Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Baaaaaaaaaaack

By random chance, I got the opportunity to be a part of a Real NFL Moment this weekend, something that reminds me just how great the NFL really is these days. It was my younger daughter's birthday party this weekend, and my girls' two best friends from New York City came out to "the country" for the party with their families and a bunch of the birthday girl's other friends. We had a nice party at a place my daughter loves around town, and then afterwards her two city friends came to our house to hang out for the afternoon. One of the families left a couple hours later, but our other friends ended up staying well into the afternoon, which gave me the perfect excuse to spend the afternoon watching opening day of the football season with the other dad -- we can call him D -- which for us in the metro area meant watching Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets' impressive debut against the Houston Suxans.

I should back up and say that my friend D, who is originally from Denver, is a big, big football fan. A serious fan. Like, he paid the $60 immediately to DirecTV for their online NFL football season pass this year just to be able to watch his beloved Denver Broncos game the day after they play. Like, he gets five or six update calls on his cell every Sunday during gametime from friends and family who are actually at the game with 50,000 other lifelong season ticket holders. And like, the every-10-second updates scrolling by on the screen of the other televised games weren't nearly enough for him to keep track of his Broncos, so I gave him my laptop and he spent the entire three hours of the Jets' romp reporting on every single play in the Denver / Cincinnati game. Which, if you didn't follow, was about as boring as a game could be, with just two field goals from the Broncs and no score from the Bungles for the first 59 minutes of the game. Needless to say, D was not particularly pleased though he was happy with the defensive effort at least.

Then with 41 seconds left in the game, D reported from his perch at the laptop that the Bungles had just taken their first lead of the day when they ran a ball in on 1st and goal from the 1 yard line. The extra point was in, and just like that a grand defensive effort out of Denver in support of new coach Josh McDaniel was wasted as it was 7-6 Bengals with just more than half a minute to go. Something about the play was reviewed and eventually upheld, but during the time of the review, the Jets game mercifully ended with a 24-7 score that wasn't even that close, and wouldn't you know it, CBS HD in New York switches over to the final 41 seconds of the Denver - Cincinnati game. D was pissed to have missed his team's defensive beatdown all through the game but then to be forced to sit and watch the hapless Kyle Orton try to lead a 41-second scoring drive with no timeouts left. Our wives were in the other corner of the room talking, and between us our four children were on the floor playing with dolls and other toys while D and I finished out watching the carnage with Denver.

And then the unthinkable happened, my Real NFL Moment of the weekend. D and I are lamenting how often this happens with bad teams, leading all the way, making one bad play at the end and you end up losing, and suddenly Orton throws another of his typical bad passes off his back foot, far short of his receiver and it actually looks like it's going to be an interception to end the game with 30 seconds to go. D and I literally groan out loud as the ball leaves Orton's hands, clearly destined not to reach its intended target. The Bungles' cornerback easily cuts in front of the receiver, tips the ball in the air and well away from the intended target of the pass -- D and I are cursing Orton out loud already -- but then out of nowhere there is Brandon Stokley of the Broncos to pick the tipped ball out of the air, with both defenders having left him to go cover the intended receiver of the original pass. D realized what was happening a split second before I did, and he immediately jumped out of his seat on my plush leather couch and started screaming, nearly hitting his head on the spinning ceiling fan in the process. A half a second later, I am up there with him, as it's like it's in slow motion, with Stokley breaking away from the rest of the guys in the home jerseys and running it towards the end zone. And D and I are jumping up and down and yelling increasingly loudly for Stokley to keep it going the whole way, kinda like when it's down the stretch at the racetrack for those of you have frequented that sort of thing in your days. When Stokley finally crosses the goal line and essentially seals the unlikeliest of Denver victories after what seemed to be a sure last-minute loss, D and I are hugging each other, slapping fives like it's going out of style, and screaming so hard that our faces are red and we are seriously out of breath.

Then we suddenly remember ourselves look over to the other side of the room. And there are four female faces, staring at the two of us blankly, with mouths agape, as if we are little boys having just hit the game-winning home run in the sand lot at stickball. "What the heck is wrong with you, Daddy? Did you hurt yourself?" asks my oldest daughter.

The NFL, baby. It's baaaaaaaaack.

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Blogger OES said...


11:08 PM  

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