A few friends requested that I provide expert commentary and insight into this evening's football (Américain) game. Certainly they are not making fun of how little I understand about the game. I admit that I learned of this particular match when I was wrapping up some work at Starbucks yesterday; in a Boston accent I overheard:
Stranger 1 (turns around to speak over shoulder to Stranger 2): "So, ah, what channel ah you watching on Satuhday?"
Stranger 2: "Hah! Yeah, good question."
Stranger 1: "(exclusivity, something) (mahket something)"
So, the Fergusbergs told me there is an exceptionally important game this evening, in which the Patriots might win an awful lot of games in a row. This is big. Six-blade Schick big.
For your benefit, here is an exclusive, real-time, game-night analysis through the unbiased eyes of a sports-ignoramus.
All times in Eastern.
[9.27p] After a half hour of reading, I set down Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook and wolf down the remains of a steak dinner which got me in an appropriately high-testosterone mood for the Big Event. I turn on the TV, and see that indeed, the shindig is playing on 57 of our 59 channels.
[9.28p] Manning something. A guy wearing blue is on the ground, praying and complaining! According to the top of the screen, "NU" (must be New York, never good spellers) has 14 points and the red/blue flag-head has 16. The Pats are winning. This is good.
[9.32] "We've got a little skirmish in the Giants' backfield!" Mr. Wilfork poked someone in the eye. Is this normal? This is kind of cool, actually. Nyuk-nyuk. "While the skirmish is going on, the clock is ticking.. Jacobs something." Is skirmish like the standard word for this type of brouhaha?
What kind of name is Wilfork?
Wait, I've been called worse.
The refs punish the eye-poker, and then I think they change their mind. I don't think I've seen that before. Something about a timeout.
The commentators are really picking on this Manning guy. Wait, he's wearing blue, I shouldn't feel sorry for him.
[9.37p] A bad throw into the touchdown lane.
Endzone. Sorry, endzone.
[9.39p] Hey, that guy looks like a miniature Bryant Gumbel. Wait, it IS Bryant Gumbel.
Again with this "Manning."
Damn! Touchdown for Giants. It's 16-20. Boss something.
This is fun. Especially that I can fast-forward my TiVo.
[9.58p] We are at three-hyphens-out-of-four, and the score is 16-21 NY. I suspect Boston is cringing. But fear not! I believe we can pull ahead.
It appears that a number of individuals have been tackled. Commercial break.
(This is a perfect time for me to explain why, in real life, I refer to football players as mechanical engineers. I have nothing against MechE's. Rather, in grad school, all the guys in my mech-e class were football players. So I figured it was a thing everywhere. I mean, you're in a coffee shop and you see a tall wiry guy wearing a black turtleneck and you think "comp lit major," right? Same goes for football players.)
Hummer commercial? They're raping the environment!
Oh, wait, the game is back.
The commentators sound surprised that the New York team is trying so hard for a "game that doesn't matter." But they're winning. Why are they being so rude?
I note insightful banter regarding Brady as "golden boy," and, "hah hah, the prince got his crown tonight."
Okay, I'll shut up and watch for a bit.
(watches with confusion but a genuine intent to understand this game)
[10.02p] I am distracted by someone being called Eli. And he wears blue.
Junk, the NY guys are now at the 20.
"at the 20." Do I know the lingo or what?
[10.04p] It is probably safe for us to conclude that people named Manning and Seubert have some gravity in this matter.
Interlude: I've long wondered why companies like Motorola place such huge logos on the headphone/microphone things the coaches wear. Do they have to pay for the product placement? I mean, what's the total addressable market for that stuff? And...
Damn!!! Touchdown, Giants.
[10.06p] 16-28 NY.
A MOST UNDESIRABLE TURN OF EVENTS.
(A perfectly-timed commercial break, a modern-day Send in the Clowns.) I've seen commercials for Taco Bell gorditas for five years and never been tempted to try one. Maybe it's the giant long windsock-shaped clear plastic meat bag they keep the ground beef in behind the counter. For real. I've seen it. A while ago there was a horrific accident in front of the one in Cambridge, and then the Taco Bell closed, and that must have impacted the local economy really badly, because nearby Walden Street and its feeble bridge have been shut for, what, three years? I mean, it's a BRIDGE people! We've sequenced freaking GENOMES in less time!
(auto-psychoanalytical flashback) When I was little, I used to watch boxing on TV with my family at midnight because it was an excuse to stay up late and maybe have popcorn, but I didn't understand what was happening, and I often came down with an ear infection the next day. Maybe that's why I am disinterested in sports today. (/flashback)
Mr. Brady advances the ball to the 20!
I haven't had the opportunity to stand up in the living room and yell "SAAAAACKED" yet. My college friends might wonder why that's the only football term I know; it's because of the following overdubbed spoof on the PSAs that appeared at the end of the 1980s animated series "G.I. Joe":
[10.17p] Touchdown, Patriots! (22-28) A commentator said, "Ross was there but Maroney broke the tackle. And just like that, the Patriots have broken the drive of Eli Manning and the Giants. And closed within one spore."
[10.20p] During this commercial break, the nation likely reflects on what football players do during the commercial breaks. I also wonder what David Letterman and Jon Stewart are saying when they learn over and whisper in their guests' ears at the end of each interview segment.
Hey, that's a neat car commercial. Oh, wait, it's for ANOTHER HUMMER.
A clever E*Trade commercial about stock trading. (Woah. Their stock plummeted from 25 to 3.5 in 2007. They shouldn't be making commercials, they should be selling off their Aeron chairs.)
Goodness, a third Hummer commercial in the last hour.
[10.24p] Why did the commentator just say "tumor"?
[10.31p] Let's see how my expert analysis stacks up against the current instant-blog posts over at SI.com (start at the bottom):
10:31 Let's see if the giants can do what no one else has done, hold on to the lead Rays201
10:31 nflatx: WTF are you talking about.. the played the '07 Dolphins TWICE!!! Those don't even count as games and they didn't score for the last half hour of the last one!! Osiris30
10:30 Osris30, cannot agree, one drive or Non-drive will not yet decide this match.... more to follow thankfully +40yrCowboyFan
10:30 i love my giants but i hate elisha! especially when the chargers used the picks we gave them for merriman, kaeding and rivers! we had them over a barrell and then gave up a draft and a half for elisha! WHAT?!?!?!?! damienw
10:30 in fifteen minutes history will be made. ironheart
10:30 either way, even at this point Pats are WAY better than 72 Dolphins. They played much tougher teams and pulled out. nflatx
10:30 comeon Belichick, work your magic! tarheelblue50
I feel outclassed. All I know is that "damienw" spelled "barrel" incorrectly. Maybe I shouldn't jump to conclusions, though. It could be part of the football vernacular; I remember wondering why Department of Defense grant solicitations always spelled "material" wrong as "materiel." Then I realized they're different [Wikipedia].
[10.34p] Something about "...leaves the Patriots with third and ten. If the Giants can get a stop here it'll be huge." We're at 28-23.
[10.35p] It's about time for more commercials. I think the signal to noise ratio of this game is about 1:1. Why are those Coors Light drinkers all holding their cans at the very bottom? (Is there a bottom equivalent for "tippy-top"? "Tippy-bottom"?)
[10.38p] Another commercial break. I am in shock after seeing the Wendy's "baconator."
Can someone call the Guiness World Records people? I think I exceeded our lifetime allotment of quotation marks.
[10.47p] A guy named Moss from the Patriots allows an albeit difficult-looking pass to slip through his grasp. Insert witticism about "a moss gathers no stones" here. Wait, his name is Randy Moss? Never mind, that's a joke in itself. A ribald forestry joke, yes, but still a joke.
[10.48p] Brady tries the same pass again and Moss catches it and PATS GET A TOUCHDOWN!
[10.54] During this commercial break I'll try to figure out what is meant by, "the Patriots, with 15 unanswered, are leading by three." Did I hear that right?
We interrupt this exclusive coverage to review the stats:
RUSHING: Maroney ATT:16. Faulk: TD:0.
DEFENSE: Hobbs TK:3, AS:0. Wilfork SK-YD:0.
PUNT RETURNS: McQuarters TK:1.
(That reminds me of the character whose fake ID says "McLovin" in the hilarious movie Superbad. Seriously; I laughed so hard that I was in pain for several hours. Here's the NSFW YouTube clip.)
[11:01p] It's 31-28. Or is it -26? I can't tell. The font they chose doesn't render well in NTSC. Bandwidth, people, bandwidth! Did you learn nothing in your Fourier Analysis class!?
(This reminds me of how thoughtlessly the U.S. - or at least Mass. state - license plate typeface is designed. How can you discern the zero from the "oh" from afar? Why didn't they put a slash through the zero?)
[11.03p] My whining was sidetracked when I noticed the current score of 38-28.
I could just shut this off. If I was in New Jersey, I could go where the Jets fans (and hence maybe the Giants fans) congregate for hot dogs cooked in hot oil: Rutt's Hut. If I was outside I could get fresh air. But no! dear reader, I have pumped myself up on medium-rare beef; I have read profanity-laced French recipes from Bourdain; I will not leave you yet.
[11.08] Prediction: there will be unhappy Giants fans tonight.
(I space out for ten minutes.)
[11.18p] Touchdown: Patriots! And then a commentator launches this obfuscated insight: "We have just four ticks of the clock beyond a minute for this one."
[11.20p] Frayble something. "This should do it."
I should really read this. I think we have it somewhere.
Wait, why are these grown men hugging their enemies with just over a minute left? (I mean, 61 ticks of the clock.)
It's weird watching the clock run down like this. I mean, bang or whimper?
[11.22p] 38-35! Go Pats!
There you have it, folks. A most historic game. Drive carefully, and have a good night, like it's first down and the goalie is in center field.
Please direct questions, comments, remarks, etc. in the comment area below. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect much of anything, really. Let's break for a commercial. This post will probably be deleted in a few days out of self-interest.
g-fav, "le footballeur extraordinaire"