Greg was the natural athlete of the boys in the family. Early episodes see the eldest of the Brady boys find his primary love in baseball, but by Season 3, he was taking up football. So much so that at least two episodes were centered around Greg playing the sport.
He's a gifted player, and he proves his worth when, as just a sophomore, he earns a spot on the varsity team.
But faster than you can say "Click," it all comes crashing down ... when he suffers a hairline rib injury during a scrimmage.
Greg comes home excited that he's made the football team at Westdale High School. Mike, himself a former athlete, is elated; after all he's supported his eldest son (and Peter and Bobby, too) through many times on the gridiron, particularly in elementary and junior high. But Carol is decidedly less enthusiastic. After all, Greg could get hurt on the field. (And we mean really hurt, keeping in mind this is more than 40 years before awareness of CTE came to the nation's awareness; we're talking broken bones and bruises.)
Mike tries to reassure Carol that the coaches, trainers and others have the players' best interests in mind, but Carol is unconvinced; still, she agrees to it, knowing what might happen.
Then Greg comes home favoring his elbow. Carol tries to do an "I told you so," but Greg shakes it off; he just bumped it in math class.
Flash then to the varsity scrimmage where, shortly after being named to the varsity team, he is carted off the field with his rib injury. Mike this time has to conceded that Carol is right; there was a risk of injury even he knew could happen but was lost in his enthusiasm for the game. Guess Greg will have to find a new way to contribute to the team as he heals ... and we don't mean waterboy.
He finds it through photography.
One day taking photos of Linette Carter, a cheerleader and a girl he was trying to impress, Greg happens to (unknowingly) take a picture of a crucial play in the game. It happens to be the last play of the game, too; with seconds left and Westdale down 7-6, the player has to make a long "Red Dog" pass (today, it is a type of Hail Mary pass) to have a chance to win the game. The catch comes as time expires ... and the referee calls it an incomplete pass; the pass was completed but out of bounds. Westdale loses 7-6, and the Bradys come home upset because of what was a bad call.
Realizing there's little to nothing that can be done, Greg decides to develop his film and see what photos of Linette he's taken. Mike happens to notice that one of the pictures had the aforementioned last play of the game. Now this being the era before instant replay and challenges (at the college and professional levels only), and when the rules were different regarding completing passes inbounds or out-of-bounds, Greg and Mike blow the photo up several sizes ... to determine that the player had caught the pass in-bounds and it should have been a game-winning touchdown.
In the end, the bad call still stood. But ... the coach realizes his worth, and — while he heals from his injury — appoints Greg the media manager of the game.
In the subplot, Bobby takes pictures of everything and annoys everyone ... even Alice, who remarks that the "phantom photographer" strikes again. But Bobby winds up saving the day. That photo of Alice ... he took it by the blackboard, just as she had just remembered a long sought-after family recipe that had been in the family for several generations, until Peter erased it to try to explain the play that cost Westdale a victory. Alice sees the photo and is elated ... it has the recipe, it's clear and in focus ... and she's got it for safekeeping forever!
Tropes present in this episode:
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Bobby, who annoys everyone with his photography.
- Fleeting Passionate Hobby: Photography, for both Greg and Peter.
- Girl of the Week: Linette Carter, Greg's sweetie for the episode.
- Out-of-Character Moment / Conflict Ball: Carol's strong objections to Greg playing football. While Carol was shown to worry about her kids' well-being, she'd never had any complaints about any of the boys playing on sports teams prior to the episode. Possibly justified by the fact that high school football can be tougher than other sports, and the fact that Carol once dated a football player and may have had to deal with him constantly getting hurt.