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The View from the Cheap Seats

October 22, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose

The NY Jets? …. “Listen to your father, kid.”

November 27, 1994;  Jets vs. Dolphins at the Meadowlands.  New York came into the cheap_seats_3_owummatchup looking to gain a tie with Miami atop the standings in the AFC East as well as the inside track to the division title.  With a possible playoff appearance on the table, Jet fans were keyed up from the tailgates in the parking lot through the pre-game introductions.  When the home team scored to stretch its lead to 24-6 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter, Giants Stadium sounded just like Shea used to during the days of the Sack Exchange.  All that stood between Gang Green and a return to glory was eighteen more minutes of dominating football and four extremely winnable games against inferior opponents over the last month of the season.  Sure, that’s all.

I had been fortunate enough to score four tickets to the game through the courtesy of a friend.  I’d given up my own season subscription seven years earlier because, quite frankly, I hated everything about the Meadowlands.  I hated the Turnpike, the tolls, the traffic, the parking lot, the turf, the wind and, most of all, the losing.  God, they always lost!  I’d go home with a headache every week and for what?  They always lost!   But now, with a fiery young coach and a battle for first place with the hated Dolphins as incentives, I decided to accept the tickets and take my three young boys, ages seven, five and four.  They’d all just started playing various levels of flyweight football and had been watching games with me all season.  Their excitement built throughout the week until they were beside themselves when the game finally kicked off.  By the time Boomer Esiason hit Johnny Mitchell in the end zone to put the Jets up by eighteen, all three were convinced that they were watching the greatest football team in the world.  If only they’d known.

Our seats were in the lower section; about the five yard line on the home side of the field.  We were, naturally, sitting amongst Jet fans but, as we were using someone else’s tickets, didn’t know any of them.  When Miami QB Dan Marino closed out the third quarter with a TD pass to Mark Ingram and a two point conversion to Irving Fryar,  I threw my head back and said to no one in particular, “We’re going to lose this game”.  My oldest, Terrence, couldn’t believe my pessimism. “Dad, you gotta be kidding.  We’re still up ten, Boomer’s having a great game and there’s only one quarter left.  There’s no way we lose.”  Before I could respond, the guy sitting behind us, obviously a seasoned Jet fan and, until that moment, a total stranger, leaned up in his seat, looked at my son and said, “Listen to your father, kid.”  And, as if it was the period on the end of his sentence, the game immediately turned ugly.

Esiason would fumble three times in that fourth quarter and throw two interceptions.fake spike 3 Marino would find Ingram for two more scores, the second in the final minute courtesy of the now infamous “Fake Spike” that gave the Dolphins the victory.  The Jets would go on to lose all of their remaining games, fire Pete Carroll and usher in the disastrous Rich Kotite era that produced a 3-29 record over two seasons.  “Listen to your father, kid.”

As a recovering Jetaholic, myself, I try to steer other Jet addicts away from the evil teases thrown at them by our favorite team because, as surely as Lucy will always pull that football away from Charlie Brown and watch him land on his ample head, the Jets will break your heart every time.  Vinny Testaverde’s set to lead Bill Parcells’ heavily favored Jets to the Super Bowl?  Not with a snapped Achilles, he won’t.  Jets on the verge of ousting Pittsburgh from the 2004 playoffs and advancing to the AFC title game?  Doug Brien misses, not one, but two game winning field goals.  Man-genius?  Beginner’s luck.  Brett Favre leads Jets to 8-3 record?  Favre goes color blind in 1-4 finish while Chad Pennington wins the division for the Dolphins.  Jet fans are so starved for even a small measure of success, they’ll jump at anything resembling hope.  And, just like Lucy, Gang Green pulls the football away every time and laughs as they land on their heads.  “Listen to your father, kid.”

So, here we are again.  Despite the low expectations accompanying a first-time Head Coach and a rookie quarterback, the Jetsies started the season with three straight wins; including one where they completely dominated the invincible Patriots and Tom Brady.  Certainly, this season would be different.  Rex Ryan’s brought a new attitude to the organization, the defense is the best in the league, there’s a relatively easy three game stretch coming up and the Hall of Fame in Canton is clearing space for the bust of Mark Sanchez.  There’s no way Lucy pulls the ball away this time.  Is there?  Well, right on cue,  Rex Ryan developed a severe case of “Herm Edwards Clockophobia” in Miami, the defense couldn’t stop a backup QB from Harvard last week and Mark Sanchez suddenly has more interceptions than endorsements.  Leave it to the Jets to make a 3-3 record seem miles worse than the 1-5 start many had predicted.  And the fans?  They’re laying on their heads in the Meadowlands parking lot because, stunningly, Lucy pulled the football away yet again. “Listen to your father, kid.”

I got an email after the Miami loss from Cheap Seater Lou Ricciardi, a Jetaholic attempting recovery but prone to lapses such as this one: “Now that they’ve sucked me in again this year”, he wrote, “I am not jumping off the bandwagon and saying, ‘same old Jets’, just yet.”  “If, however, they lose one of the next two games, then I will.”  If ?!  If ?!   Poor, Lou.  Landed on his head again.  But, if it’s any comfort to him, or fellow Cheap Seaters Brendan Grady, Jack O’Sullivan, Mike Walsh and any other Jetaholics that need assistance, there is hope.  No matter how many times the Jets convince you that this is finally the year,  no matter how many past warnings have gone unheeded and no matter how strong your instinct to jump back up on that bandwagon, there is a cure.  It will save you.  All you need to do, the next time thousands of Jetaholics start racing at Lucy to kick that football, is to take a step back, close your eyes and wait for the wisdom of that anonymous Jet fan who’d seen enough.  I promise, if it’s what you truly want, that you’ll hear his voice above the din of your television or the roar of the crowd and you’ll be safe.  Such simple advice; but it’ll save you a broken heart.  “Listen to your father, kid.”

Different Year, Same Story for USC Football

September 21, 2009 under College Football

By Eddie Mayrose


Pac Ten Football Turned Upside Down

Despite a 65-5 record over their last 70 games, the USC Trojans have all but taken huskies 2
themselves out of the BCS National Championship picture in each of the last four seasons with an early, in-conference stumble.  Over the last three seasons, California, UCLA and Oregon State have each proven too high a hurdle for the Men of Troy but, even with their track record, no one could have expected the Trojans to be upset by a Washington team that went 0-12 last year.  However, in what proved to be a perfect storm for the Huskies, injuries forced USC to go with a third string, freshman QB against their former Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian, Washington’s new head man.  His familiarity with his former charges proved fatal for USC as Sarkisian grabbed his first big win, 16-13… While USC garnered much of the pre-season hype in the PAC Ten, it was California that caught our attention.  Saturday, RB Jahvid Best ran for five touchdowns as the high scoring Golden Bears beat Minnesota 35-21 and held on to their #2 ranking.

South Florida Dealt Bad Break in Big East

Tough blow for South Florida, #24 in last week’s CSV rankings and our pick to win the Big East, as QB Matt Grothe went down for the year with a knee injury… Cincinnati, the most likely candidate to step into that void, went into Corvallis and dominated Oregon State to move up to #16… Pittsburgh is off to a 3-0 start and looks like a serious contender for the Big East title.

Charlie Weis Still Has Notre Dame Football Fans On Edge

Even when he wins, there’s no rest for Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis.  A narrow 33-30 victory against a less than impressive Michigan State squad; especially since it came gift wrapped by Spartans’ QB Kirk Cousins.  Despite engineering a late drive that put his team into position for at least a game tying FG, Cousins missed a wide open Nick Holt in the end zone before launching a dying quail that was picked off on the 5 yard line.   The Irish, led by QB Jimmy Claussen, have an offensive unit that can compete with anyone in the nation but their defense leaves a lot to be desired.

Big Weekend for Miami Football Faithful

Don’t look now, but “The U” appears to be back.  Miami dominated Georgia Tech, the CSV’s #15 team, on Thursday.  After an impressive win over Florida State, the ‘Canes appear headed back to the top of the league.. Speaking of the Seminoles, who saw that beating of #7 BYU coming?  Combine that victory with Virginia Tech knocking off #23 Nebraska and its easy to see why ACC Football fans are thinking big. It’s not all good news, however as it looks like a very long year ahead for the Maryland Terrapins, who lost at home to Middle Tennessee.

Florida Lets Tennessee Off With A Slap On The Wrist In the SEC

Could’ve been a lot worse for Lane Kiffin and his Tennessee Vols on their visit to The Swamp.  Despite Kiffin’s off-season promise to sing Rocky Top all night after beating Florida and his unfounded accusations toward head coach Urban Meyer regarding recruiting violations, the Gators surprised many by not running up the score in their 23-13 victory… Great start for the SEC as it heads into its conference schedule with four teams, (Florida, Alabama, LSU and Mississippi),  in the CSV top seven and two others, (Auburn and Kentucky), undefeated.

Big 12 Football Losing Luster

First Oklahoma loses to BYU, then Houston dominates Oklahoma State on its own field and, finally, Baylor takes a beating at home from an unimpressive UConn Huskies squad. Its starting to look more and more like  Texas Football fans will be making the trip to Kansas City for the conference title game.

Boise State Continues To Rise In BCS

Last week we mentioned the potential mess in the BCS Standings should more than one Non-BCS member be ranked in the Top Ten.  Well, BYU and Utah solved that problem by losing, leaving just Boise State and TCU as possible candidates. The Broncos won a shootout at Fresno State while TCU heads to Clemson this week.  A win in Death Valley and another over BYU would lead to a Mountain West Conference title and an almost certain BCS berth.  That is, as long as Boise isn’t ranked higher.

CollegeSportsView Top 25

1)  Florida
2)  California
3)  Texas
4)  Alabama
5)  LSU
6)  Boise State
7)  Mississippi
8)  Penn State
9)  USC
10)Ohio State
11)Virginia Tech
12)TCU
13)Oklahoma
14)Miami
15)Kansas
16)Cincinnati
17)BYU
18)Houston
19)Oklahoma State
20)Georgia
21)North Carolina
22)Michigan
23)Missouri
24)Florida State
25)South Florida

Five Teams to Watch

Pittsburgh
Auburn
UCLA
Nebraska
Iowa

Ahead of the Point Spread: Rife With Opinions

September 17, 2009 under College Football, Point Spread, Uncategorized

Have to say, our boy, Gil Lock, was Rife with some accurate opinions last week.  ryno rifeBowling Green led into the fourth quarter against Missouri before losing by seven; the final margin much closer to Lock’s line of 11 than the 19 you’d have had to lay in Vegas. Then, despite most of the world expecting a big USC victory, Ohio State was in command of their matchup until the final minute when USC found the end zone and escaped The Horseshoe with a narrow 18-15 win. A tough decision for the Buckeye faithful to handle but a pretty one for those like Lock that took the 6 1/2. The only blemish on the record was North Carolina, who registered a 12-10 win over UConn but failed to cover the 4 1/2 point margin.  Let’s see if Gil can grab that elusive three game sweep this week.

Toledo +20  1/2 over Ohio State- I’m letting my bias for the MAC Conference show, I know, but I’m really impressed by Toledo.  They crushed Colorado last week; mainly because their three receivers are lightning quick.  I don’t think the Buckeye corners are fast enough to shut them down and Big Ten teams historically struggle against the spread offense.  It’s also probable that Ohio State will suffer a bit of a letdown after last week’s heartbreaker vs. USC.  They’ll win, but not by three TD’s.

Baylor -10  1/2 over Connecticut- If it isn’t already obvious, I don’t think much of UConn.  They did little to change that opinion last week when they only managed what amounted to a defensive TD vs. North Carolina.  Baylor is a solid team flying under the radar in a conference loaded with Top 25 teams.  I’m counting on the fact that the line is off because no one knows them.  In another conference, Baylor QB Robert Griffin would be First Team.  Go with the Bears.

Army -7  1/2 over Ball State- Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.  I don’t know much about Ball State and even less about Army but I don’t think the Black Knights of the Hudson have been favored by that much over anyone since my Grandpa Rife wore his coonskin coat to West Point to see Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis.

Season Record 3-3


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