GAME TIME: 4:15pm
GAME TEMP: 84˚
Ah, the first game of the season. All NFL teams start off 0-0; all teams have some hope, however faint, of making some noise, making the playoffs. One of those teams, the New Jersey Giants, made a trip down the Jersey Turnpike to meet our team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tailgating is a major part of any football experience, and a mishandled tailgate is not a good way to start your NFL day. So, starting on Wednesday, a list was compiled for what was needed for the tailgate, and we compiled a list of people to expect at the tailgate. Tom of the Last Row sent out a note breaking out who should bring food, beer and beer. It’s a rough job, but somebody needed to do it.
The tailgate went pretty well…this guy we tailgate with named Craney brought some really good wings that we heated up on our grill. Craney also spent the first half hour of the tailgate informing the tailgaters (about 8 of us) about what he COULD have put in the wing sauce. If he put half the things he talked about into the sauce – someone would have died. We also had hamburgers, sausages and Dolfi brought pork with Bam! Seasoning. (You’ll note that vegetarians need not attend any tailgates. In fact we suggest they continue watching Rhythmic Gymnastic events and debate the finer points of the Ribbon or Ball apparatuses at home.)
We also had plates at the tailgate, something new for us (usually degenerating to our caveman roots when surrounded by grilling meats), which helped quite a bit with the wings. Miller Lite, Yuengling Lager (the good stuff), and the Duke of Beers – Natty Light were also in attendance at the tailgate. We also hooked up a TV showing the PIT/OAK game to the back of the tailgate machine (Silver PT Cruiser, GREAT for tailgating).
No tailgate is complete without music, and the Last Row provides music for our tailgate – here are the first five songs we played:
· Ain’t Talkin Bout Love – Van Halen
· Another Girl, Another Planet – The Mighty Lemon Drops
· The Last in Line – Dio (YES!!!)
· Rainbow Connection – Me First and the Gimmee Gimmees
· Slither – Metallica
We got into the stadium about 4:00. Now, our walk to our seats is a quite a long one. We parked near the old Vet (RIP) site, and parking for Eagles games is a mess right now. The Phillies had promised to have the old Vet (RIP) site completely cleared, put parking spaces where the grand old lady (The Vet (RIP), not Kate Smith) once stood. But the Phils told another whopper of a lie and there is still a bunch of rubble lying around, most of that site is not available for parking. We did park near the old Vet (RIP), though. Where we parked is a couple of blocks from the Linc, and we sit on the exact opposite end of the Linc…all the way up top. The walk took us 20 minutes… That’s a long walk for two gentlemen of leisure, such as your two faithful correspondents, but we’ve seen worse – especially for season home- openers.
The National anthem with the giant flag being held by service people of all branches of the U.S. armed forces was pretty cool – and nicely punctuated by the fly-over of 4 fighter jets. (Damn – those guys get close. The Last Row was almost sucked into a passing engine overhead, but thankfully the food and beer from tailgating managed to weigh us down just enough.)
This was one of those games that was never really in doubt from the opening kickoff. The Eagles had the better team on paper, and they played like it on the field. Being the home-opener though, was enough to keep most of the crowd into the game and making enough noise to keep the Giants’ Kurt Warner hoarse from having to shout signals.
The Eagles looked sharp on offense – REALLY sharp. McNabb to Owens looks like it will be the lethal combination for which Philly fans have hungered for the past 8 seasons or so. Westbrook looked very solid as a starting RB, and if he can stay healthy (a problem in recent years), this offense will be among the NFL’s most dangerous.
As good as the Eagles looked on offense, they raised as many questions on defense. We knew it would be rough letting to pro-bowl CBs go and replacing them with two relatively unproven commodities. But honestly, that doesn’t appear to be a huge problem for the Eagles. Their defensive problems are EXACTLY the same as last year. They appear totally unable to stop even the hint of a rushing attack. When your defensive secondary has 3 or 4 of the top tacklers for the day, it means the guys up front and the linebackers are simply not stopping the run. Hopefully things improve, but from what the Last Row saw this past weekend, defense like that is gonna cost them a game or two down the road.
One interesting note was the lack of Giants fans that attended the game. Usually whenever the Eagles play the Giants, we have a fairly sizable contingent from the wilds of New York. But this year they were few and far between. We here in the Last Row can only speculate as to why, but we are leaning to either; A. Even Giants fans realize they are likely to finish 4th in the division this year, or B. It was ‘Free Back-Waxing Day’ in the Big Apple.
Cheers!!! If the Giants are in town playing your team, use this chant for showing your feelings about Jeremy Shockey…’Boo Cocky Shockey!!!’ It’s fun (fans of Howard Stern will especially enjoy this cheer (you know what we mean))! We made this cheer up a couple of years ago as we were leaving a game versus the Giants. Shockey didn’t play in Philadelphia last year, so this was the first time we really got to use it. It went over quite well with the fans who sit near us.
Another cheer that is fun, so much fun we named an award after it is ‘Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love, B****!!!’ This is an oldie but goodie. This is handy whenever we have someone sitting in our section rooting for the other team. It didn’t happen this week, but after they get mistreated by our section (insults, thrown objects, etc.), a hearty cheer of this gem always makes us feel better.
Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love, B****!!! Award – This is an award that will be given to a deserving individual who gets mistreated either on or off the field. This week’s award goes to Eli ‘Baby’ Manning who got slammed sideways by Jerome ‘The Irish Famine’ McDougle …Sweet!! . This is not the last time that petulant punk gets knocked around by the Eagles, but you always remember your first time. Well, he may not remember it, but he can watch the tape of the hit over and over.
Final Thoughts from The Last Row
· Tom of The Last Row’s writing staff wears a Sean Landeta jersey to the games. That’s right, a punter’s jersey (which he special ordered). Now, some goon gave Tom a hard time about wearing a punter’s jersey. “Some stupid kicker!! That’s stupid!”, the genius mocked. Thanks, Einstein.
Now this jersey is worn out of a respect for a player that has been excellent at his position for a number of years. As a matter of fact, when Landeta was still with the Eagles, we had a large group that cheered for Landeta (‘Gimme an L – gimmee an A – gimmee an N – gimmee a DETA!! LANDETA!!’) whenever he punted, and we were given a hard time by a contingent of idiots. These people couldn’t seem to understand that we weren’t cheering for the fact that the Eagles were giving up the ball, but for a player we liked. And yeah, it’s silly to cheer for a punter, but so what? It’s stuff like that that makes going to the games fun.
Of course, when Landeta got hurt his last year in Philly, those same idiots were complaining about how bad the punters who took his place were. Face it, special teams are part of the game, and when you have a bad kicker or punter, you realize how important that part of the game is. Making the opposing team travel 15 or 20 more yards for a score per drive can be the difference between winning and losing.
So, don’t give anyone wearing a kicker’s (or even a punter’s) jersey a hard time; and if you see a guy in section 209 of the Linc wearing a Landeta jersey, give him a few bucks. Please.
· Wearing tight clothing shouldn’t be a ‘right’, it should be a privilege. You don’t see us stuffing our fat cans into Speedos, so if you look like an escapee from a Richard Simmons workout video shoot please don’t wear any clothing that displays any areas of your flesh OR items that contain any of the following materials: lycra, spandex, neoprene, or leather. Thanks for keeping America beautiful.
· Shut up, Deion. Shut up. Shut your big mouth. There was an article published on ESPN.com about how if you don’t like Deion, you don’t like football. That dude needs to shut up, too.
Yeah, we hate Deion too. Not just because we are Eagles fans, but because we hate bad guys, and Deion seems to be a bad guy. He’s selfish and loud about it to boot. Terrell Owens is selfish too, but he plays for the Eagles, so he gets a pass from the Last Row (OK, that’s not why). Deion Sanders is a guy who seems to be only about himself, and is a hypocrite. But we here in the Last Row have another reason to hate Good ‘ol Neon Deion.
Do you remember when Michael Irvin got that neck injury at the Vet? Sure you do. It ended his career. Do you also remember the bad press Eagles fans got when Michael laid on the hard Vet field and we (the Eagles fans) booed? You remember that too (you can hardly forget with members of the media constantly bringing it up when they go on one of their “Eagles fans are the worst” diatribes)…
Well, what you heard happened and what actually happened are two very different things.
Here’s what happened, from two people who were there, not watching the action on TV. Irvin caught a pass and got driven into the ground by Tim Hauck of the Eagles. Hauck’s helmet caught Irvin at a bad angle, and Irvin did not get up. From our vantage point, it looked like a normal play, when Irvin didn’t get up, quite a few people, including us, cheered because we knew Irvin, got hit hard – hard enough to knock the wind out of him anyway.
Irvin stayed down for a minute afterwards, a lot of the cheering stopped. Some fans still cheered, but the stadium got quieter. Some time passed, and it looked like Irvin was going out on a stretcher, the stadium got silent – some people even whispered a prayer or two, and then… A clown appeared off of the Cowboys sidelines. A clown who had recently been born again and was throwing his holiness in everyone’s face. A clown who recently altered his self-glorifying touchdown dance to include an uplifted head, and stretched out arms, in almost a mockery of the truly pious people who worship their God in the privacy of their church, temple or mosque. A clown named Deion Sanders.
The clown began dancing 10 or 15 yards away from a prone Michael Irvin, stretched arms, uplifted face…the whole Deion bit. We’re not sure what Deion was hoping to accomplish; someone should ask him that. Then we started booing Deion (while (unfortunately) Irvin was still on the field). We booed and booed and booed while he did his act of public self-gratification shrouded as holy praise.
We don’t know what the broadcasters said while we were booing, but we heard that there were no shots of Deion dancing. This may or may not be true, if it’s true that Deion’s display was not televised, then the director in the broadcast van knew what was better for Deion’s image than Deion did. The shame of this is that Eagles fans took another black eye; and this one was completely undeserved. Certain Eagles fans have done bad things, and taken heat because of it, but the ‘booing FOR Michael Irvin’s injury’ is something that never happened. Never.
That is why we here in the Last Row truly hate Deion…because he indirectly got the media to think that we would boo an injury to Michael Irvin instead of the media pointing out just how asinine the antics of a shameless self-promoter were.
· If you are male, over the age of 5, and use the word ‘doily’ – you should be severely beaten about the head and shoulders until unconscious.
· The Last Row has noticed very disquieting similarities between two film icons. You know who we are talking about; Salacious Crumb from Return of the Jedi and Precious, from the Silence of the Lambs. Film fans will of course recognize these two greats, Crumb was Jabba the Hutt’s pet – and Precious was Jamie Gumb’s pet poodle. Yes, both of these characters were pets, but they were so much more.
These two held the same basic function – torment and mock any living thing unfortunate enough to fall into their master’s pit, where the victims would surely lose their life. They were basically squawking/barking trash ‘talkers’; like Tom Jackson’s ‘Jacked Up’ feature on Monday Night Countdown, except the Crumb/Precious subjects have a bit more to lose than a moment’s pain.
Neither of these cinematic giants died in their respective movies, but they both endured moments of pain right before their master’s death. Salacious Crumb’s moment of pain/embarrassment came from rolling Swiss army knife, R2-D2; and Precious’ moment came at the hand of an overweight Senator’s daughter. Needless to say-these greats have added much to our global conscience, and (hopefully) any similarities are pure coincidence.
The Last Row’s Top Six:
Terms to describe the Eagles
(We polled a bunch of Eagles fans prior to the first game and voted on our top six of their responses)