Adam Reger | Freelance Writer

Pittsburgh-based fiction writer

Tag: Monday Night Football

59 Points

I am late to the scene, as usual, but this past Monday night my Philadelphia Eagles lambasted the Washington football club with the racist team name to the tune of 59-28. (Although Washington’s 28 is slightly misleading because the Eagles were up 35-0 before Washington did anything at all.) They set a bunch of team records, and their 45 first-half points were the most by a visiting team in one half in the history of the NFL.

Moreover, this was an intra-divisional match-up, a rivalry game, and it followed Washington’s 17-12 win over the Eagles on their home turf (which caused me to stop blogging about the Eagles, after this overconfident blog post prior to the game).

So you’ll understand when I say that watching this game was very, very sweet. Nick Paumgarten of The New Yorker wrote on the website about missing the first quarter of play, but this summed it up: “As an Eagles fan—as a fan of anything—you don’t get many moments of unadulterated bliss.” That’s what this was, from that first, 88-yard touchdown strike to the last touchdown, an interception returned forty yards for a touchdown by the rising star Dimitri Patterson (who also helped shut down Reggie Wayne and the Indianapolis Colts).

Interestingly, a moral or at least an emotional dimension of the game has emerged since the final gun sounded. During the broadcast, there were a few shots of pre-game scuffling between the teams, in particular Washington safety LaRon Landry jawing with Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. It’s since come out that Landry and cornerback DeAngelo Hall taunted Jackson, who missed a game three weeks ago with a concussion, by making “go to sleep” gestures. (As in, you know, we’re going to knock you out.) And Eagles center Mike McGlynn has accused Landry of spitting in his face during point-after attempts.

The spitting thing may be bogus, though the NFL is investigating, but I haven’t heard anyone dispute the “go to sleep” taunts. Various Eagles have as much as said that the pre-game taunting fired them up. It’s just piling on at this point to say that Washington deserved the drubbing in some sense, but it is an interesting case of bad behavior being punished directly on the field.

And it ties in interestingly, if maybe tangentially, to the whole Michael Vick storyline. I tend to think that what I’ve heard of commentators drawing in his dog fighting crimes, and the difficult ethics of rooting for a convict, are a bit of a stretch. My feeling is that he did his time, and that to continue to say “Yes, but . . .” sort of undermines the idea that we can be rehabilitated. (Although I suppose that, if the narrative being spun by sports commentators is that Vick is on a road of redemption, calling back to his misdeeds is perhaps fair enough.) But I mention this just to acknowledge it; you’d have to be pretty dense to talk about justice, and bad guys getting theirs, when the avenger himself has a pretty spotty past.

Recordings where people laugh

I’m listening to an episode of The Best Show on WFMU (which I slavered over here) from a couple of weeks ago. Jon Wurster is in the studio as Rick Spangler, “a record producer with a diverse resume.” Although usually unflappable, Wurster here cracks himself up repeatedly, playing it off as an effect of pollen and breath mints, and glossing over the covered-microphone silences as his having fallen out of his chair.

And I am loving it. It’s reminding me of this Elliott Smith cover, “All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down),” a Hank Williams, Jr., song, which is on the CD that comes with Autumn de Wilde’s Elliott Smith photo book. I think the CD is called “Live at Largo,” if a CD in the back of a book can have a proper title, but in any case that’s what the music is: recordings from a show at Largo in Los Angeles (which, just to make this post splinter off in as many directions as possible, here is a New Yorker piece describing the scene at Largo (though you have to have digital access to get at more than the abstract, so maybe save yourself the click if you don’t want your interest piqued and then rudely stifled)).

But anyway the reason I love the song is that Smith laughs repeatedly during the song and sounds, generally, happy. He totally blanks on part of the lyrics, which I’ve now discovered to be “corn bread and iced tea took the place / Of pills and ninety proof.”

Also, here’s Hank Williams, Jr. playing the original. Not surprisingly, I prefer the Elliott Smith version. Last weekend I picked up a cassette of Hank Williams, Jr.’s greatest hits at Salvation Army (minus any kind of cover or case, which made it all that much more thrilling) and by Tuesday I was pretty well done with it. Country music remains, like the films of Jerry Lewis, way better in theory than in my actual experience of them. It is a great song, though.

And another plus is that I now get the self-referential line Williams, Jr. throws into the Monday Night Football theme at the end, when he goes, “All my rowdy friends are here on Monday night.”