sight. The explosives wired inside would go off for 12 seconds. Three seconds after that, the entire entire 71,250-seat stadium would be on the ground as a pile of smoking rubble, according to the Associated Press.
A man counted down to the implosion on a loud speaker to prepare the crowds.
Five. Four. Three. Two. One.
The moment finally arrived. A small explosion ripped through the dome’s roof and began felling the 25-year-old stadium. Rudge filmed a puff of black smoke shooting out of the building, as a tiny bit of rubble cascaded down its side.
That’s when things when south for the Weather Channel.
A public bus glided in front of the camera, while a symphony of explosions filled the air.
“No bus, get out of the way,” Rudge shouted in an exasperated tone. “Bus!”
The bus did not acquiesce. Instead, it stopped right in front of the camera, blocking most of the view.
Rudge’s cries, now laden with expletives, grew louder.
“Get of the way, bus,” he angrily implored. “Are you …”
The bus did still not move. The dome crumbled to an enormous pile of ash. Rudge screamed in what sounded like anguish.
Then, as quickly as it arrived, the bus glided off the moment the spectacle ended.
Showing a sense of humor, the Weather Channel posted the video to YouTube — with the profanity bleeped out — and titled it “Bus Photobombs The Weather Channel’s Stream of Georgia Dome Implosion.”
A Weather Channel editor even joked about the moment on Twitter, posting a gif of the bus-blocked implosion with a crying-laughing emoji and the word “noooo.”
And naturally, quicker than a bus can block a camera, the video became a meme.
Sports Illustrated tweeted a film clip titled, “Today’s Georgia Dome implosion isn’t the first time the MARTA bus had terrible timing,” in which video of the bus gliding in front of cameras was spliced with shots of various sports.
In one, for example, the bus pulls up just as a batter swings at a pitch. In another, the bus parks just in time to block a nail-biting shot in basketball.
Other organizations got in on the action. The Atlanta Hawks posted it final score on Twitter — with the bus edited in to obscure it.
It even inspired a bit of lyricism. Slate’s Matthew Dessem penned a six-stanza poem about the moment. Its best verse was arguably the forth, which read:
Blocked off the Dome from view,
Blocked as the charges blew,
Angering the camera crew,
Ruining their TV show,
Plunged in the stadium-smoke,
Right through the frame he broke;
Pulled off a masterstroke,
One four four fiver.
Steered by America’s
Favorite bus driver.
In the end, neither the Weather Channel nor Rudge caught what they wanted to on film. But, as one Twitter user opined, “Years from now, this will still be what today will be remembered for.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that James Crugnale was the cameraman filming the implosion. He is an editor for the network, but Jason Rudge was the cameraman.
Travis M. Andrews is a pop culture writer for The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 2016 as a reporter for Morning Mix. Previously, he was a travel and culture editor for Southern Living magazine and a pop culture and tech contributor for Mashable. Follow