The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘New York Giants’

Good riddance to Super Bowl LI

Posted by keithosaunders on February 6, 2017

Stick a fork in the football season. This was the worst football post season I can ever remember. The Giants laid an egg, the Raiders lost their QB to injury, and every game was lopsided. The Super Bowl was a piece of garbage. Why do they even let any team from Atlanta in that game? You would think, with a 28-3 lead the Falcons would at least run some clock. Would that have been asking too much?!

How fitting, in this era of Trump, that cheaters such as Brady and Belichick are rewarded with accolades and Super Bowl victories. They lucked into it this year by playing the ultimate chump team, and they lucked into it two years ago when Seattle, for some fix-is-in reason, neglected to hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch FROM THE HALF YARD LINE.

I hate all sports.

 

Image result for super bowl LI

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Dr Seinfeld

Posted by keithosaunders on February 12, 2016

NY

This morning I read a post over at Verdon’s blog which reminded me of a story that my Dad used to tell my brother and I  — this was one of his classics and we always loved when he would retell it.

When my father was a teenager and young man living in Forest Hills, Queens, his family had this dentist named Matty Seinfeld whose office was on the ground floor of the building they lived.  Dr Seinfeld, no relation to Jerry,  was a yuge (in the spirit of Trump) NY Giants fan, while my Dad was a died in the wool Brooklyn Dodgers fan.

Dr Seinfeld would have my Dad’s mouth full of instruments while maintaining a running commentary on the greatness of the Giants.  My Dad would have us in hysterics as he imitated Seinfled using this nasally, high-pitched, whiny voice:  “Goahdon, Tauhmson, Mize, wow what powah!”   All this while my Dad was splayed nervously in the chair praying that Dr Seinfeld wouldn’t remember that he was a Dodgers fan and ‘accidentally’ slip.

 

 

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1958

Posted by keithosaunders on January 14, 2016

In the meantime I’ve read a great book – The Glory Game –  by former NY Giants running back, Frank Gifford about the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Giants and the Colts.  This was the game that is considered to have put the NFL on the map on its way to sports supremacy.

Now talk about salaries:  Most of these players were earning less than $10,000 a year – well less.  Many of the players couldn’t afford their own apartments, doubling up in dorm like rooms in a Bronx Hotel a few blocks up from Yankee Stadium where they played their home games.

They played 12 game seasons. The league was divided into two conferences consisting of six teams.  There were no playoffs!  In 1958 the Giants finished in a tie with the Cleveland Browns so they, in fact, did have to play a playoff game which they won on a last second field goal by Pat Summerall.  (yes, that Pat Summerall)

My father, who recently passed away, went to the Championship game with my Uncle Herb. It was played on December 28th at Yankee Stadium.  They didn’t have tickets — they decided on the spur of the moment to go.  Imagine a world in which you can take a subway to a stadium where a championship game is being played, walk up to the box office, and buy a ticket.  That’s what they did.  They probably paid $5.00.  (incidentally, my best friend, who lives in the Bronx, tells of doing the same thing for the 1976 World Series between the Yankees and Reds)

The Giants started off shaky with sloppy offense and porous defense.  Gifford, never known as a good ball handler, fumbled twice and as a result the Giants found themselves down 14-3 at the half.  In the second half the Giants turned it around and took the lead 17-14.  A late Giant drive stalled out at their own 40 and with 4th and inches and 2:30 to go in the game coach Jim Lee Howell elected to punt. A first down would have put effectively put the game away for the Giants.

After a punt the Colts took over on their own 14 and that’s all Unitas needed.  He proceeded to engineer one of the great drives in NFL history, picking apart the tired New York defense.  The drive ended in a 20 yard field goal as the clock expired in regulation forcing the very first overtime game in NFL history.  No NFL game to that point had ever gone overtime.    Don’t forget, up until the 1980s if a regular season game ended in a tie it was over.  There was no sudden death overtime — there were ties.  So when the clock ran out the players didn’t know what they were supposed to do!

The Giants won the coin toss and elected to receive.  Don Maynard, who would later go on to win a Superbowl with the Jets, muffed the kickoff return but recovered his own fumble.  Regardless, the Giants went 3 and out and punted.  The Colts took over on their own 20 and once again Unitas put together an epic drive culminating in a Alan Ameche touchdown.

Some people consider this the greatest game ever played.  All I know is that my Dad was there and that I have the program to prove it.

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Oh it’s on!

Posted by keithosaunders on January 22, 2012

Here is a last-minute NFC championship game post.  The New York Giant Bay Area outpost is open for business in Albany, California, consisting entirely of my family.  I don’t dare venture out into the streets until after the Giants have destroyed the 49ers, reaping revenge for the last time these two teams met in the post season in 2002; a wild-card game in which the Giants blew a 24 point lead only to lose 39-38.

Have I mentioned that these west coasters are out of their minds?!  They were already printing their Super Bowl tickets even before they beat the Saints.  Then last Saturday’s mass jubilation after their improbably victory — carrying on like it was the final scene from Hoosiers.  (my world war two metaphor was better, I know.  Sue me!)

The sports radio guys, as usual, were out of control, going on about east coast bias, and the ghosts of Candlestick Park.  

First of all…east coast bias?!  The last time I looked it’s the same no-neck guys who play on both coasts.  Also, as my friend and co-blogging blogger, Jeff Mazzei pointed out, the western teams, with the exception of this year’s 49ers squad, basically suck.

And…the ghosts of Candlestick?!  What ghosts?  John Brodie?!  All those guys from the ’80s are still alive!   Is it possible that Joe Montana has a ghost that we don’t know about?  That guy truly is amazing.

Go Giants!

 

Is it the real Joe Montana, or his ghost?

 

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Of the Saints, 49ers, and Joe Carter.

Posted by keithosaunders on January 16, 2012

It’s been a great playoff season.  Who could have predicted that when the smoke cleared there would be two coaches named Harbaugh in the Championship game, as well as a Giants team who on December 4th had lost four in a row, and at 6-6 looked like an afterthought.  The Patriots success could have been predicted, but on the other hand, they have one of the more porous defenses in NFL history to have advanced this deep into the playoffs.

On Saturday I settled into my living room to watch the 49ers/Saints game.  Living in the Bay Area and being a sports talk-radio devotee, I had spent the previous week being hyped into a frenzy, and by midday Saturday I was frothing at the mouth awaiting the game.

The radio hosts and the callers had confounded me with their near unanimous confidence in the 49ers ability to take down the scoring machine that is the Saints offense.  To me it seemed like homer-ism run amok.  Their team has a mediocre quarterback and had played a soft schedule.

In New York, even when the Giants have great teams, this kind of blanket cockiness never exists.  There is always a healthy dose of skepticism and people more or less expect the worst to happen.

I have a theory about this.  New York has largest Jewish population of any metropolitan area in the world.  Nobody knows suffering like the Jews do, and the feeling of facing insurmountable hardships seeps into the collective psyche of the city.  Every gentile in New York knows a little Yiddish.

The Hebraically challenged Bay Area does not know from such suffering, ergo they are blithely spared such bouts of negative thinking.  They can’t imagine anything bad happening.

Contrarian that I am, I was quietly savoring watching the ‘Friscans being served a generous helping of humble pie.  The game began and you could see immediately that the 49ers defense was all that it was advertised.  Still the Saints defense held their own, shutting down the Niners offense for most of the second and third quarter.

By the fourth quarter two things were painfully apparent:  First, it was going to be a great ending, and second, because of my Saturday night gig, I would have to leave sometime during the fourth quarter.

I left with the 49ers ahead with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  By the time I had reached the Bay Bridge the Saints had taken their first lead of the game.  Midway across the bridge the 49ers grabbed the lead back with a brilliant Harbaugh call of an Alex Smith bootleg.

By now I was beginning to do the slow burn, grinding my teeth and muttering the name, Joe Carter under my breath.  (In 1993 I missed the one of the greatest World Series ending of all time — a Joe Carter walk-off home run)

I was over the bridge and driving south on Folsom when the Saints retook the lead on a 66 yard Drew Brees pass to tight end, Jimmy Graham.

“Shit!”

By now I was desperately searching for a bar where I could pull over and watch the final minute and a half of the game.  The sports gods rewarded me with a bar and a parking spot, and I ran in to see the winning 49er drive.  At least I can say I saw the end of what will surely be remembered as one of the greatest playoff games of all time.

I was unprepared for what would happen next.  It was more of a delayed reaction, really, as if the city was on seven second delay.  It was as if the city took a collective deep breath and held it for five minutes.

Then bedlam.  People began streaming out of bars shouting with delight, cars were honking and drunk girls were screaming like banshees.  This went on for two hours.  It was like V-J day.  I realize it was a game for the ages, but come on,  San Francisco, act like you’ve been there before.  It’s not even the championship game!

The thing is, they have been there — THEY’VE WON FIVE SUPER BOWLS!

Now the 49ers will face my team, the Giants.  I have no doubt that every Bay Area resident is rubbing his or her palms together in glee, thinking, “Oh baby, it’s in the bag!”  But unless I miss my guess, I think they’re in for a rude awakening come Sunday.  Talmud, after all, is a dish best served cold.

 

 

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It’s a dog’s world

Posted by keithosaunders on November 12, 2011

Who would have thought when the season began, that Giants/49ers would end up being a marquee matchup.  That’s the great thing about football — you’ve got the week-long buildup to the event, and the deeper into the season you get, the bigger and better the hype.

I’m a sucker for sports hype, and I love listening to the radio guys talk about Sunday’s game.  The San Francisco sports talk radio hosts are  a surprisingly good listen.  They’re not nearly as vitriolic as the New York hosts, and they have a light-hearted way of infusing humor into the broadcast.  In New York, between the caustic hosts and the hysterical callers, you feel like you’re listening to Wagnerian opera.  Don’t get me wrong, I listened to those New York guys religiously, but sometimes the banter would become too heavy-handed and drone-like. 

On the other hand, it’s funny what upsets the west coast guys.  Early in the week, by way of stirring the pot up for this Sunday’s game, one of the hosts was recalling the end of the 1989 football season.  The Giants needed the 49ers to win in order for them to make the playoffs.  The 49ers, who had already clinched, rested most of their star players and ended up losing, thus ending the Giants season.  Phil Simms, the Giants quarterback, told the press that “the 49ers laid down like dogs!”

Really?  That’s all you got, Frisco media?   

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Super Bowl memories: The return of the Jedi

Posted by keithosaunders on February 6, 2011

This has turned into a much bigger project than I had originally envisioned.  I felt the subject needed a little gravitas so naturally I went with Jedi.  I bet Lukie Skywalker doesn’t remember where he was for every Super Bowl. 

Super Bowl XXXIV — Atlanta

Rams vs Titans

The beginning of the aughties saw my Super Bowl viewing locale stabilize towards the greatest Borough in the world: The Bronx.  I would arrive at Jeff’s house about a half hour before game time ready for the pageantry that is the Super Bowl.  In keeping with the tradition begun over a decade earlier, the Super Bowl meal was always, and will always be, deli.  Let other people have wings, burgers, or whatever they want.  They’re peasants!  Real men eat kasha on Super Sunday. 

This was one of the great Super Bowls.  With three seconds remaining the Titans were at the Rams 10 yard line threatening to score the winning touchdown.  Quarterback Steve McNair passed to Kevin Dysan who caught the ball at the three yard line but was stopped at the one as the game clock elapsed.  

Super Bowl XXXV — Tampa

Ravens vs Giants

Nothing much to say here other than the Giants laid a huge egg in their return to Tampa.  I watched the game at my LIC apartment.  Perhaps the game was so traumatic that it wiped every detail of that day from my mind.  Moving on…

Super Bowl XXXVI — New Orleans

Patriots vs Rams

Back in the Bronx with Jeff and deli for the dawn of Patriots; unfortunately an era that persists to this day.  This was a great back and forth contest with the Patriot’s Adam Vinatieri kicking the deciding field goal as time expired.

Super Bowl XXXVII — San Diego

Buccaneers vs Raiders

It’s hard to believe there was a time in the not so distant past when the Raiders were good.  (and that the Buccanners have a Super Bowl victory) The Bucs coach, John Gruden, had previously coached the Raiders for three years.  Somehow the Raiders, even though their former coach was coaching against them, never bothered to change their playbook!  The result?  48-21 Bucs.

Super Bowl XXXVIII — Houston

Patriots vs Panthers

Keith:  What’s that?!

Jeff:  What?

Keith:  I think I just saw a nipple

Jeff:  What the hell are you talking about?!

Keith:  I’m not sure.  It happened so fast, but I think I just saw Janet Jackson’s nipple!

I was half-heartedly watching the halftime show.  Jeff was in the other room talking on the phone.  It was my dumb luck to witness the greatest split second of television history.  The beauty of it was that it could only be done once.  Shortly after the unveiling,  league rules were put in place insuring that every televised game would use a seven second delay.

 It was another great game and another great session of pageantry and deli at Jeff’s.  The game was tied late and we were in a frenzy looking forward to the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.  It was not to be, however, as an out-of-bounds Carolina kick off gave the Patriots great field position enabling Vinatieri to kick yet another game winning field goal.  32-29 Pats.

Super Bowl XXXIX — Jackoonville

Patriots vs Eagles

Jeff’s house. Deli.  Patriots.

Super Bowl XL — Detroit

Steelers vs Seahawks

Really, Seahawks?  Your one shot at a Super Bowl and this is what you give us:  Penalties, dropped passes, and poor clock management.  I’ll leave it to the readers to guess where I was and what I ate.

Super Bowl XLI– Miami

Colts vs Bears

My sixth straight year viewing the game in the Bronx saw Peyton Manning win the big prize.  Not much to say but Daaaaaaaa Bears! (lost)

Super Bowl XLII — Glendale, Arizona

Giants vs Patriots

I guess I picked the right year to throw my only Super Bowl party.  The Giants shocked the world and that blowhard Belicik went down along with Brady. (multiple times)  In attendance were my family, Jeff, drummer Taro Okamoto, and friends Thomas, Janet, and Ernie.  Afterwards I drove to Small’s jazz club in the Village and everyone was outside in a great mood, happy, yelling, honking horns.  No rioting, though.  People think that New York is a dangerous town but we never riot when our teams win.  So suck on that, Chicago!

Super Bowl XLIII — Tampa

Steelers vs Cardinals

Back at Jeff’s for this exciting matchup in which the Cardinals fell just short. This was yet another game that had overtime written all over it.  Late in the game the Cardinals had a three-point lead.  The Steelers had the ball and we figured they would play for a tieing field goal.  Wrong.  With 35 seconds left Roethlisberger through a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes.  27-23 Steelers.

Super Bowl XXIV — Miami

Saints vs Colts

The Saints had the temerity to start the second half off with an onside kick.  They were successful but Jeff and I got a DSP.  (didn’t see play)  The Saints pulled away but the novelty of seeing New Orleans win the championship made up for the one-sided second half.

——————————————————————–

This wraps up Keitho’s first ever Super Bowl memory recap.  Who knows what memories tomorrow’s game will bring?  I’ll be back in another 30 years to review the next batch.

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Aloha

Posted by keithosaunders on December 24, 2010

I’m in Hawaii for Christmas.  Wasn’t there an Elvis song, Blue Hawaii?  Well that’s me this year; just me and The King.  I’m not going to waste your time describing what it’s like — you know the drill — tropical climate, the Leis, the Hulas, the Luaus, the one-armed, double-jointed stewardess.  Wait, did I go one too many?

A few points of interest are worth noting and then we’ll forget this ever happened.  After arriving at Kona Airport my sons and I drove one of the rental cars while my wife, ex-neighbor, and daughter took the other one.  Naturally, being guys, the  first thing we did was to check out the local radio stations.   First station,  reggae; second station, reggae; third station, smooth jazz; fourth station, reggae.  We even heard Christmas reggae music. 

“We wish you a reggae Christmas and a reggae New Year!” 

It’s a little too much, if you ask me.  There’s no jazz here, only of the smooth variety, and that’s not jazz, but Muzak to my ears. 

I don’t know how real sports fans live here.  Besides the fact that there are no pro local teams, with the earlier time zone the basketball and hockey games all begin at 2PM and are over with with by 9PM.  What do you do after that…listen to reggae? 

There is one perc, however.  This Sunday the Giants play a huge game in Green Bay against the Packers.  The game begins at 8AM Hawaiian time.  The way things are playing out I’ll be able to watch the entire game without disrupting my families’ plans.  I am da winnah.

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Sunday in the NFL featuring the Giants, Eagles, and 49ers.

Posted by keithosaunders on December 21, 2010

I actually have ties to all three of these teams.  I was born in Wilkes Barre, PA, about 100 miles north of Philadelphia, and had I grown up there I almost certainly would have been an Eagles fan.  I lived in New York City for 26 years and, like my father before me, I am an ardent Giants fan.  As of last August I became a resident of the Bay Area, and although I live in Berkeley, CA, which puts me in the middle of Raider country, the 49ers are considered a local team and we are subjected to, I mean, uh, presented with all of their games on television. 

The Giants suffered one of their all-time worst regular season losses, blowing a 21 point 4th quarter lead at home against the Eagles.  It was a game that featured over 100 yards rushing from quarterback Michael Vick, a successful Eagles onside kick, and a 65 yard game-winning punt return from Desean Jackson. 

The Giant punter, Matt Dodge, made a huge mistake by punting the ball directly to Jackson, who initially bobbled it, picked it up, and slashed his way through the Giants punt coverage like a rocket as the game clock expired.  I submit to you, however, that the real culprit is Giants coach Tom Coughlin.  On the Giant’s previous possession Eli Manning had thrown an incomplete pass on third down stopping the clock and setting up the punt.  The Eagles had no timeouts remaining and no way of stopping the clock.  The Giants should have run it on 3rd and even if they didn’t make the first down they could still have let the game clock wind down another 45 seconds before running a 4th down play.  That would have at least assured an overtime.  

This brings us to the 49ers, who in a bizarre twist of events are alive for a playoff spot while sporting a 5-9 record.  If the 49ers win their final two games and Seattle loses one of their final two games they will go into the playoffs as the leagues first sub .500 team.  Right now they are ranked 28th out of 32 teams in the Sagarin ratings yet they would go into the playoffs as the 4th seeded team.  Heck, they would even host a game on wild card weekend.

You’re probably thinking that this next paragraph is going to be about the injustice of the current playoff system and how there has to be changes made during the offseason.  No!  The NFL has gone 90 years without a team with a losing record being in the playoffs.  The chances of this happening on a regular basis are so remote as to be laughable.

I say we embrace the anomaly.  It’s quirky and will make for some intrigue.  So what if a Green Bay, Tampa Bay, or yes, even the Giants are shut out of the playoffs.  They all had their chances.  The Giants, of all teams, have no right to cry.  JUST PROTECT A 3 TOUCHDOWN LEAD!

Desean Jackson

Frank Gore

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And now for some Thanksgiving weekend taping foibles

Posted by keithosaunders on November 29, 2010

My friend, Jeff Mazzei, and I have spent many a fine afternoon recounting taping foibles; that is failed attempts at setting the VCR timer.  Yes, you read correctly, VCR.  I’m old school, baby!  Some of these anecdotes were recounted here.  As a kind of coda to the Thanksgiving weekend I present to you two more taping foibles of a most recent vintage.

Today I awoke to the good news that my New York Giants were getting some Bay Area television play.  This was a by-product of the hapless Raider’s inability to sell out their stadium.  The Raiders had a late game against Miami.  If that game had sold out it would have been televised in this market, thereby necessitating an early FOX game.  (the Giants were at home vs the AFC Jacksonville Jaguars which put them on CBS)  Instead we were treated to an early CBS game, the Giants, and a late FOX game, the Eagles vs da Bears.

I had an early brunch gig in San Francisco so I quickly sprung into action, setting my DVR (yes, I have moved into the 21st century) to record the Giants.  I checked and double checked and everything seemed to be in order.  I went to the gig without a worry in the world.

I arrived at the gig to find that there was a TV in the bar showing the Giants game.  No worries.  We were playing in a different part of the restaurant and the other musicians didn’t seem to sports fans.  Wrong.  The trumpet player arrived and quickly announced that he was the first cousin of David Girard, the Jaguar quarterback.

What are the odds?  You tape a game and end up playing a gig with the cousin of the quarterback of one of the teams you are taping!  Needless to say the trumpet player kept going into the bar to check on the score and he was not shy about letting us know that the Jaguars were kicking butt.  (they had an early 17-9 lead) 

By the first break I had abandoned all hope of avoiding the score so I happily joined the trumpet player in the bar for some third quarter action.  The Jags had the ball and were driving when the Giants D came up big for a stop.  A punt pinned the Giants at their own 10 and I boldly announced that they would drive 90 yards for the tying touchdown and two point conversion.  And they did.  We had to go back to work and by the time we finished the Giants had a 24-20 comeback win.  I wish I could have seen the entire game but at least I had a brush with greatness. 

Now for the rarest of rarities:  A taping non-foible!  Here it is in Jeff Mazzei’s own words.

Here’s my taping tale.  I opted to not tape any of the Thanksgiving games on the assumption that I’d hear or see the scores anyway, and I was getting back Sunday for the live games.  [Jeff was on vacation in Cape May, NJ]  I wound up seeing the 2nd half of the Dallas game which was real good.  I decided I’d just try to find the Jet highlights or read about it in Friday’s paper.  To this moment in time (Sunday), I have not been able to find out a thing about that game.  The taping gods mock me.

 This is the bitter irony that befalls the taper.  When you try to avoid the score you end up playing a gig with the quarterbacks’ cousin , but when you really want a score it is nowhere to be found.  Good day.

Posted in football, jazz | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »