It’s Sunday. It’s Christmas Eve. The shopping is done (One of the easier shopping years on record. The daughters are teenagers and an iPod will suffice. So much for the years of some assembly required – C. Beh wishes he could say the same. Crazy world we live in; my daughters now have more memory on their iPods (30GB) than we have on the PC. As always I put much effort into the stockings). Veggies and fruit are cut for tonight’s dinner. No pickup hoops tonight. I settle onto the couch and time to watch the G-Men. This could be a great day for pigskin viewing: no work tomorrow and the Giants have all the motivation necessary for a good showing. They control their own destiny – win two games and they are in the playoffs. Tiki is playing his last game in Giants’ Stadium. Strahan is returning from an ankle injury. Last week’s letdown against the Eagles should dictate a spirited performance this week. Things are looking good. Right?
Giants receive the opening kickoff. First play from scrimmage and Tiki runs for eight – nice. Three plays later Eli throws behind Plexico. Burress adjusts, comes back to the ball, and takes it to the end zone. Fifty-five yards and the point after makes it seven to zip G-Men.
After a commercial break we return to the game. Dick Stockton and Troy Aikman begin to discuss, as the Saints prepare to receive the ball, how New Orleans has the number one offense in the NFL. Somehow the Giants stuff the vaunted Saints’ offense, and after three plays Coach Payton sends on the punting team. Wow! This is going well. We’re up seven. We stop them. Punt is up. Nothing spectacular. Looks like we’ll have the ball on our thirty …maybe even better…wait what just happened? Morton fumbled!!! Saints recover. New Orleans’s ball first and ten at the twenty yard line. I didn’t actually think, while the ball was in the air, that Morton should have made a fair catch, but why didn’t he? Replays show him actually seeing the ball the whole way…to his friggin’ shoulder!?!?!? How does that happen? I know the winds were swirling, but then signal for the fair catch please.
Stockton and Aikman take the opportunity to repeat that the Saints have the best offense in the NFL. They add that the Giants have the worst red-zone defense in the league. If this were Muddville, Casey would be striding to the plate. The Giants defy all the odds and hold the Saints on three downs. The Saints settle for a field goal. Giants up seven to three. Okay not bad.
We come back from the commercial break and Stockton and Aikman segue into a discussion of the NFC playoff picture. Aikman: “The NFL is great because here we are in week fifteen and there is so much uncertainty in the playoff picture.” Hmmm…the NFL is great?!?!? The Giants are seven and seven and they control their own destiny. How is that great? Actually Mike P.’s article outlines the mediocrity of the NFL pretty well.
Giants get the ball for the second…or is that the third time. Does Morton’s fumble count as a possession? First play and Tiki gains one yard. Second play Shockey runs what appears to be the most basic route in football: eight yards and turn around. Somehow Eli misses him by five yards. I start thinking what happened to the guy that hit Plexico for fifty-five? Do the Giants show Eli film footage of Joe Pisarcik between possessions? How, on such a short play, could he miss Shockey by that much? Third play is a screen to Tiki – time for a punt.
As Feagles lines up for the punt, Aikman begins discussing how the punter has developed a technique to counter the swirling winds of Giants’ stadium. I am uncomfortable that Aikman knows this much about the Giants. Didn’t he used to play for the Cow Pokes? This is like sleeping with the enemy. As if on cue Feagles shanks it. The ball drops about twenty yards away, but it takes a Giant bounce and rolls to the forty-nine where the Giants down it. But wait…a penalty flag?!?!?! What now? The Giants get flagged for an illegal touch????? It appears that David Tyree ran out of bounds and was the first player to touch the ball for the Giants. The camera pans to Coughlin. And a scene that has become all too familiar this season: the Coughlin face. It’s great. He usually accompanies the face with a cuss or two. By the way Coughlin never uses the same cuss twice in a row. But the face is great. The face that says: we pay you guys how much money, and this is what we get in return?
Saints’ ball at the Giant forty-four. Again, Aikman is kinda defending the Giants. I realize that this is regional coverage, and that Fox knows that this game is being transmitted to more Giant fans than Saints, and he needs to be sympathetic to the home team, but this is making me shiver. Actually, he has been doing this all season long, and I am beginning to think that his mollycoddling has brought on the erosion of the Giants. I am fully aware that if I was in a doctor’s office right now, lying on a couch, and dictating this theory that I would be prescribed a few meds.
This is the problem. I go friggin’ loco when things like this happen. I can’t handle the fact that a few weeks ago Tiki announced his retirement and his wish to go out on top. And broadcasters jumped on the band wagon and started proclaiming that the Giants could finish the season in Miami. At the time I scratched my head and thought: “this team could make the Super Bowl?” Then somehow I started to buy into this farce. Now they are fighting for their playoff lives.
Back to the game – somehow the Giants stop the Saints again. Okay, I am feeling good again.
G-men ball and we are up seven to three. Maybe…just… maybe this can be a good thing? Three and out. Not only three and out but we have burned two timeouts and have seven points to show for it. I am now convinced that the Giants have secretly hired Pisarcik. Any moment now Herm Edwards is going to run out on the field and pick up the fumble. Giants punt the ball and no penalty flags. Whew!!!!
First quarter ends as the Saints convert on fourth down in Giants’ territory. Score: Giants seven and the Saints three. Okay we couldn’t play any worse could we? And we are up. This could work out.
The Giants stop the Saints at the seven. Saints convert the field goal: seven to six. At this point Fox goes throught their montage of game highlights. They show Burress going over the top with his touchdown celebration (At one point he actually pushed away a teammate looking to join in the celebration. All so that he could do his own personal celebration. Hey Plexico – what happened to the idea that the team accomplished the touchdown – not the individual?) Aikman adds: Burress has tied Ernie Gray for the most touchdown receptions in a season by a Giant receiver (10). Of course a little later they show highlights from the Colts’ game and Marvin Harrison scores his tenth touch down of the year. By the way, same as Burress. Difference is that Harrison has scored at least ten td’s for the last eight years. He simply hands the ball to the ref and moves on to the next play.
I have decided that I have had enough of this mediocrity. I get up from the couch to do some yard work. Bad Karma move. When I come back, the Giants are down thirteen to seven. I say bad Karma because I have learned a valuable lesson: a fan can affect the outcome of a game. If you change the conditions during a game you will doom your team. I learned this with the Sox last season. Too many times I came in during a Sox game, checked the score, and would find them winning. Cool, I’m gonna watch for a while or follow on game cast. Too many times this changed the Sox fortunes and they lost. Same thing happened this afternoon. I started out watching the game. The Giants weren’t playing well, but they were winning. I get up – I changed the conditions – I come back, and the Giants are losing. Yes, I am seeing a whole team of doctors.
Onto the Visa halftime show…sponsored by…Visa. Is that necessary? Do you think we could figure out that the Visa halftime show is sponsored by Visa? Fox is running numerous ads for Dirt, an upcoming show starring Courtney Cox. Courtney Cox cast in a serious role? This show might set the record for having the largest advertising budget but never seeing the light of day.
Second half begins. Stockton lets us know that the Giants had 106 yards of total offense in the first half…fifty-five on one play. The Saints ran thirty-one plays in Giant territory, and the Giants ran zero in Saint territory. Sounds devastating but the Giants are only down six. Saints get the kickoff. Giants hold them as Umenyiora sacks Brees on third down. Osi gets up and does that friggin’ jump shot celebration. I will be glad when they retire that one. OSI WE ARE LOSING! YOUR TEAM IS .500, AND WE ARE BARELY ALIVE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!! YOU MADE ONE GOOD PLAY!!! MOVE ON!!!! Can we bring back Mark Gastineau and put him in the stockades. He started all this sack dance crap.
Giants have the ball for the first time in the second half. One possession = one time out. This is the fifteenth game of the year!!!!!! Can we get our offense in synch?!?!?!? Three and out. Giants punt. Saints use five plays to score. Saints 20 Giants 7.
When we come back from the commercial break, Aikman is discussing how the Giants’ offense needs a sustained drive to give the defense a rest. I haven’t heard an announcer talk about the Giants like this since…since…Summerall and Brookshire. We are back in the 70’s!!! Is that Brad Van Pelt in the huddle? That is Pisarcik on the sideline. I’m done. The better half wakes me up in the fourth, and the Saints are up thirty to seven. I haven’t missed anything.
Does anyone know the final score of the game? I could not bear to watch it. For that matter I could not look up the score on the net. Actually, save it. I don’t want to know.