Sunday, January 09, 2005

Jets know their ABCs

Minutes before kickoff to what would prove to be a blueprint New York Jets football game, Unemployed sitcom writer friend Jann remarked of the pleasure he receives from watching sporting events on ABC.

He claimed their production skills as the best in network television. He worked on the set of “Spin City” a few years back, so I trust his judgment.

But, clearly, a Jets fan chloroformed the usual production assistant in the ABC truck at the end of regulation and took his spot for overtime. After the Jets won in regulation then didn’t (Eric Barton threw a haymaker into Drew Brees’ head, perhaps trying to knock that dirt patch off Brees’ face, perhaps not), San Diego predictably put itself in position to win in overtime.

Nate Kaeding set up a 40-yard field goal. I noted that he looked like he was raised in a trailer on a toxic waste dump site (think “those two guys that John Candy and Eugene Levy go to visit in “Armed and Dangerous”).

Here comes the superb production skills. ABC flashes a graphic that read Kaeding was the first rookie in NFL history to attempt an overtime field goal in the postseason. Only, they used Doug Brien’s headshot. If you pressing your luck at this point, you just got whammied. Restaurant friend Rob noticed the mistake. It was an impressive observation from a man who watched clutches moments in a Jets game as if he were coaching third base in the eighth inning of a tie game. Even more impressive considering he spent the overtime switching between a brand new Jonathan Vilma jersey and the old-school Santana Moss jersey depending on who had the ball.

I noticed the Doug Brien mistake a second after Rob. I was still struggling internally with the sweet and soggy pork from some Chinese restaurant we ordered from. (Note: I was skeptical when the delivery guy showed up basically right after we hung up the phone.)

Quickly, Rob and I verbally assaulted Unemployed sitcom writer friend about the screw-up.

“If ever there was an omen, that was it,” Rob screamed, in his Vilma jersey.

The toxic waste baby/Chargers kicker shanked it. HE SHANKED IT!

The Jets are still in it. After having won the game, then not, then having lost it, then not, the Jets had the ball.

This was the quintessential Jets game. The next time someone says, “I want to be a Jets fan,” show them a copy of this game and say, “This is what you are getting yourself into. Can you handle the truth?”

Here comes Chad onto the field. Curtis for 4 yards. Santana for 18. Curtis for 3. McCareins for 11. LaMont around the left side for 19. LaMont right for 3, then up the middle for 2. Field goal, Brien. Jets win!

Nope!

Marty Schottenheimer called a timeout, or at least the referees claimed he did. So, the Jets won again, but they didn’t. A celebration would have to wait until Brien kicked it again. He hit it, against all Jet odds. 20-17, Jets win. San Diego loses.

We flip to ESPNEWS to wait for some Herm quotes. They show the highlights of the game first, then right underneath, the ticker reads: “Chargers’ Marty Schottenheimer voted 2004 AP NFL Coach of the Year.” Such irony.

That, my friend, is some impressive television production.

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