The Two-Minute Drill. The Conference Championships had me, and millions other NFL fans, glues to our screens on Sunday. I decided to watch the action with a few close friends. The gang at the Senior Center was raring to go. Luckily the games start early enough here on the West Coast (12:30 pm and 3:30 PM) for them to stay awake and alert. Something I hazard to guess is quite a challenge for anyone on the East Coast over the age of fifty-five.
So the stage was set.
Four teams would face off on a rather chilly Northern California Sunday afternoon.
Tom Brady and the Patriots were the favorite team of the over sixty crowd. The Green Bay Packers had the next largest group of stalwart fans. The New York Giants were represented by a few old timers who grew up in New York and the San Diego Chargers were supported by a small contingent of confused Southern California AARP members.
I did a little arm twisting and managed to get the seniors to buy into a football pool. I had to lay down the law and refused to accept their IOU’s or promises. Oh no, we would be dealing only in cold hard cash! After much grumbling and muttering about how they wouldn’t be able to play Bingo on Wednesday they were “all in”. The fact that the pool was worth a nice $100 in cash made even the most reluctant gambler think twice.
The early game between the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers wasn’t the game these folks wanted to see. They expected the Patriots to crush the Chargers and continue their undefeated season. But once the game began they settled in and they actually started showing some enthusiasm for the Chargers.
Everybody like the underdog and the Chargers were truly underdogs. Rivers was banged up, LT was taken out of the game, but yet, the Chargers hung in. They managed to get into the red zone but were never able to score a touchdown. On the other side the Patriots looked very “off” and had trouble against the Chargers defense. The only offense they had working later in the game was the running game. Tom Terrific Brady was also not his usual cool and casual self. He did have a great game, but the only thing that counts id the W.
Once the seniors realized that the Chargers couldn’t score a touchdown they knew the end was near. I started losing them as they shuffled off to the bathroom, to the snack table and a few of them decided to have a game of pinochle.
Hey, I shouted, stay with me, the next game will be better than this one!
If you’ve been around seniors when they are tired and grumpy you know that it is best to leave well enough alone. But, no, I was dead set on having them come back and join me as I watched the NY Giants play the Packers. The weather in Packer-land was frightful. The media was having trouble speaking as their teeth got stuck to their lips! Jimmy Johnson usually perfect coif was standing straight up as he tried to keep his ears warm with a head band. I actually think this was the most fun I’ve ever had watching announcers during a football game.
But on to the game.
The seniors didn’t have a lot of football gear but for this game, I brought along a few foam Cheesheads and some Statue of Liberty Hats for them to wear.
Nothing says football like paraphernalia. They looked at me with a smile and I thought they were mocking me!
Now the real fun begins!
The contest between Brett-Favrelous and Baby Manning most felt was a foregone conclusion. Brett the great old man of football vs. Eli Manning a young ‘un with a big name and no real playoff credentials.
The seniors had plenty to say about these two players.
Fred, “Manning doesn’t stand a chance. The Packers and Brett are going to bury them today”.
Sue disagreed, “I like Eli, I think he’s funny looking and should smile more but he is a Manning and that counts for something!”
Joe, “There is no way in hell that the NY Giants can beat the Packers at Lambeau Field when it’s minus one on the field. Those New Yorkers have no idea what cold weather really is”.
Dorothy, “I like the Giants because they went to Tampa Bay and beat them, then they went to Dallas and beat them. They seem to be playing really great football and their defense can keep them in the game.”
Well Dorothy was right.
The senior gang stayed glued to this game as the lead changed hands and each team came back to the frigid field and scored. Not one of the seniors left the room in the fourth quarter as the Packers tied it all up at 20-20, they applauded and cheered, “This is a great game!” Those wearing Cheesheads jumped up and down, kinda, those with the Statute if Liberty Hats did the same. Oh we were having fun now!
The G-Men stood tall and never gave up. Things looked pretty bleak for the traveling NY warriors after their kicker missed two field goals, one that would have won the game with .04 seconds left. But instead the game went into overtime, for only the second time in NFL playoff history. And what happened next was enough to get even the most sedate of my little senior gallery up and screaming at the TV.
The Packers won the toss, and we all groaned, that surely spelled the end of the G-Men. But no … wait, Brett Favrelous did what he has been known to do, he threw a bad ball and the Giants intercepted.
The place was alive with yelps and foot stomping, I was afraid I might have call the paramedics.
The Giants moved the ball (helped by Packer penalties) and then their unpredictable kicker was given another chance for redemption. With the ball at the 47-yard line half the gang put their hands over their eyes (so did I). And then the kick … was good.
There was dancing and high fiving and all kinds of hooting and hollering going on.
I have never had so much darn fun watching a game.
Charlie won the pool and said he was taking his $100 and getting on a bus to Reno.
I just don’t know if I can survive another Sunday with this group. Super Bowl Party anyone?
By Ivette Ricco