It started early on Saturday, because the Terrapins (bow down in worship, unbeliever!) kicked off to Clemson a few minutes after noon. Gloom and despair overtook me because I quickly realized that the Rat Bastard Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson's quarterback for the last 314 academic years, had returned (I thought he had
Well, it would've looked good to an unbeliever like you. I? Knew that those orange-and-purple fucks had us right where they wanted us. And so it was, as a ridiculous roughing call deep in Clemson territory fueled their drive into our end zone. The alleged rougher, a fine young gentleman named Gerrick McPhearson who has never in his entire life unduly harmed so much as a fly, hurled a Clemson receiver out of bounds. Now, Mr. McPhearson had a choice; bring down the little orange fuck--a glorious and patriotic thing that happens on Our Nation's Football Fields every single day--or let him scamper down the sideline unmolested for yardage that might lead to a game-winning score. Mr. McPhearson simply flipped the little peckerwood out of bounds. It was what, in football circles, is called a tackle. The retard of a head linesman--a Clemson graduate, by all available evidence--who was standing right on top of the play apparently expected Mr. McPhearson to call for the little orange fuck's honorable surrender, though, because he threw a flag.
Okay, it's true that this left the orange fucks at about their own 25 or so, and that it was Whitehurst's 60-yard bomb over the head of our perfectly fine, but apparently just a tetch slow safety, Chris Varner, a few plays later that sealed our demise. And that was a coverage screwup--there were twin wideouts, and the corner stuck with the short route while the unfortunate Mr. Varner took the deep one. This being the exact same goddam route that the cornerback had successfully defensed two plays earlier.
It's also true that there were coaching breakdowns--the bomb was one of them, because I have no clue why you'd cover the short outside with an indescribably fast corner and the long outside with an inevitably slower safety--but there were fundamental problems in the play-calling, too. Clemson has a pretty tough defense, especially against the run. Our halfback is a not-shabby guy named Mario Merrills. Mario's built like a bull. He's pretty quick, too--sort of a low-grade Jamal Lewis, only...well, low grade. And probably not a convicted drug dealer. He breaks tackles real well, and he's neither the fastest nor slowest biggish-time running back I've ever seen. Our O-line, however, is young--chock full o' underclassmen. Not horrible, but certainly still learning the trade.
It took our coaching staff an awful long time to figure out that Mario was getting his head stuffed up his ass every time he ran up the middle. Which was, like, two out of every three plays. They got a little traction running him outside, and they got a little traction when they put in his smaller, faster, more lithe backup, Keon Lattimore, who was (mirabilis!) running outside. And it took most of the fucking afternoon and way too many forced fumbles for Our Other Lord and Savior Ralph Friedgen (the head coach, and he's only The Other One because you will bow down before Gary Williams, who coaches us in The Real Sport, and you personally will especially bow down, GermBabe, because I know you're still reading this) to get around to figuring out that we weren't moving the ball on the fucking ground.
We don't like losing to Clemson. They cheat, at least they did when Danny Ford was their coach, and since their coach is a guy with the last name of Bowden, you don't need to meet a very high standard of evidence to conclude that they still cheat. We don't like Charlie Whitehurst. We don't like losing on our home field. We'd better not do it on Saturday, when I will personally my own self be in attendance as My Beloved Terrapins take on our mortal Lex Luthor archrivals, the Hillbillies of West Bygod Virginia, in our the annual Beer Swilling and Couch Burning Festival of Brotherhood Between The States.
Our good friend Gothmog feels my pain, only far worse. My second football love is the Longhorns of the University of Texas. They're also one of Goth's loves, except that on Saturday night, in a major hoopla nationally televised event, the Horns were visiting some cow town in Ohio, home of Gothmog's first and mostest football love, the Ohio State University Fuckeyes. I learned to detest OSU when I spent a year as the guest of a small liberal arts college a short distance from said cow town. I say "guest" because while I was, in a very narrow administrative sense, a student of that school, I mostly just did hospitality stuff like consuming things and rubbing up against women.
And detest the big land-grant school we did, with snotty Eastern liberal intellectual pride in our string of 35 consecutive victories over them. In swimming. I'm pretty sure we topped them in snotty Eastern intellectualism, too.
Texas and OSU are both huge football programs--real football programs, compared to my beloved alma mater's (that is, the alma mater I graduated from, that being the aforementioned University of Maryland, which last won the national football championship in 1953 and has since been relegated to despair or the Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl, which are after all pretty much the same damn thing). Big-time regular-season hoopla events like this one, between big-ass football schools from different leagues, are rare things, because such schools try real hard not to play meaningful out-of-league games before the end of the year, lest they screw up their shot at an undefeated season (and hence a clear shot at the national title). This was, by any reasonable reckoning, the college football Game of the Year, and the televised hoopla surrounding it reflected that.
It was a good game, too--back and forth, exciting rallies, huge screaming mob-scene crowd, usually close on the scoreboard, lots of turnovers (and had OSU been better able to capitalize on its shutdown of Texas' high-powered offense through turnovers, it would be a much happier day in Columbus), lots of beauteous athleticism, some rare stuff (Texas managed to score on a safety when OSU was buried deep in its own territory, a score that eventually provided the margin of victory). The Texas quarterback is just freakin' amazing, and the OSU defense is monstrous good, especially their linebackers. Texas won on a late rally, driving to score a touchdown with a minute left in the game.
It was a really, really great game, and I'm sorry that Gothmog's season had to be screwed up by it. But it was great entertainment. I won't deny that I was pleased by the score, but I won't rub Goth's nose in that shit, either. I must, however, respectfully suggest that he lead a mob to force haircuts on his team's linebackers.
We (Ilse and I spent a rare and precious weekend on the couch together) spliced a soccer game into the big huge hairy Game of the Year, too, because we follow DC United, my media market's entry in Major League Soccer. They were playing at FC Dallas on Saturday night, and the game was televised. We saw United play Dallas (formerly The Burn, which produces all kinds of cool songs about sexually transmitted diseases when you go see DCU play them live) a few weeks ago at a suburban soccer park a few minutes from my home, in an open cup game (the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, if you care). DCU lost that game horribly--DCU was up one-nil (I'll adopt a slightly different language to discuss
It was a different game at FCD's brand-spanking-new Pizza Hut Park, a soccer-only stadium that looks like it was built from leftover pizza delivery boxes. There were sections of the Atlantic Wall defending against D-Day that were more attractive than this Eastern European-looking pomo dump. But I don't care, because if I ever stay in Dallas longer than it takes me to change planes, I'll have friends to visit and won't bother with the concrete bastion that is Pizza Hut Park. I do have this to say to the designers: there will never be a soccer riot in this country, and if there is, it sure as hell isn't scheduled for Dallas.
It's hard to do justice to the flowing beauty of a soccer game in words, so I'll just note that DCU played reasonably non-poorly--well enough to win--and that my new favorite member of United is a young man named Facundo Erpen.
And Brian Carroll sucks; he could only suck worse had he attended Duke rather than Wake Forest. Every time I catch him using his insufferably inadequate little brain on the football pitch (don't you love it when I'm affective?), I want to run down and slap him. Just kick the fucking ball, Brian. No, don't think. Kick. That drunk Salvadoran mindlessly banging a drum down in the Barra Brava section thinks better than you do. Kick. Uhp? What'd I say? Did I say think about to whom you are kicking? Just kick, you little scrote. Don't think. React and kick. Bitch.
(To whom?! To whom?!)
Sorry. That last was a massively deep inside joke (you kicka da ball wit da side a you foot! would be the other) that brings us abruptly to Sunday. I know that many of my two or three readers spent yesterday as I did, watching the gluttonous orgy that is the NFL's opening weekend. My local media market was treated to the usual spectacle, that of its offensively and inaccurately named local franchise (the team is based in Virginia and plays its home games in Maryland, yet is named after Our Nation's Capital, and you all know about the offensive part) playing a really ugly game of football. This game was perpetrated against the Chicago Bears, who are the stuff of pathos; it was a hurricane-scale disaster, with the inept excuses for professional football teams knocking heads for what seemed like an eternity, preceded by an endless 9/11 wallow and followed by a maudlin trip to Charlotte to see the end of the New Orleans Saints' ultimate triumph over adversity and the Carolina Panthers.
The Foreskins' game was slovenly and droll. Our coach, Joe El Senor Jesucristo Supermayamaya Jefe Gibbs, is a senile old fartbag who thinks he's running a team in an era where you can punch a real man like John Riggins through the middle of the line, and your Hawgs will push those pansies on the other team over onto their little sissy keesters and the spectacularly hungover Riggo will blast 44 yards up the middle and put paid to those Godless little heathens.
Several critical reality-based factors intrude upon this rich fantasy. One is that it's not Joe's father's game any more, which is to say it's not Joe's game, because he's older than dirt and left the league for 12 years to go run stock cars around tracks in Our Nation's Glorious South. The players are all pansies, including the O-linesmen, and they're all prima donnas, and they're all jumping excitable me-first overamped drugged-up pieces of overpaid gooseshit who don't take guff from legendary old men like El Senor. None of them are John Riggins, and none of them, most especially the Foreskins' O-line, are remotely capable of knocking their corresponding defensive overamped drugged-up tubs of lard onto their overpaid keesters. And you cannot, in today's NFL, run the same fucking play 33 gorram times and advance the fucking football, a mentality that was only rebarred by El Senor's lengthy sojourn in a world where sport travels in a circle 200 times very very fast.
I wrote a lengthy piece in another online venue the day that El Senor returned to this fair city. Well, its fair suburbs, anyway. It was like MacArthur returning to Leyte. It was like Jesus returning overtop the Mormon Temple. It was like...it was fucking indescribable, the fawning obsequiety that this man's return to football, and to the fuckall pathetic wreck of a franchise that is the Redskins, engendered. To this day, 18 long months later, it makes me puke in a rocket-propelled manner. The man is a fraud. He gave us three Super Bowl championships, Back in the Day, and Heather Havrilesky Love Him for that. But he has no more clue how to operate a modern NFL franchise than I have a clue about how to get Lucy Liu to felch me.
Ilse, if you were drinking something when you read that last line: he shoots, he scores.
So the Skins open this tragicomedy by running their uberstar halfback, Clinton "Butter for Breakfast, No Cutlery" Portis, up the middle until he limps off the field with a high vagina sprain. During his absence, they run the ball up the middle once, and punt a few times, the Bears punting back in return. Late in the first quarter, El Senor finally gets around to running Ol' Lardfingers around to the outside. Woohoo! 8-yard gain, second and two! Time to push that ball upfield with a well-timed freebie pass, ayup, because even the MercyMutha can gain two yards on third down!
Not quite. El Senor calls the exact same motherfucking play, and Portis is stuffed for a two-yard loss. A few plays later, early in the second quarter, rookie-after-three-years quarterback Patrick Ramsey is viciously clotheslined at the Bears' 10-yard line, knocking him to the sidelines for what should be a bit.
Except it's not, it's the rest of the game. After one more exchange of three-and-outs, the inept Fox broadcast team announces that the Redskins' medical staff has cleared Patrick to return to the game. We wait for the rest of the game and do not see Patrick on the field again, although we do see him bouncing around the sidelines, singing "Put Me In Coach."
But it is not to be, because Patrick is a Godless heathen, and El Senor has spent our team's salary cap (another concept with which El Senor has grave difficulty) on an inept, left-handed (never, ever, ever play a left-handed quarterback, unless all of your quarterbacks are left-handed and that's just how you wanna live your damn life), older-than-dirt (that is to say, almost as old as me) fellow Christian traveller named Mark Brunell (although our Fox broadcast team will insist, for ten full game minutes, that the elderly scrag's name is Scott Brunell).
Mark Brunell is on this team for one reason; he's a Bible-thumping Christian. He is too old to play this game to any effect. He wallows around in the backfield, virtually immobile, and we've already canonized one immobile quarterback in this here town; we got limited room for saints. He is making five million dollars annually to not quarterback this team.
Patrick Ramsey has had an unfortunate three-year career here. He started as the first victim of our former coach, who shall not be named, although just watch the dance I do to dispel evil spirits if you should happen to name him. He spent one full season doing absolutely nothing save getting sacked, until he broke, and was replaced by Elizabeth Filarski's husband. Then he broke again last year, in his first year under the tutelage of the saints. There is a look in Patrick's eye that is hard to articulate, but let's try this: you'd better have a spare diaper in your hand if'n you say "Boo!" to the poor bastard.
There are things that need to be done with this football team. El Senor must be caused to go away. I don't care how. Mark-Scott Brunell must be caused to go away. I don't care how. Patrick Ramsey must be sent to a place that is warm and quiet and loves him, preferably a team with an offensive line. I don't care if he thence becomes Tom Brady; the poor guy is never going to amount to anything here. The team is pressing the salary cap and needs to be dismantled and rebuilt--they're going to have to do that soon anyway, because the team is about to undergo a massive salary cap crash. They've already had to start breaking up a damn good defense because they let the cap get out of control.
But first, they have to fire Gibbs. Ring up another excommunication for your old pal Satan.
I have one more football topic to explore. After the endless disaster that was the Redskins-Bears (and it was actually the first of the 1 PM games to end), I took a few hours off from football, and didn't return until well into the second quarter of the nightcap, the Ravens-Colts. I don't mind the Ravens; they're my emergency backup team, and no Redskins fan should be without something else to care about. I only watched a few minutes of the game, because it was visually hurtful to do so.
The Ravens' new unis are a war crime. Black jerseys, black pants, white socks. They look like beat poets without berets. They look like ogres dancing The Rites of Spring. They look like mimes without the facepaint. They are a fucking nightmare. New unis, please.