Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ratbird Stew

This will be the last football post for a while, (or at least until the weekend), but I feel obligated to wrap up The Game of the Week.  If you’re not into football, please skip ahead to the part where I talk about seeing the new Harry Potter movie.

This game was the Big One for me, because it was my boys playing the team from the town in which I live.  And the town in which I live is filled with obnoxious fans.

The Steelers won, Sunday night, in a breathtaking, hard-hitting 13-10 slugfest.  If you’re still reading, I’m sure you know all about it, so I’m not doing play by play or anything.  It was an exciting game; one that left me with my fingernails bitten down to the nubs.  (For a recap with a high quotient of laughs, check out Ginny’s post at That’s Church.  It’s the most entertaining recap in town!)

Since I took Monday off, I had plenty of time to go through the morning newspaper and bask in the reflected glory of the big win.  But I don’t know why I always think there will be some kind of rational coverage…

There were a couple of huge sub-plots to the game.  QB and resident perv Ben Roesthlisberger took a forearm to the nose from defensive tackle and stunt double for Godzilla, Haloti Ngata.  Ben suffered an obvious broken nose.  They showed him coming to the sideline with his nose decidedly off-center, like a Picasso painting.  There was no penalty called on the play, although blows to the head have been illegal for at least 25 years.  If the refs aren’t watching the QB, who the hell are they watching?

Ben played the rest of the game with the broken nose, which went along with his re-aggravated broken foot.

Later, Steelers tight end Heath Miller got drilled in the back, long after the ball had bounced away incomplete, and was whip-lashed and bent over backwards.  He stayed down for over 5-minutes.  By some miracle, he gingerly walked off the field, probably as a benefit of his having a neck that’s about as big around as my thigh. 

This was the kind of hit that usually results in being strapped to a gurney and having to have your helmet cut off.  It also usually results in a penalty, but there was none for that hit either.

Heath was out for the rest of the game and probably next week’s as well.

So what is the paper talking about the next morning?  A big “controversial” non-call… the one where Rats’ defensive end Terrell Suggs grasped at Ben’s jersey, before Ben skittered away and threw the ball out of bounds.  Some of the local morons apparently thought he should have been down by being “in the grasp.”  NBC analyst Chris Collingsworth called it the best play he’s seen all year.  In the grasp, my eye.  I’ll give them something to “grasp.”

This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis around here… complete delusion on the part of the fans and media.  There was not a single reference in the print newspaper of either the forearm shiver to the QB, or the whiplash cheap shot to the tight end, nor the flagrant non-calls. 

The officiating rep that NBC had in the production truck came on and said that the Miller shot should have been a penalty.  Today, the NFL fined Ngata $15K and the rookie linebacker that hit Miller $40K.  Too bad it was two days late.

I continue to ask where the balance is.  They can’t keep putting the Steelers defense under a microscope, while letting the Steelers offense get bludgeoned to death.  I think they should just let’em all play and drop all this feigned concern for player safety.  But if they ARE going to pussify the game, they gotta keep it fair.

Anyway, the Steelers did what good teams do… they overcame adversity and pulled it out.  Troy Polamalu was amazing again, as he swept around end, late in the game and forced a turnover from the Ratties’ QB.  Later, the Steelers drove it in with a 9-yard TD, acquired on the gigantic balls of running back Isaac Redman, who broke two tackles to plow into the end zone. 

What ensued was like a movie.  I call it: "Silence of the Fans."
“Put the ball in the end zone… Put the fuckin’ ball in the end zone!”

There was a lot of pre-game attention in the media about the team giving out purple rally towels.  What was surprising was that I didn’t see a single fan twirling one.  I’m not sure if that’s because they refused, or if they just didn’t know how.  I suspect they tried but kept wrapping them around their own heads.  It’s hard to heckle and threaten the children, women and senior citizens with a towel wrapped around one’s head, so I imagine they stopped trying.

I will give the Rattie fans credit for this though.  On my day off, I had time to cruise through the comments on Ravens blogs and even listen to some sports talk radio.  I couldn’t believe how the fans weren’t really complaining about the refs, or league bias, or their usual excuses.  They were mostly mad at their own team for a change.  Well, mostly the coaches… they don’t criticize the players very often; at least not the stars.

The reason I got to listen to local sports radio is that I had it on in the car, Monday afternoon, when I went to see the new Harry Potter movie.

(OK, this is the end of the football stuff.)

I know it’s weird, but I’m a huge Potter fan.  I saw the first several movies at my brother’s house when the nephew was watching them.  I believe I’ve seen them in the theater ever since the 4th one.

Between last December and February, I read all 7 books.  So this was the first movie that I’ve seen where I had already read the story.

I was impressed with the movie and enjoyed it immensely.  And I sure didn’t have to strain to hear it because there were only 3 other people in the theater: 2 other middle-aged guys like me, and what looked like a female grad student.  But what do you expect on a Monday afternoon?

Anyway, the movie was very faithful to the book, which I consider to be a plus.  The action was brilliant when it came, but due to the nature of the original story, there was a good deal of ‘down time’, as the three friends were out on the run.  There were some bits cut, of course, but much had to do with the fact that those themes had been cut from the books as well.  And Harry’s romance with Ginny Weasley was completely underplayed, though I suspect it will heat up in the last installment.

Ah yes… the last installment.  Owing to the nature of cutting a story in two, the ending on this one was not exactly satisfying.  It was like the “Empire Strikes Back” of the Potter series… or the “Back to the Future 2.”  You’re just dying for it to continue, but have to cool your heels until next summer.  I expect they’ll release the DVD in the spring, to ramp up the hype for the finale.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to keep skimming up my copy of the book.  Beats watching commercials…

18 comments:

  1. Yeah, they can't cry about unfair calls so now they're turning on each other... he he he...

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  2. Sitcom Kelly in the houuuuuuuse!

    Yes, let them fight among themselves and leave us out of it.

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  3. I'm glad the Steelers pulled the win out. I thought of you when I saw the highlights of the game.

    It looked like the Steelers were getting all kinds of beat up, too. (Roethlisburger's nose looked *bad*.) Hope they'll be OK next week.

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  4. The Steelers are in pretty rough shape. I'm worried about their being able to go strong next week. Losing to the Browns or Bengals could undo everything they gained Sunday night.

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  5. Harry rules!!!! We love Harry Potter! Our N.O. daughter is a big fan, too. She has given us the books on CD for when we took long trips. I have read every book, and so has she. She saw the latest movie and said that when Dobby died, people in the theater wer sobbing! I will probably go to see it this weekend.
    Oh, and I heard about the Steelers' win. Good for them!!!

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  6. Judie,
    I recommend it strongly, even if only for it being a means to the end.

    It's so funny when you look back on the first movies and see how small they all were, and now how grown up they have become. How is it I'm still the same middle aged old fart as when I saw the first movie? Not fair!

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  7. It was an awesome game. I do love me some steelers beating up the black birds.

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  8. "Awesome" as in "stressful as all get-out".

    Why can't we just beat some people right out of the gate, for a change?

    But when it comes to the Ratbirds, I'll take a W any way I can get it.

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  9. I spent the second half of Silence of the Lambs terrified that something bad was going to happen to that cute little doggie.

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  10. The Post-Gazette quoted Ben's recounting of his discussion with the official after the Ngata hit. When he complained, the ref apparently replied, "It was a legal hit. He was just trying to tackle you." Can Godell fine the refs? I've heard some conspiracy theorists around town opine that the lack of calls for cheap shots on Steelers players, especially Ben, is the ref's imposing additional "punishment" for his off the field antics. I usually do not subscribe to such theories, but this game does make you think....

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  11. We watched the game and started cracking up with the announcers when they said, "They're saying his nose isn't broken." And then zoomed in on that crazy curved nose. "I'm no doctor, but that looks like a broken nose to me."

    Great game. I knew you would be going crazy.

    Still haven't seen the new Potter movie. Dying to though. I'm a big fan. :)

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  12. Bluz, don't complain about being middle-aged! Just wait until you get to be MY age! Then you can complain, if you remember what your complaint actually was.

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  13. I LOVE Harry Potter. I started reading the series years ago when only the first two books were out, and the wait for each new book (and now, each movie) was ENDLESS. I absolutely can not wait until July. HP7 Part 2 is going to be epic!

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  14. I may not be a Steelers fan or a Potter fan, but I'm a BLUZ DUDE FAN!

    WOO!

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  15. I can only assume that Ravens fans thought they were crying towels and used them as such.

    Never read a Potter book or seen a movie. But I like Rachel Maddow, who looks a bit like Harry Potter...

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  16. Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
    With all that was going on there, you were worried about the freakin’ dog?? LOL…

    I’m sorry, “Precious” was the least of my worries.

    I remember seeing Lambs in the theater and during that scene at the end, with the night-vision glasses, I was on the edge of my seat, clawing at the arm-rests. She looked so terrified. I didn’t think it could possibly be “acting.” I was sure they filmed it in a pitch-black room.

    But as I was watching my new Blu-Ray of the movie this weekend, I learned that the room was actually bathed in light for that scene. (In fact, you can see an occasional shadow.) Her acting really was that good.

    DG,
    I hate all that conspiracy bullshit. I hear it all the time from the Ratbird fans. But in the last 3-4 games, the evidence is too overwhelming to be coincidence. There has to be something going on. It can’t be an accident that every hard hit by the Steelers gets penalized and fined, yet when they get clobbered in incidents for which the league has to apologize afterwards, there’s no call on the field. (That’s 4 apologies in 4 games, by my recollection. Two vs the Bengals, two vs the Ratties.) Both the forearm shiver and the hit on Heath were obvious, obvious fouls that took place right in front of the officials.

    Jessica,
    Yeah… that schnozz was shaped like an “S”. That’s one broken nose.

    Re: HP… You’ll love it! It was very well done.

    Judie,
    When I hit your age, I’ll just complain on principle. I can fill in the details later. And I’m going to tell people that I’m 10 years older, so they’ll fall all over themselves telling me how good I look for my age.

    Gina,
    I had the hardest time trying to decide if I should go ahead and read that last book, before the movie came out. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold out. I’m glad I didn’t have to do the ‘book wait.’ I bought all the books at once, and raced through them all, one after another. It was a veritable Harry Potter smorgasbord!

    Cassie,
    Sorry I didn’t have anything for you today. You know I love ya, Blog Sista!

    Bagger,
    I’m sure they were useful in that respect. They’ve been crying all week.

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  17. 'sall good, boy. I still read. Even if it's about football, I still read. That's freaking dedication.

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  18. Cassie,
    You are a wealth of goodness and loyalty!

    Doesn't that sound like a fortune cookie?

    Speaking of, I once got a fortune cookie that said, "Your greatest strength is your stupidity." I have it stuck up on my bulletin board at work.

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