September 16, 2009
Throwback Night Proves Prophetic
BY: Kevin Rousseau
I'm know I'm now definitely out of the 18-35 demographic when it takes almost a full day to recover from attending a night game. Some years ago, this column would come to you almost instantly after the game no matter what time sleep came. Finally getting around to the column on Wednesday night, this isn't so much a zany game column on Buffalo but also a look ahead to another eye-rolling, annoying game against the New York Jets.
The funny part is that oftentimes in my life--whether at my job, at home or elsewhere--procrastinating and doing nothing pays off. Procrastinating on writing this column until now and--voila! Rex Ryan opens his mouth and an irate Bills fan turns Buffalo kick returner Leodis McKelvin's front lawn into a scene from Sixteen Candles. Sweet.
Let's take a look back at the zany goings on in the last five minutes of Monday night's game on "throwback" night. With the Bills going up by 11 with five minutes to go, an old fashioned Schaeffer Stadium-style fight broke out nearby. A sense of nostalgia came over my father and I as the local football team seemingly laid an egg as the fight broke out. All that was needed to complete the throwback hat trick would be a beer shower from a patron two rows behind us. Oddly, the non-occurrence of said beer shower was mildly disappointing.
Then suddenly, it all changed back to the modern-day Patriots game day experience. A remarkable victory, the fans becoming a defining positive factor and the realization that the Bills now play the role of the throwback Pats--pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory.
The folks to our left gave up. The guys to our right took off as well. At $117 a pop, my rear end stays planted until the game is over, over, over. And besides, every now and then the nine things that have to happen for a team to comeback actually occur. The key play, of course, is the kickoff return that looked like trouble from Jump Street when McKelvin hesitated for just a second before coming out of the end zone. When he started being bounced around like a ping pong ball, I thought "Well, maybe something crazy could happen."
And then it did.
The experience of being at a game like Monday night is one of the things that makes life such a joy. The quiet and then sudden explosion of approval as Ben Watson twists, turns and catches the go-ahead touchdown. The high fives between my dad and I for the 54,323rd time over the years that never, ever get old. Moments later, I forget my age demographic for a little while and could be seen jumping up and down while howling with Billy and Matt as we snake our way back to the car. It's the kind of night that makes $117 not seem like such an insane amount of money to justify to oneself and others.
Throw in a week two matchup with the Jets and suddenly the season is on. If you need to buy some drapes during an NFL Sunday, you would be wise to put it off until a September matchup against an NFC team. Fortunately, Bed Bath & Beyond can wait until the Falcons come to town in a week and a half. This silly Rex Ryan, WWF-style baloney will have to be addressed.
Given the fact that virtually nothing has gone well for the Jets over the years, the sudden turn by their head coach into Captain Lou Albano can certainly be understood. What do the Jets and their fans have to lose? Maybe Mean Gene Okerlund is available for a gameday interview on the Jets Radio Network.
Win or lose, we'll learn a little bit more about this 2009 Patriots team on Sunday. We'll see if the offense starts clicking as expected. Can the defense start to define itself a little bit? Finally, we'll see if the Patriots settle the score with Captain Lou in their traditional style after being the subject of bulletin board material.
That would be a throwback moment by the Patriots we could all get behind.
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