Wednesday Apple Pie

I had been waiting for this past Sunday's Cowboy/Steeler game for a good while. See, one of my good buddies (he was a groomsman for me) is Cowboy Matt, the epitome of Texas charm. He's got the good ole' boy guffaw, huge chin and intense hatred of the Steelers that every good Dallas fan is born with.

Watching the game with us at Blondies on 79th Street on the Upper West Side was another good buddy, John S. John S. went to Miami of Ohio (he reminded us constantly throughout the course of the evening) and loves the Ohio State Buckeyes as much if not more than his beloved Steelers. That's 2 - 1 in favor of the good guys. My buddy Alan, who is a neutral member of the group although born and raised near Houston, rounds out the foursome that converged to watch the magic and drink a lot of beer.

4:00 pm - I get to Blondies. John calls. He's on the way as is Matt. It's packed to the brim with Jets fans and one Seahawk fan. The Seahawks have fans? Where are all the Browns fans? Oh, they're stuck in the back room. I inform the hostess that our party is on its way and she informs me that as soon as the first games are over she can seat us.

4:05 pm - John arrives in full Steeler gear. He's got a parka, towel, t-shirt and cap. I've got the fake jersey, 2003 official Steeler cap and towel. Cowboy Matt comes in right behind John wearing the Cowboy jersey. He says, "Roy Williams is going to murder Big Ben." I state that Roy Williams actually plays for the Lions. He calls me an a-hole.

4:15 pm - The game is starting and we aren't sitting yet. John is not happy. He may seriously hurt someone.

4:20 pm - Kickoff and we just got seated. But, we've got trouble in River City. We're caught in no man's land. The big screen is all the way to our right and another screen is all the way to our left. The TVs in front of us have, in order, Bronco/Raider, Bronco/Raider, Astro/Cardinal. John wants to scream. Cowboy Matt lets us know that Testaverde is going to light up the Steeler secondary all day. I don't think John hears him as the ball is kicked....and here we go.

4:22 pm - The televisions in front of us will be changed, or so we're told. I see a 3rd down play, but I'm more worried about the TVs. 4:24 pm - Chad Scott intercepts the...on no he doesn't. Somehow the ball goes through his hands and the Cowboys convert on third down. Will they please change the channel?

4:25 pm - I ask Matt if Roy Williams is on the field. He's not happy.

4:26 pm - And Richie Anderson scores. Matt goes crazy. The televisions still haven't been changed. I think I've seen 3 plays so far. All third down conversions.

4:30 pm - Televisions are changed just in time for Big Ben to go deep to Plaxico. Burress one-hands the catch and Terrance Newman grabs him by the facemask on the way down. I ask Matt if Roy Williams was covering Burress. He's not happy.

4:45 pm - Big Ben ducks and runs out of the pocket and fires for a...touchdown! Touchdown Plaxico Burress. He beats Newman. I tell Matt that I still have yet to see evidence of a "Roy Williams" who plays for the Cowboys. He calls me an a-hole. This will be a running theme.

4:55 pm - We get our food. Waffle fries with cheese, honey bbq wings and beer. Well, no beer for me tonight, I'm trying to write a journal.

5:00 pm - Steelers have the ball back now and are driving again. I still have yet to see Roy Williams. Matt is threatening me with his beer mug. Alan has lost interest and is into the Astros game.

5:15 pm - The loud, obnoxious Cardinal fans in the corner scream something obscene at Roy Oswalt. John then proceeds to run down a list of why St. Louis sucks. Steelers are forced to settle for a field goal attempt of 51 yards. Just as the ball is snapped the waitress walks into my view and I miss the kick. But it's good. I therefore will no longer watch any Jeff Reed kick.

5:20 pm - John wants to order more food. I make a comment that Matt will be leaving at half time because the Cowboys will be getting blown out by then so we can have his food.

5:30 pm - Getting near the end of the half and Roy Williams makes his first appearance. Wait, no that's T. Williams. Who the hell is T. Williams? Matt is now ignoring me. John gets in on the act and says that Roy Williams is actually the coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels.

5:45 pm - Half time and the Steelers and Cowboys are tied. Well, if the Steelers had stopped Richie Anderson from converting a 3rd and 18 on the ground it'd be a different story. I get up for a urine break. One of my 8 during the game. It's not a condition, just my anxiety. I come back within 30 seconds and Matt says, "Were you backed up like the Hoover Dam?"

6:00 pm - Kickoff and Ike Taylor gets pounded. Play of the game, Antwaan Randle-El steals the ball back for the Steelers. Yes, that would be the PLAY of the game. The Cowboys get the ball there and it's a whole different ball game.

6:15 pm - Roy Williams makes his first appearance tackling Duce Staley on a short gain. Matt points him out to us, "THAT'S Roy Williams." John says, "Oh, did he just suit up now?"

6:30 pm - The Cowboys have taken the lead, but John and I are still cracking the Texas jokes. John says that Bill Parcells is the worst looking person he's ever seen in clothes. He says, "His pants are up to his nipples and then he just bulges out everywhere."

6:40 pm - Matt makes the statement, "Terry Glenn...MVP!" He's not joking folks.

6:42 pm - The Cowboys score another touchdown. Things aren't looking good, but John (who is hammered) still is asking for Parcells to wear a moo-moo or something to hide the imperfections. I say in a moment of clarity that LeBeau isn't blitzing anymore because it looks like he's afraid to leave the young-uns alone in man-to-man.

6:46 pm - It's a flea-flicker...no it's a sack...no it's a...15-yard gain to Jay Riemersma. That was just plain sick. Ben is so talented it is sickening.

6:55 pm - Touchdown...to a tight end? What is this world coming to?

7:10 pm - Matt is hammered and yucking it up with his Dad. The Steelers are out of time-outs. Exact words here folks, "Dad, do you think they'll run it or go for the first down? Yeah, they should just run it, knowing Vinny he'll fumble or something." 10 seconds later, Matt says to his Dad, "I can't believe we are going to lose this thing because of a stupid play like that."

7:13 pm - Bettis. Touchdown. Oh man, I thought that linebacker was going to catch him. I'm shaking. John has a dazed, stunned euphoria in his eyes. Alan hasn't taken his eyes off the Astros game. Matt is ready to break the table.

7:18 pm - Game over and the check comes. Matt throws some money on the table and graciously shakes our hands, but we still wait a good 5 minutes before leaving just to make sure he doesn't jump us outside. I'm totally exhausted. John is almost passed out he's so hammered and spent. A dream evening became a dream game in a possible dream season.


Apple Six-Pack Recap

1. New England 30 Seattle 20 – This week it was Bethel Johnson who saved the day for the Pats. I will say this, their 9 lives are running out and they will be beaten soon, but it won't happen until they visit Pittsburgh in two weeks. The Seahawks have a prime opportunity to show that last week's implosion was an aberration.

2. Philadelphia 30 Carolina 8 – Did anyone think the Panthers had a shot to win this game? Losing DeShaun Foster, Steve Smith and Kris Jenkins really is a blow that this team won't overcome. After some early pitch-n-catch T.O. was quiet for the second half, but with Delhomme throwing interceptions, who needed Mr. Sharpie?

3. Jacksonville 22 Kansas City 16 – I'm not jumping on this bandwagon. I'm sorry Mr. Prisco, but I don't believe this team is THAT good. I think their defense will take the Jags as far as they can, but we've seen that it's not a consistent defense at all.

4. Atlanta 21 San Diego 20 – Can I say that I don't care about either team and I could care less about who came out better in the trade? It hasn't proven to be a boon for the Chargers because they haven't made the playoffs since Tomlinson came aboard. At least the Falcons won a playoff game with a healthy Mike Vick. They'll make the playoffs again this year too, albeit by default.

5. Cleveland 34 Cincinnati 17 – Can we officially call this Bengals team overrated in every aspect of the game? Palmer? Overrated. Chad Johnson. Overrated. Rudi Johnson. Overrated. Marvin Lewis. Well, the jury is still out on him, but for the love of God why do coaches insist on starting rookie quarterbacks behind a team that has no concept of winning? At least Kitna would get a few more wins and get these players to believe in themselves.

6. Green Bay 38 Detroit 10 – I just don't get the Lions whatsoever. I also don't get the Packers. This team apparently can't win at home anymore, but sure comes to play on the road.


Power Core Power Rankings (Top 12)

  1. New England Patriots – Almost let the Seahawks come back, but don't find ways to lose games.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles – T.O. didn't score and the team still wins in double digits.
  3. Indianapolis Colts – The only real threat to the Patriots… well maybe the Jets too.
  4. Minnesota Vikings – Is there a reason why Dante Culpepper isn't getting any pressure?
  5. Denver BroncosQuentin Griffin is overrated.
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers – I'm moving them ahead of the Jets because I believe they are better.
  7. NY Jets – Game was much closer than it should have been.
  8. NY Giants – All of the sudden here come the Giants.
  9. St. Louis – The Rams are still the class of the NFC West...barely.
  10. Seattle – Two losses almost move them out of the top-10.
  11. Atlanta – I really don't know if they are that good, or if the NFC South is that bad.
  12. Jacksonville – Because Detroit doesn't know what they want to be, the Jags move into the top-12.

Apple Six-Pack

1. Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (By Rules GOTW) – You know sometimes when I look back on my picks for the GOTW I get that warm and fuzzy feeling and other times I just want to throw up. I tell you what though, I just can't ignore the battle of the unbeatens and stick with Cincinnati's first Monday Night game in over a decade. I just can't. Picking these games is hard work. So I'll call this the By Rules GOTW, but for the Real GOTW keep reading. Here's all you need to know about this game - The Bengals have real trouble scoring. The Broncos have one of the league's best defenses.

2. NY Jets at New England Patriots (REAL GOTW) – Here's the problem with this being the GOTW. I couldn't have the Patriots playing three of these in a row since next week the Steeler matchup is the GOTW. Oh me and my rules! Anyway, how good are the Jets? Real good? Ending-a-20-game-win-streak good? I don't know. I do know that if they ignore Curtis Martin for long stretches like they did the first half of last week's squeaker to the Niners, they won't win this game.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts – The Colts ended the Jaguars' 3-game winning streak and now they are out to end the Jags' hopes for winning the division. The Colts have had a week to rest and that means that Edge James should be ready to pound the Jags into submission.

4. Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Remember when T.O. called Jeff Garcia gay? He didn't mean "happy". I'm sure Garcia isn't "gay". In either definition of the word, Garcia isn't "gay". But regardless, the Eagles should win this one pretty easily. Do you ever get the feeling the Browns play off of emotion and not off of skill or concentration?

5. Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers Another must win game for both teams. If the Cowboys lose they'll basically be out of the wild-card hunt. If the Packers lose, ditto, but with the loss to the Giants the Packers need a ton of help.

6. Detroit Lions at NY Giants – Here is another intriguing game. Basically, if the Giants win they will have sewn up a wild-card berth because of having the tiebreaker over the Lions and Packers. The Lions on the other hand don't know if they want to fully take the leap or not. The Lions are 1 - 2 after starting 2 - 0.


Seeds Of Wisdom From the Girl Apple

Apple: So the Steelers lost their best overall defender to a knee injury.

Girl Apple: I'm sorry to hear that.

Apple: This isn't the first time either. I can't believe this is going to ruin the season.

Girl Apple: When did it happen last?

Apple: Umm...in 1995 we lost Rod Woodson for the whole season. He came back in the Super Bowl though.

Girl Apple: Pittsburgh went to the Super Bowl that year? Without its best defensive player?

Apple: Yeah they...wait a minute...I walked right into that didn't I?

Girl Apple: Yes you did. That was almost too easy.


Apple's Fantasy Football Results

TheDallasCowboysSuck 124 Sweatin Sopranos 140 Record (2 - 4): Next Week vs. I Pee on Steelers (1 – 5)
I would have won this game, but the Sopranos had Daunte Culpepper and his game accounted for over 1/3 of the team's points.

The Woodside Geminis vs. Chaos Theory (Night) Record (5 – 0)
2 weeks ago, the Geminis defeated The Mudsharks to sweep the season series 30 - 15. The Geminis face an original member of the league in the Chaos Theory, however the CT are 2 - 3 and reeling. I sense a win this week.

DCFB 70 vs. The Axis of Evil 79 Record (2 – 4): Next Week vs. Queenz Projectile Chunkz
Tory Holt's two-touchdown night against the Bucs ruins the DCFB's best shot at a two-game winning streak.


Bites

  • Can anyone stop Daunte Culpepper? It looks like there is no way that the Eagles won't be hosting the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game.
  • The Steelers are slowly becoming my dark horse for the Super Bowl. I could see them visiting the RCA Dome in Indianapolis and stealing a win in the AFC Championship Game.
  • The Steelers really have a tough schedule coming up with home games against New England (must-win for home field advantage) and Philly, but the two most important games may be at home against the Jets and on the road against Jacksonville. Both games will most likely be for wild-card tiebreakers and in the Jets case, possibly for home field advantage.

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