"The Morning After "
By Steve Olenski
Oct 24th , 2005

Game 6 - Eagles vs SD

Hello boys and girls,

I must preface this week's TMA with the fact that yours truly was unable to view the entire game due to a certain redheaded young lady turning 6 years old.

The aforementioned redhead is my daughter, Samantha, and my wife, in her infinite wisdom, scheduled our daughter's kids' party from 3-5PM yesterday afternoon.

And wasn't I just the happiest SOB alive.

Seriously, it was one week. This is my daughter we're talking about. It's only a football game. Life's too short. And…

Have I covered myself yet?

Okay, good.

Now, whilst (is that really a word?) I did not see the entire game I did get to see the majority of the First Quarter and most of the Second.

Apparently some of the things I witnessed in the First Half stayed true through the Second Half.

  • Not many thrown in TO's direction. I didn't count one pass thrown to him in whole First Quarter.
  • Greg Lewis didn't exactly endear himself with his stellar play. A very ill-timed penalty and fumble in the First Half.
  • Penalties. The Eagles committed 10 penalties total for the entire game with 8 coming in the First Half alone. As Bobby DeNiro says to Ray Liotta in GoodFellas , “I can't have this.”
  • Play calling. What was Andy Reid thinking? Besides not dialing up #81 enough, in the First Half alone I saw a handful of the classic ‘we-need-8-yards-for-the-first-down-and-we'll-throw-a-4-yard-pass-instead-plays.' Didn't get much better in the Second Half from what I could gather.

Now, as for the Second Half…

My wife and family arrive at our destination at 3:00PM and the room for the party is not ready. Not a good start.

We eventually make our way to the location of the restaurant and begin the festivities. A few children arrive fairly close to 3:00, others come slightly later.

Pretty soon I'm up to my tight end in small kids all with enough energy between them to light up Cleveland.

At approximately 3:30PM Eastern Standard Time, a fellow Eagles-fan patron passes on the news that ‘we're losing 14-10.'

She was adorned in her best Eagle attire, I think wearing #62, a big Petey Perot fan I guess.

That lifeline dries up quickly as it becomes quickly apparent that she only knew the score after having come from her car.

Okay, Plan B.

I'll ask one of the employees of said establishment if they know the score. Surely someone in the back must have a Philco or something that they're listening to the game on, right?

Not so fast.

This was a “Fifties'-style” retro-diner where the party was being held so while they weren't able to tell me the score of the game being played at that particular moment, they were able to tell me what Steve Van Buren had 50 yards rushing and had scored a touchdown on this same day back in the 1951.

Okay, Plan C.

Call my father-in-law, Bill Chambers.

A football fan for sure.

Okay, dial up Bill on my cell.

“Bill, what's goin on in the game?”

Now before I tell you Bill's response, I mist first tell you that Bill Chambers comes from the Joe Olenski, Sr, school of fandom.

What does that mean?

Well consider this:

The year was 1979. Yours truly is all of thirteen years old. Arriving home from a hard day of Wiffleball , I find my father perched in his customary leather recliner, watching the Phils play the Cubs at Wrigley.

“Dad, what's the score?” (NOTE: this was way before the advent of the scoreboard on the TV screen.)

“They stink.”

“Dad, what's the score?”

“They're gonna lose, you just watch.”

“Dad, what's goin on?”

“Ah, they're winning, something like 13-2.”


“Yeah, but they're gonna lose, you just watch.”

“Why, what's goin on?”

“They just walked the first guy up, you watch they're gonna lose.”

“What inning is it, Dad?”

“Bottom of the ninth.”

“It's the ninth inning, they're up 13-2, they give up leadoff walk and they're gonna lose?”

“You just watch.”

Okay, so you know what it means to come from the Joe Olenski, Sr, school of fandom.

Bill's reply?

“The game? Ah, I think they're losing, They stink (there's that classic phrase again).”

“Well what's the score?”

“I don't know, I stopped watching. I'm downstairs doing laundry.”

Gee, that's great Bill. Make sure you use enough fabric softener.

Let's see now I'm up to what, Plan D is it?

Okay, my brother Joe.

He'll be home.

“Joe, what's going?”

Fortunately for me Joe Olenski, Jr. did not graduate from the Joe Olenski, Sr. school of fandom.

By now, I've amassed quite the following among the patrons and employees as I guess I was the only one with the means to communicate to the outside world, so they were huddled around me as I called my brother.

“Ah, the Chargers are about to attempt a field goal which would put them up by seven, 20-13…hold on, I'll tell you if he makes it.”

Now, the next sound I hear coming through the earpiece on my cell phone essentially broke the sound barrier.

All I could hear was screaming. So I had screaming coming in one ear from the kids and screaming in the other from my brother and his two sons, Jason and Nick, who were watching the game with their father.

My loyal following is watching every expression on my face as I contort and twist and squirm as I attempt to ascertain just what in the world just happened which caused my brother and his kids to erupt on the other end of the line.

Either the Eagles just did something positive or the pizza guy just showed up.

Of course we all know by now what happened.

But we were not done, oh no, far from it.

My immediate question after the dust settled was ‘how much time is left on the clock?'

There was in fact 2:25 left to go for the Chargers to try and get into position for a tying field goal.

I hung up the phone, much to the dismay of my flock, and sang Happy Birthday to my daughter. In fact we ALL sang Happy Birthday.

All told, I believe there were approximately 65 people singing to her, counting the employees and patrons who just happened to be in the neighborhood.

The Chargers, as those who actually saw the game, took the ensuing kickoff and were in great position to set up another field goal to try and tie the game but something happened on the way to overtime.

Fumble. Eagles recover. Game over.

The Bottom Line

The Eagles Defense came to play. Plain and simple. Holding LaDainain Tomlinson to 7 yards rushing is almost mind-boggling.

The Eagles Offense?

Well that is surely another story. To these eyes, it is apparent that #5 is hurting. But that does not account for the strange play-calling by Big Red.

The Eagles simply must be able to establish some semblance of a running game if they have any delusions of making it back to the Big Dance.

Time's yours. Food's mine.





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© Copyright 2005. Jules Pilla

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