GAME TIME 1:00
GAME TEMP 74
“It’s a trick. Get an ax.” – Ash, Army of Darkness
We didn’t feel good about this game. Not one bit, Brian Westbrook was out and, well, it’s the Ravens, one of the toughest (if not THE toughest) defenses out there. Sure their offense is really, really bad, but the Eagles were crippled. The Ravens were crippled too, by the loss of uber-back Jamal Lewis. But the Ravens knew their loss was coming, the Eagles didn’t. The loss the Ravens couldn’t account for was the loss of uber-tackle Jonathan Ogden, we feel this was the biggest blow to the Ravens.
Yes, the Ravens were hurt, but like a cornered…ummm…Raven we knew that’s when they were most dangerous. The Ravens’ defense was healthy and The Last Row’s favorite uber-idiot, Deion Sanders had a big game the week before with 2 gift picks from Bledsoe, and a TD. Surely this would be the biggest test for the Eagles’ offense to date this season.
Would Dorsey Levens and Reno Mahe be able to shoulder the load? Would Donovan McNabb have 150 pass attempts in one game? Would Ray Lewis challenge TO to a steel-cage , Hardcore match at the 50 yard line???? (Oh, by the way, if there were a match such as this, it would be a haircut match ala Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake. The winner would not cut the loser’s hair however; Jeremy Shockey’s hair would get cut. Of course, Ozzie Newsome would be Lewis’ manager and McNabb would be Owens’ manager.)
Anyway – this is the most apprehensive The Last Row has been since the Vikings game.
“Hey, baby, what do you say we have a little champagne, hunh?” – Ash, Evil Dead II
An old friend of The Last Row, Dru attended the tailgate. Dru had tickets with us the first seven seasons we had tickets. He and a bunch of other friends from college (Penn State…ugh…come one JoePa) dropped out of going to the games when the Eagles stopped playing at the Vet (RIP). We’ll tell you this, we miss tailgating with those guys, and it’s really the only thing detracting from a great Eagles’ season. Maybe a couple of them will decide to join us next year? Come on guys…?
Anyway, Dru got a ticket from his neighbor Lou, and they joined us for some early morning beer and food. Lou told us a story about how he was practicing with a crossbow the other day when an eleven-point buck waltzed into his yard…you could imagine how this story ends. Arrows don’t kill stupid deer – they kill themselves. Lou brought deer sausage (unfortunately not from the same deer, but that’s a good story), and we have to say, the aroma of sizzling Bambi wafting from the grill was a heck of way to start things off right this tailgate.
The day itself was beautiful. A bit windy, especially where we sit, but it was a great day for football. We here in The Last Row feel that the perfect temperature for a football game is between 55 and 60 degrees. However, we would much rather have a 74-degree day than a 20-degree day (unless of course that game happens to be a playoff game – and even then we’d root for -13 or so).
Now, it would be an understatement to say that the food was better at this tailgate than the last. Not only did we have some good hot Italian sausage and the venison sausage from our guests, but Dolfi outdid himself by bringing steaks wrapped with bacon. Their scent alone was heavenly, but nothing compared to the perfectly cooked steaks, nestled in their blankets of bacon, seasoned ever so slightly with spicy Montreal steak seasoning. Ruth’s Cris had nothing on these steaks, they were literally so tender they melted in your mouth, and were so juicy they would have made Emmeril Legasse or Booby Flay look like a couple of hacks. Kudos to the chefs, and do yourself a favor – ignore your girlfriend’s or wife’s jibes about “heart attacks waiting to happen” and try some bacon-wrapped steaks sometime – you won’t be sorry. And if you do have a heart attack, at least you’re rid of that nagging pain in the keister and you went with a smile on your face.
First Five Songs at the Tailgate:
· Dust ‘n Bones – Guns ‘n Roses
· -Human – Metallica
· Of Wolf and Man – Metallica
· More than a Feeling – Boston
· Mona Lisa – Me First and the Gimmee Gimmees
“Let’s go down into that cellar and carve ourselves a witch.” – Ash, Evil Dead II
After the tailgate, we made the long trek to our seats for the 4th time this regular season. The warm temperature didn’t help much, but getting a couple cold brews on the way up to our seats certainly did. Well, one of us anyway. Dolfi managed to get 2 cold beers, while Walls somehow managed to get two nice and warm pours from a different beer line. Although semi-sacrilegious, a couple of ice cubes from the beer man’s cart later for Tom, and we were on our way.
It was Halloween and a few people were wearing costumes. At our tailgate we saw a guy dressed as Duff Man from The Simpsons. That prompted a 15-minute recitation of our favorite Duff Man quotes. (“Duff Man says a lot of things!!”.)
The most popular costumes were orange ‘Department of Corrections’ shirts with the last name Lewis on them. Have you ever worn a costume on Halloween just to find someone else wore the exact same costume, making you feel like an idiot? Well, we had two guys in our section wearing these ‘Department of Corrections’ get ups with “Lewis” plastered across the back. Upon further review though, it was noted that one of the prison uniforms was numbered 52, while the other one was numbered 31. Phew! Thankfully, the Ravens have enough criminal Lewis-es to go around…
As we took in the view of the costumed people in our section, we noted that “Skull Guy” had returned with his skull mask (maybe he just forgot it last game…), heckled him for a few minutes and got down to the serious business of helping the Birds beat the … ah… well… Birds.
The game was one of the best in terms of pure hard-hitting that The Last Row has seen in some time. Trust us, you’re gonna see a couple of these hits on an NFL highlight reel sometime, especially the one of Deion getting up-ended and landing on his thick skull. (Hopefully, the incredibly talented Madden 2006 people were watching and will give us the added bonus of adding it to their tremendously entertaining and captivating product.)
(Editor’s Note: Blatant fawning over a video game franchise in order to possibly get free advance copies of a game is expressly forbidden. Unless I get one, too.)
While neither offense played great, the defenses were fantastic. Sure, Baltimore’s offensive attack was pathetic, but it wasn’t all their own doing. The front four getting pressure on Boller helped ensure the Ravens never quite could get anything going this game. And while McNabb was (in his own words) “trying too hard” and making some errant throws on several occasions, he still managed to sling enough in T.O.’s direction that Mr. Sharpie went for over 100 yards in his fifth straight game, and found the end zone for the only TD on either team.
Ray Lewis thinks he’s better than anyone else in the NFL on defense. And there’s absolutely only one single reason why he gets away with it week after week; he is. That’s what kept this game interesting. With a talent like Lewis opposite your offense that is sputtering a bit, you don’t take anything for granted. You can’t – that’s just when he’ll make you pay. (Side note – Lewis was *way* faster in person than he appears on TV. He was about mid-field on a quick pass that McNabb dumped to T.O. on the outside, and Lewis sprinted from the center of the field to cut off T.O. on the sideline, limiting him to a 12 yard gain or so. It was unbelievable that a linebacker could catch up to a WR that quickly from as far away as Lewis was.)
The crowd didn’t take anything for granted, yelling their brains out on every third down – regardless of distance. “Henry the Red” was busy whipping our section into a frenzy at every available opportunity. And the stadium was filled with fans from the start to the final gun.
Thankfully the Eagles’ D was every bit as stifling as the Ravens were. The run defense was a concern coming into the game, and while they weren’t tested by the suspended Jamal Lewis, they still looked a *lot* better against the run than in the previous week in Cleveland. That put a lot of pressure on Kyle Boller, and being Boller, he wilted like those cheap roses you grabbed for your girlfriend from that guy wandering the highway median strip. (Come on – you didn’t think you were fooling her or us, did you?)
In the end, the little offense the Eagles could muster was more than enough to overcome a Ravens squad that (sarcasm alert!) one of our favorite ESPN analysts, Merril Hoge, claimed would “take the Eagles to the wood shed”. Thanks for being wrong about the Eagles for the 7th time this season Hoge, Oh, and one more thing, while none of us expect the Eagles to go undefeated (we hope, but not expect), we highly doubt they’ll suddenly lose 9 straight to prove Hoge and his 7-9 prediction for the Eagles correct.
Cheers! – Tough day in the cheers section. Not a super lot of great ones, although hearing the stands erupt with shouts of “Murderer!” every time Ray Lewis was in on a play was semi-amusing. This week’s cheer is dedicated to the Philly fans that can never seem to quite get some of the players names right.
In years past we had been treated to radio-call-in comments on “Troy Deblers” (Troy Detmer), Chalee Gardners (Charlie Garner), and even Jerome Maveries (Jerome Mayberry). This cheer, however, is dedicated to James Trotter – recently reacquired from the hated ‘Skins. He had been referred to as “James Trottier” (pronounced Trot-tee-ay) by one of Dolfi’s co-workers.
We used to cheer for “Trot-tee-ay!” all the time in his first stint with the Eagles and it’s good to have him back. So this week’s cheer was that anytime Trotter did anything remotely good, one of us yelled “Trot-tee-ay!” followed by the other yelling “That’s French Canadian for ‘I’ll Kick Yer A**’!!” While certainly not one of our better efforts, it still gave us a chuckle or two.
(Editor’s note: At no time has James Trotter ever been French Canadian OR played hockey. Seriously, we had our crack staff at ‘Fantasy Sharks’ look it up.)
Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love, B****!!! Award – This one was a no-brainer. You’re not always sure what you’re looking for, but you sure as heck know it when you see it. When the Last Row saw Ike Reese up-end Deion Sanders, pop him up in the air, watch him spin around and then come straight down on his head… we stopped looking for the best hit of the game. So this week’s award goes to The Last Row’s favorite loudmouth, Deion Sanders. An awesome hit from Ike Reese upending Deion during a punt return – BAM!!! Simply awesome, it knocked 1% of the ego and some of the stuffing out of Deion, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Deion you’ve been away from Philly for too long, we’re glad your back in the league if for no other reason than the joy you gave us as we watched Reese welcome you back to our city of brotherly love, b****.
Final Thoughts from The Last Row –
· THE LAST ROW’S NOVEMBER TAILGATE EXPERIENCE – For any of you guys who live in the Philadelphia area and would like to join us for a tailgate before the Redskins game on NOV 21st, listen up. We are checking out interest for getting the folks who visit this site and live in our area together. We have no idea how many people would be interested, but we always have a good time tailgating, and want to see what the interest level is, we’re tailgating no matter what.
We ask that you bring food products and/or beer. Tom of The Last Row will ask people to bring one or the other based on projected numbers. We’re not doing this to make money. We would like to meet some Philly area Sharks and have a good time. We tailgate in the Vet (RIP) parking lot near Citizens Bank Park. We’ll provide more detailed via e-mail to all interested parties. It’s not the closest to the Linc, but usually people can park near each other without getting to the area incredibly early. The cost to park there is $10, which is about as good as you’re going to do, unless you live near the Linc.
Even if you don’t have tickets, you can tailgate then go home (no drinking/driving people!!) or hang out at McFadden’s or Chickie and Pete’s.
We ask a couple of things:
1) E-mail Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know you are interested. He’ll get back to you with in a week of getting your note.
2) He’ll ask that you bring food or drink (there will be no non-alcoholic beverages asked for by Tom, bring your own…), please bring something to the tailgate.
3) If you are under 21, it would be best if you don’t attend. I am pretty sure no one providing beer wants to give it to a minor. But, it’s a free country , and we can’t stop you from stopping by. Be prepared to be carded if you are attending. This is not a Fantasysharks.com event, and each person attending will be accountable for beers gotten from their cooler.
4) We’ll double check who is attending about a week before the tailgate, please if you say you are attending, then go – other wise the beer/food ratio may be out of balance!!!
5) If you are a belligerent Eagles fan, we don’t want you. (Yes, not all Eagles fans are belligerent). You know who you are, and we don’t want any ‘incidents’. Also, stay away if you plan on imbibing anything other than food or alcohol, plainclothes cops are all over the place at the Vet’s old lots.
6) If we get a good response to this, we may need grills. If you have a grill and can bring it, please let us know in your note. If there is not enough grill capacity, well – we’ll figure something out.
OK, sorry for all that stuff, but we wanted to get that out of the way. We hope you can attend, even if a couple of people join us, it would be cool to meet some other Eagles fans.
· Sarah Jessica Parker – sex symbol. We *STILL* don’t get it.
· The Last Row has seen a lot of stories about people from other cities being ‘happy’ for Red Sox fans, because they won the World Series. Why, exactly? Look, we realize that 86 years had passed between Red Sox victories, but Boston had the Patriots and Celtics championships recently, not to mention UConn (OK, UConn is s stretch). Boston has had parades recently, sure Boston is a baseball town, but they had these other championships.
And don’t tell us we don’t understand…we do. Towns like Philadelphia and Cleveland have gone much longer without any sort of a celebration for a professional team winning. Our town has an entire generation of people who can’t remember what a major professional championship is like. Sorry, Red Sox Nation, we’re not happy for you, maybe you should have enjoyed your other team’s championships a little more. (Imagine that, Philadelphia fans being bitter…who-da thunk it?).
We have gone 85 Sporting Years without a championship, and we don’t expect anyone else to be happy for us if and when one of the Philadelphia teams wins a championship. Whether it’s the Phillies, Sixers, Flyers or (Please God) the Eagles we’ll celebrate and appreciate that team’s achievement and thank whatever powers there are that the long drought is finally over. No team ‘deserves’ to win a championship. The only team that deserves a championship is the best team. For 86 years the Red Sox weren’t the best team – that’s all.
· Do any other Philly fans feel vindicated that we’ve been complaining about the WR corps for the past 4 years as being woefully sub-standard, and that we’d really have an offense if we could just get a legitimate #1 WR in town? I know The Last Row does…
· If you’re looking for something “extra” to put on your sandwich to make it special, you could do a lot worse than tossing on some stuffing. Nothing like breading on bread.
· Another thing – Red Sox Nation. Stop it with the damned Nation-ing of everything. It is getting old. What are we going to do if they call the DC baseball franchise the ‘Nationals’? Raider Nation, Red Sox Nation, Sports Nation, Sixers Nation.
Raiders fans must be pretty unhappy with the whole Nation concept. We understand the concept, you want to convey the idea of fans of a team in the geographic area, plus all of the bandwagon fans who joined in across the country pulling for that particular team. Can’t we come up with a different suffix than ‘Nation’? We would like to call a moratorium on the Nationing of our country…Only Raider Nation, no other team’s fans can be referred to as a nation. Use the word ‘fans’. Of course, there are some drawbacks to referring to a team’s fans as ’fans’.
§ You lose the tribe like feelings that a word like ‘Nation’ portrays.
§ ‘Fans’ ends in the letter ‘S’, which is hard to write if you are drunk. The word ‘Nation’ has letters that can basically be written (when capitalized) with straight hand movements.
§ Nation is always capitalized, whereas fans really should be kept lower case.
No more ‘nations’, OK? And let’s repeal all others except Raider Nation… please?
· During this week’s tailgate an interesting question was discussed at length by the Last Row – the question of the conservation of matter as it relates to “Ball Park” brand franks.
Now anyone who grew up when we did will certainly remember the “They plump when you cook ‘em!” commercials of Ball Park Franks. Upon reflecting on those commercials a thought occurred to us; doesn’t meat *shrink* when you cook it? I mean even fast food commercials say their hamburgers are ¼ lb. beef prior to cooking, knowing full well that it won’t be near ¼ lb. when it’s fully cooked.
How was Ball Park able to spontaneously add matter to their hot dogs? And isn’t such a thing prohibited by the theory of the conservation of matter? (i.e. That matter is neither created or destroyed, but only converted to energy and back again.) Are Ball Park Franks somehow converting energy to matter to make them “plump when you cook them”?!?
And if this is so, wouldn’t we be able to somehow use these hot dogs to power nuclear reactors with a constantly renewable source of energy? While the Last Row is aware that nuclear reactors typically split the hydrogen atom to produce power, and that Ball Park Franks are probably mostly nitrogen in composition, we still think that should be able to produce a fairly powerful energy release by splitting the “Deliciousness” molecules present in the Ball Park Frank. Only time and continued investigation will tell…
§ Merrill Hoge, ESPN’s Biggest Tool. Boy, does he hate Philadelphia. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=1910373 . A couple of problems with this story. There is no way that Hoge and a drunken fool are having a one-on-one conversation during a game at the Vet. Sorry, that just is not happening. No way that Hoge is hearing what a fan in the last row of the Vet says during a game…even if this fan was in the first level of the last row. Hoge just is not going to hear him.
A couple of other things, Hoge – you spelled ‘Tecmo’ incorrectly. And there is no spin button in Tecmo Super Bowl.
Now, onto Merrill’s current profession, NFL analyst – for everything where his opinion is asked for regarding Eagles’ games, he picks against Philadelphia. What a freaking balloon knot. Balloon Knot!!! His opinion counts for nothing!! Nothing!! The Eagles are one of the NFL’s 5 best teams, and there is an analyst working for ESPN whose opinion counts for nothing on that team. The Balloon Knot needs to be fired.
PS – Nice frosting on your hair, Balloon Knot.
The Last Row’s Top Six:
Top Six “Rings” Every One Should Have On Their Cell Phone
6. Tubular Bells – You don’t know you know this song, but you do. It’s the creepy music from “The Exorcist”. While it won’t scare you when your phone rings, it will give you an excuse to spit pea soup at your friends.
5. Mission Impossible Theme – And not that movie with Tom Freakin’ Cruise. The cool TV show with Peter Graves. Makes you feel like the phone is gonna self destruct after you answer it…
4. James Bond Theme – It really shouldn’t be cool anymore – but yet it still is.
3. Theme from the A Team – You remember, when Mr. T was B.A. (Bad Attitude) Baracus. Seriously, was there anyone alive that thought the “A” really stood for “Attitude”?!?
2. Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) – What self-respecting Philadelphian wouldn’t put this on their phone? What self-respecting anyone for that matter??
1. Theme from the Rockford Files – How can you NOT love a show where the main character gets beaten up *at least* once an episode and usually a couple more times for good measure?!?