A Sunday Afternoon in November
by John Delach
Now that the sun is up and the sky hasn’t fallen, I present to you my intended blog for today.
The weather was as perfect as predicted, clear, mostly sunny, morning temperature: 52 degrees, 60 to 62 at game time. A perfect day for the New York City Marathon but, more importantly, a perfect day for football. A One PM start: Eagles vs. Giants at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ- football doesn’t get better than this!
Joe arrived at my house at 7:43 AM. Dave was next and by eight we three were out of Port Washington cruising west on Long Island highways and over the Throgs Neck Bridge. Thank God for early Sunday mornings. We crossed The Bronx in ten-minutes, galloped over the George Washington Bridge onto I-80, the New Jersey Turnpike and made it into our tailgate parking lot by 8:40!
Festivities were already in progress, our mates who arrived before the parking lot opened at 8 AM had secured select spaces to park and tailgate. Let the cooking begin: Prosciutto Roll, Lox and cream cheese bagels and empanadas accompanied by Bill’s bloody Marys to kickoff our fourth tailgate of the 2016 season. Today, the New York Football Giants face our most sinister rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, a never ending vendetta. These two division rivals must play each other twice a year, every year until hell freezes over.
Grills are fired up, coolers mostly stocked with beer from exotic imports to Bud and Miller Lite abound. Shrimp cocktail, steak, brisket, burgers, clams, dogs, Italian sausages and peppers, Philly cheese steak sandwiches, boar sausages, knockwurst, etc, etc. We take joy in sharing this bounty and revel in our common love and our common cause; Heavenly Father, let us defeat, nay destroy the ugly bird from the City of Brotherly Love and let our beloved Big Blue advance. Amen.
The disputed presidential election two days removed is without meaning or consequence for the next six hours. No Clinton, no Trump; Giants against Eagles; we win – we’re a contender – they win, 2016 is kaput for us. Got it? It’s that simple, we win, we go on – lose, the season’s over. As Doctor Mike once put it: “Just exactly, how is this election going to affect the outcome of today’s game?”
Shortly after noon, we broke down the tailgate and made our way though three different parking lots to reach Met Life Stadium, aka, the new joint. Not surprisingly, numerous Eagle fans were in attendance dressed in green and silver paraphernalia. We endure the triple lines of security, the price we pay to enjoy life in these dangerous times. I travelled with Joe, his brother Justin, Dave, my son, Michael and his son, Matt. Dave, Mike, Matt and I used our regular seats, in Section 108, Row 10, Seats 1-4. Joe sat with his brother, Justin in their seats at the other end of 108.
The league celebrated our armed forces in honor of next Friday’s Veterans Day. A massive American Flag was unfurled that covered almost the entire playing field for the playing of our national anthem that ended with an impressive flyover by three F-18 Hornets.
The Eagles won the coin toss and deferred, now the thing to do in the NFL. The Giants offense did nothing going three and out and forced to punt. Then the fun began. The Giants defense intercepted two of Carson Wentz’s passes on the first two Eagles possessions and Eli Manning turned both into touchdowns: Giants 14, Eagles 0.
So much for the easy part. From then on it turned into a slug fest. Both defenses played well and the Giants, particularly well. They stopped the Eagles on three out of four Fourth Down attempts and blocked a field goal.
At the end of the third quarter, the Giants were up, 28 to 17. I took that stoppage to make a pit stop. Excitement was at a fever pitch and I said to the guy at the next urinal, “That Wentz has a rifle for an arm when he throws short passes. We have to disrupt him, knock him on his ass as often as we can.”
At that point I turned toward him only to realize he was a guy about 50 wearing a white Eagles jersey. “Oh,” I remarked, “disregard that transmission.”
“Roger and out.” He replied.
With the score 28 to 23 the Eagles last scoring attempt ended with an incomplete pass thrown to the corner of the end zone right in front of us. A nail biter to the end but put it in the win column. High fives, hugs and joy.
We waited our turn to exit our section and made the long but happy walk back to the car for the traffic choked trip back to Long Island. I’ll miss next week’s game as it’s on Monday night and I don’t do night games. But Sunday, November 20 is another One PM start against the Bears so I get to do it all over again.