Week 17 – 2006/2007

Michael Irvin’s made an interesting choice with his wardrobe today. He took a normal suit, smeared it with melted chocolate, and then rolled through a forest on his way to the studio this morning. Just a bizarre look. I mean, you can get creative with the color and the cut of your suits… but that’s as much liberty as I’ve ever seen anyone take with the actual texture.

By the way, I’m all by my lonesome today, which makes this much harder to do. It’s easier to watch multiple football games with three or four other people here, pointing out things that the others may have missed. I also don’t have anyone’s observations to steal. But, you know… I figured what the hell, it’s the last week of the regular season, it’ll probably be the last chance I have to do this… why not engage in seven or eight more hours of self-loathing and then share it with the world?

Not only am I alone at the table, I’m very nearly alone in the whole bar. There are two Browns fans and a Lions fan in this particular room with me at the moment. These three men are to be respected. For me, it’s no big deal, my team’s playing for home field advantage today.  I have a reason to be here. The reason their teams are playing is because the NFL would fine them if they didn’t. And yet, they show up… Respect.

The Steelers receive the opening kickoff, and Bill Cowher decides that now’s a good time to draw up some bullshit that you try in a backyard football game that never really worked then, either. Six or seven Steelers gather in a little mini-huddle, and then all break off in different directions, as to confuse the Bengals. And the Bengals were confused for a second, thinking “Hey, I didn’t realize we were back in Pop Warner,” right before tackling the guy at the 8 yard line. That was Bill Cowher’s, “Eh, fuck off, I’m retiring” play call.

By the way, the waitresses today? The C-team. However, I’m willing to bet that by 4:00, they’ll both be solid 8s. Give me that much time alone, and I can convince myself of anything.

Good news for the Lions: Jon Kitna throws complete to Roy Williams for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. Bad news for the Lions:  That particular Roy Williams plays for the Cowboys.

They just called it back, though.  No touchdown. That may be the highlight of the day, nay the year, for the Lions.

Hey, Charlie Frye is starting for Cleveland. I thought this week was Ken Dorsey’s turn to set professional football back 20 years. The guy here in the Charlie Frye jersey seems particularly excited. It’s the small things, really.

Here’s something that has virtually no upside: Cedric the Entertainer starring in “Codename: The Cleaner.” Man, Ced was hot for a while… that sure didn’t last long. Someone’s agent made a few poor decisions along the way.

And Charlie Frye gets picked off by the Texans in the endzone. Thanks for coming back, Charlie. Can someone tell me how Charlie’s presence here today benefits the Browns? The Browns, you have to assume, can be reasonably certain that Charlie Frye sucks. Ken Dorsey hasn’t played in a while, and it still young enough that the light might come on for him. It’s worth investigating, is it not?

A new Nike commercial features Maria Sharapova saying that she’ll run more miles than LeBron in a month, or she’ll sit behind the Cavs bench and be his water boy. If I was LeBron, I’d break her fucking legs tomorrow.

So the Jets are in the playoffs if they can beat the Raiders today. In other words, the Jets are in the playoffs. Can you imagine what it would feel like for the Jets to lose that game? I’d rather lose to Farrah Fawcett on Celebrity Jeopardy.

By the way, since the overturned Dallas INT to the house on the first play of this game, Detroit’s been dominating. It’s 13-0, and it should be more… Detroit’s settled for field goals twice deep in Dallas territory, and the good Roy Williams just caught a TD pass.

Sign in the Dallas/Detroit game: “WILL YOU MARRY ME, T.O.?” Bitch, why do you hate yourself? My God, if that’s not a cry for help, there’s never been one. The back of that sign says, “Daddy didn’t love me… but it was probably a good call on his part.”

The Steelers are just crushing the Bengals on the ground here. Every time I look at that game, it’s Willie Parker for 10, Willie Parker for 8… shifty running through huge holes. The Steelers are going to have some decisions to make with their offensive line… They can run block with the best of them, but they couldn’t keep the Rockettes out of the backfield on passing plays.  Gonna be hard to find guys who are upgrades, but… clearly, something has to be done.

David Spade has a new show on CBS, and to the surprise of no one, the commercial for it looks terribly unfunny. I feel bad for Spade… I mean, he’s probably a pretty funny guy, but he can’t find anything that works for him. I think his best career move at this point would be to drive around selling bootleg copies of Tommy Boy out of the back of a van, and charging people $10 to hear him say, “That’s it, big boy, I’m gonna whale on you.”

Patrick Crayton brings in a Tony Romo touchdown pass for the Cowboys, which puts them back on top, 14-13. Atta way to fight for that #1 draft pick, Detroit. Calvin Johnson isn’t going to just fall into your lap, you have to be aggressive and go out and get him.

The yellow first down line in the Pittsburgh/Cleveland game is completely cockeyed. It’s running across the field at about a 20-degree angle with the yard lines. One or more members of the sideline chain gang is shitfaced… they were passing a bottle around their little locker room, “You know what, it’s New Years, and we’re in goddamn Cincinnati. Fuck it.”

In a highlight from a game I’m not seeing, Trent Green throws probably the best pass he’s thrown in a calendar year to Eddie Kennison on a flea-flicker. 21-10, Chiefs. I’d compliment their performance, but since they’re playing the Jaguars, you can tell absolutely nothing about the Chiefs from this game.

Oh, and here come the Lions, trying to fuck up their #1 pick again. It’s Roy Williams for the touchdown, and hey, maybe the Lions want to pick second in the draft. You’ve got a bigger margin for error there. You fuck up the #1 pick, people remember it forever. The #2, though… you can be forgiven. Solid strategy.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison grabs a Bengals receiver (I think it was Chad Johnson, but I can’t remember for certain), and spikes him down to the ground with a textbook belly-to-back suplex that would make Kamala proud. He had his arms around 85′s waist from behind, and he… well, he suplexed him. He got called for a 15-yarder on the play, which was absolute bullshit. That was honestly the best possible way for Harrison to stop Johnson’s momentum and put him on the ground. To me, that’s as egregious as any of the bullshit roughing the passer calls that have happened this year.

Ian Eagle says that Bill Cowher has one of the NFL’s “great faces.” That’s… well… I’ll just say that there are probably a lot of people out there who disagree.

The Steelers are pinned deep in their own territory, and Ben Roethlisberger drops back in his own endzone. Dexter Jackson blitzes, comes around the corner almost completely untouched… and completely whiffs. He went for the ball instead of Ben, and he had him just dead to rights. He whiffed completely, leaving 2 points and possession on the table. Extremely costly. That play could make the difference in the game.

And the reason it could make the difference is because the Steelers continue to jam the football straight up the Bengals’ asshole right now, just gashing them on the ground, again and again.

A Hines Ward gadget play gets the Steelers down to the Bengals 5-yard-line… until Steelers tackle Willie Colon gets a 15-yard taunting penalty. Oh, Cowher wants to cleanse him right now. He is pissed. If he doesn’t care about this job anymore, he’s certainly doing a good job of hiding it right now.

Mikey Furrey catches Jon Kitna’s third touchdown pass of the day, and puts the Lions up by more than a score. They lead 30-21. This is almost cruel to the Detroit Lion fans of the world. They’ll all watch today’s game and thinking, “Hey assholes, where was this all year?” And it’ll give them just enough hope to think they can win 8 or 9 games next year… and they can’t.

Willie Parker’s going to score here for the Steelers–check that. No he isn’t. Willie Parker is about to fumble the football on the 1-yard line on his way into the endzone, and the Bengals have it. Ouch. That was a dominating, ass-reaming drive by the Steelers, and it ends like that. On the recovery for the Bengals, and this is just poetic… Dexter Jackson.

And the Bengals take full advantage. Carson Palmer goes deep to Chris Henry, a guy for whom the Steelers have just had no answer today, and Henry’s just going to torch everybody. Heard at the next table over: “Het gets DUIs and still catches touchdowns, that’s gangsta.” Indeed it is, my friend. Indeed it is.

Oh, and I was right about the waitresses, by the way… it’s not 4:00 yet, and I’m convinced.  One of them has an ass that I criminally underrated from the start, and the other… she’s got this “I don’t care what I look like” look, and sweetheart, I promise you, it’s working for me.  Don’t shower ever again, for all I care… I’d just dirty you up again anyway.

This is the second time I’ve noticed this today, and I doubt that anyone cares but me… but there’s an official in the Cleveland/Houston game that signals field goals and touchdowns with his palms facing forward. It’s like he’s halting traffic. I dunno. Considering he’s doing the Browns/Texans game, that might be appropriate.

The Steelers answer right back, and it appears that most of the scoring in this game is going to happen in the fourth quarter. That was Willie Parker’s 16th touchdown of the year, which breaks a Steelers franchise record. That seems kind of strange… as long as the Steelers have been around, and their TD record was only 15? By Louis fucking Lipps? Statistical oddity… and that’s probably about the last thing left that Louis Lipps had in the playbook that could get him laid by a Pittsburgh skank.  It’s a sad day.

Here’s something that’s a little uncomfortable to see: A Lions lineman being taken off in a neck brace on a stretcher, giving everyone the “thumbs up” sign. Unpleasant vibes.

James Farrior sacks Carson Palmer and gets called for roughing the passer. The hit was on-time, but Farrior finished it off by driving Palmer into the truth. I think that one’s fair… the quarterback’s completely defenseless at that point, and driving him into the turf like that… it’s not necessary. The highlight of the play, though, was the ref trying to make the call with Joey Porter babbling into his ear… you could hear Porter in the ref’s mic, but couldn’t make out what he was saying. It sounded like something from the second quarto of Hamlet, but I’m not sure.

This marks about the 19th time that Fox has shown that big sign in Dallas that reads, “ROMOmentum.” It may just be me, but I don’t think it’s that fucking clever. Showing it once would’ve been fine… twice, if he’s having a good game. But it’s like they need to keep tabs on the thing after every play.  It’s not going to get any funnier, guys.

Terrell Owens scores from 50+ yards out to give the Cowboys a 1-point lead again. He does some effeminate little dance in the endzone, and then takes it over to the sidelines. He stands directly in front of Marion Barber and Lousaka Polite and does his little “T.O.” gimmick. Barber and Polite don’t even make eye contact.

Ben Roethlisberger’s doing his thing here… as bad as this year has been for him, he can still be, at times, scary good. He hits Santonio Holmes for 35 yards. The drive stalls, and on comes Jeff “Dick in a Box” Reed… and it’s good. 17 all. This has really turned into a hell of a game.

MJD 2.0 scores for the Jags to bring them back within five points of the Chiefs. He then shakes the hand of the back judge, which I’ve never before seen. That’s cool, but I’m also not sure it’s entirely appropriate from the standpoint of the official’s impartiality.

And Jon Kitna’s 4th TD pass of the day goes to Mike Williams. You read that correctly… Mike Williams caught a touchdown pass. He started to do some bullshit “look at me” celebration, and Mike Furrey just jumped on him. It might have been that Mike Furrey was legitimately that excited and wanted to go celebrate. But it might also have been that Mike Furrey thought to himself, “He’s not going to dance, is he? I’m gonna go do this guy a fucking favor and dive on him before he embarrasses himself.”

Carson Palmer has 56 seconds to try and win this game for the Bengals.

There’s a shot of Bengals kicker Shayne Graham on the sidelines applying lip balm. You don’t see that every day.

Palmer goes deep again to Chris Henry, and again, it is complete. The Bengals are down to the Steelers 20 with 22 seconds to play. I don’t really have a rooting interest in this game, but… I’d hate to see Chris Henry be the hero of anything.

And here comes Moist-Lips Graham on for the field goal. It is up, and it is shanked. No good. Graham, meanwhile, is all smiles about it. I guess it’s hard to be angry about anything when your lips are soft and supple.

So we’re going to overtime here, and the Steelers will receive. Roethlisberger, Santonio, Speed, House, Game. That didn’t take long. Bill Cowher during the postgame handshakes — and it’s entirely possible that I’m seeing things that aren’t there — looks like a guy saying some goodbyes.

So with the Cowboys loss, Andy Reid is walking around telling guys like Jeff Garcia and Brian Westbrook that they won’t be playing today. The Eagles have the division clinched and having nothing to gain by winning this one against Atlanta. This could be one exceedingly ugly game.

Calling the Chargers/Cardinals game for FOX today: Dale Hellestrae, Matt Devlin, and on the sidelines, Chris Rix. Yikes. When Chris Rix is the star of your crew, you’re in trouble.

Shaun Phillips gets a good rush off the edge and bats down a Kurt Warner screen pass… and now he’s in Kurt Warner’s face, talking trash. I hate to see that. There’s just no reason to trash-talk Kurt Warner at this point in his career… if Kurt and Brenda show up at Phillips’ house this week and start reading him Bible passages, Phillips absolutely deserves it.

And now Philip Rivers is limping off. Christ.

I have the audio from the Eagles/Falcons game for some reason (and sometimes I think this world is nothing but a big collection of Dale Hallestrae haters), and Dick Stockton is talking about a leg whip penalty that was just called. He throws it to Joe Buck in the studio, who says, “You know something about a leg whip, or maybe it’s an orange whip.” I don’t have any fucking idea what that means. Neither does Dick Stockton.

I don’t know what this says about me, but when I see #81 for Miami, I still think “O.J. McDuffie.” Anyone else?

Dick Stockton talking about the Atlanta Falcons: “Under any circumstances, a win today gives them a .500 record.” Really? You mean there aren’t any circumstances under which an 8-8 record isn’t a winning percentage of .500? The NFL doesn’t have an alternate set of mathematics? Weird.

Some dialog from the table next to me:
“Take your midnight-black ass outta here.”
“Just because you was molested by T.O. when you was a kid, don’t mean nothin’.”
“Why are you sitting there, looking gay?”
“Fuckin’ bitches.”

For some reason, there’s a disproportionate amount of Eagles fans here today, cheering loudly for their team. There are two theories on that one… 1) Eagles fans are truly diehard and support their team no matter what. Or 2), and this is the one I favor, most Eagles fans don’t have any fucking idea that this game means nothing in the standings or for playoff positioning.

The 49ers take an interception back to the house, and trail the Broncos by just three points here. The Broncos are in a win-and-in situation, and… it’s just the 49ers. It wouldn’t be quite as bad as losing to the Raiders in the same situation, but there would still be much shame to go around.

Matt Schaub is in the game for Atlanta now. His first pass bounces off the hands of Eagles safety Shawn Considine. It’s been so long since Shaub played that he forgot about those things called “safeties.”

And on the next play, Schaub fucks up the hold on the field goal attempt. This is going swimmingly.

Alright, this is getting ridiculous… the 49ers take another Broncos interception back to the house and they have the lead now.

Matt Schaub has rebounded and made a couple of really nice throws. He hits Alge Crumpler in the endzone on a perfectly timed and thrown ball. Enjoy the Matt Schaub era, Falcons fans… it’s going to last about 90 minutes.

The Chargers have a 2nd and 3, with 1:52 left to play in the game… a first down ends it. The give is to Lorenzo Neal, and he’s got a big hole. He’s through the line, there’s nothing but green in front of him, until he’s caught from behind by a Cardinals safety Robert Griffith. Here’s how that sounded in Lo Neal’s head:
Good Lo
: First down! The game’s over! We have homefield advantage!
Bad Lo
(Griffith catches him, Lorenzo Neal hits him with a straight left to the face, Griffith is now in front of Neal, face to face)
Robert Griffith: Ouch… Hey, alright, I’m gonna force you out of bounds here, alright?
Bad Lo
Good Lo
: There’s really no need for any of this.
: Jesus. Just… come on, man, go out… you have the game won.
Good Lo
: You should probably just leave him alone, Robert.
Bad Lo
(Griffith grabs Lorenzo’s facemask)
Good Lo
: That wasn’t a good idea.
Bad Lo
: I just want you to go out of bounds.
Good Lo
: (sigh)

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