I’m going to clean this up, eventually. Right now, I’m playing against the sacred liveblogging tradition of latest posts up top, but I hope to remedy that situation. [Update: LIES! I’m leaving this in chronological order, at least for right now. Because… I am. Shut up.] [Update, Part Deux: I missed something tremendous, and I couldn’t be sorrier. I’ve inserted a link at the appropriate timestamp.]
Force! Soul! They reportedly have it goin’ on on ESPN2! Graziani! Griesen! I’m “stoked”! Jump!
6:33 PM Mike and Mike haven’t totally irritated me yet. Though apparently, according to them, we should know the coaches. I have no idea.
Chris Jackson totally fucks up the rebound off the nets and falls to his ass at the 1.
NW Missouri State product Chris Griesen will go to work in the shadow of his own goal… AND THEY DROP AN ABSOLUTE BOMB on the first play. Jackson gets a roughly 1000 yard gain, and is reportedly pushed “out” at the 10. Apparently, if you get whacked into the boards, you’re out of bounds. That is a lame rule. You should have to get bodily thrown out of the field of play or go down.
Troy Bergeron WIDE open for the TD. And their celebration is delightful. The three wide receivers line up and take a bow, like they just got done with a performance of La Traviata. I’d discuss how much time Griesen had in the “pocket,” but I’d have to have a better grasp of plate tectonics and the formation of continents.
To whom it may concern: let the linebackers come around the offensive line.
One of the Mikes (the skinny, fey one) pats himself on the back for something he said at the top of the half. I swoon. (No, I don’t.)
6:37 There are no thirteen play drives in arena football. I don’t know if that’s true.
Skinny Fey Mike calls tony Graziani the prohibitive AFL MVP. Let’s see. He’s a leader, apparently.
Graziani short pass. I’m not impressed. Georgia would’ve scored by now. Lame.
6:39 Screen pass? Everyone on Philadelphia just decided they prefer the company of men, and enjoy knitting. This is followed immediately by a total disaster on the part of Philly. If Georgia hadn’t been pulled offsides, it would’ve been a 15-yard loss; as it was, Graziani almost bought himself an ACL tear with his hardcount. “GO ON THE BALL MOVEMENT,” shouts the Fat Ex-Player Mike.
6:41 Wes Ours is a monster. He’s listed at 300 pounds, and the two Mikes and I agree that he probably weighs 350. At least. Skinny Fey Mike says he’s two cheesesteaks shy of 350. That’s enjoyable. I mention this as a predicate to the fact that he just murdered everyone in his path to rumble into the end zone. If it wouldn’t give him a heart attack, I’d say to do that from the 15, and see how many people his huge ass drags along with him. 7-7, 9:35 remains in the 1st.
6:44 Kickoff goes into the stands.
Ooh! Extracurricular activity right up against the boards. No fan throws a punch, though the Mike’s are under the impression that somebody gave somebody else a little “how’s your father.” Which is creepy. Roughing the passer called against Philly. That could be crippling.
Not as crippling as the ensuing whiffed-up pitch play. If Griesen had chucked it as a shovel pass, it would’ve been stellar. Mostly because it’s a sloppy backyard play, and I love that sort of crap. However, his shitty pitch leads to a loss of 9, as everybody goes scrambling backwards after the live ball.
Offensive illegal formation penalty wipes out a great effort by the Georgia wide receiver to get in the end zone on 3rd and 11. Whoever it was used the wall to swim over the goal line, which was great.
Griesen heaves an absolute duck out of bounds on 3rd and 16, and some drunk yahoo in a hoodie gets it, and celebrates. The AFL – it’s all about the fans. As long as the fans are mustachioed drunks, hot chicks, or smarmy bastards like your editors.
6:51 On 4th and 15, and Bergeron just makes a sick catch in the back of the end zone. That was terrific positioning by Bergeron (who never played a down of college football, apparently?) to get the catch and not have it jarred loose by the back wall. You could really get excited about this kind of thing. 14-7 Georgia, 5:10 left in the 1st.
6:53 Onside kick? Really? Well, Philly recovers, so no damage done.
6:54 Graziani pulls Allen offside again, and he’d be cut, if this was a real league. Fat Ex-Player Mike admits to being pulled offsides by hard counts, too, and chastises himself. “Innnnteresting,” I say to myself, for no good reason.
JJ McKelvey jukes the CB out of his damn jockstrap and has the easy TD catch. 14-14,
And two dudes fake kiss in the stands for the camera. What is going on here? But the Mikes make a City of Brotherly Love joke, and I chuckle a little.
6:59 Kickoff clangs off of the crossbar. I’m going to digress to say that the clang of an object off of the foul pole, crossbar, or hockey goal post is the greatest sound on Earth. Ever. ANYway, it almost bounces right back into the hands of the Soul, which would’ve made me pee a little.
I’m also a little in love with D-II highlights (Griesen’s D-II career, if you’re curious). It feels like games that were played at my high school.
While I got distracted, Georgia completely failed to move the ball from the 1, leaving them with a 4th and 10. In lieu of kicking (YOU CAN’T PUNT! ISN’T THAT WEIRD?), Georgia goes for it, and the defense totally fails to stop them. The Mikes discuss how clutch this is, but it happens all the damn hell ass time. Nobody plays defense in this league. I’d have been excited if they’d broken it up, but this? They got a first down. Of course they did. Your motion WR gets a headstart, and there are two useless linebackers. Anyway, the first quarter ended on that play.
HEY! Jon Bon Jovi sighting! Great! Jaws, too! They aren’t sitting together, though they own the Soul together. If I were Jaws, I’d want to hang out with JBJ, and vice versa… Whatever, JBJ is totally rocking out to whatever is being played over the PA.
Skinny Fey Mike just got excited about the fact that the owner of the Georgia Force, Arthur Blank, went to his high school. I think Skinny Fey Mike and I are more alike than I’d like to admit. By that, I mean I give inordinate props to those persons I went to high school with (QB Zak Kustok or OL Jeff Roehl, anyone?), not that I went to high school with Arthur Blank. Who, incidentally, is in the sideline box with the team. That’s pretty strong.
Bergeron, again. I want to see Bergeron and Sippio fight to the death.
Bruce McClure grabs a really nice simple flip over the top. He’s a tight end, or something, so it’s really weird. Also, it was off of play-action, which seems goofy, because I’d imagine that play-action is less practiced than even running the ball… I’m not sure where I’m going with this. 21-14 Georgia, 13:23 remaining.
Commercial note: Magnus Vermagnussen sounds exactly like you’d hoped.
Wow. Nobody’s won anything in Philadelphia since 1985? And that was Villanova? Wouldn’t it be great if the Soul broke that streak? Philadelphia would have to get excited about Arena Football? That’d be worth it.
We’ve miked up JBJ! He quotes Tug McGraw, and is the mellowest sonofabitch on the planet. He also seems to know vaguely what he’s talking about, vis a vis football. On the first play, JBJ unhappily calls for the pass interference flag… and gets it. Excellent. The Mikes ask JBJ about the Soul getting booed instantly after giving up the first touchdown of the game, and JBJ makes the requisite joke about Philadelphia fans… shall we say… not having a ton of patience?
Meanwhile, back in cliche-land, “We take it one week at a time,” says JBJ. He also says that the Mikes need to take care in the parking lot after the game. JBJ’s Philadelphia apparently is a post-apocylyptic wasteland where roving brigands assault sportscasters and rockers.
The Mikes also get really excited about the fact that JBJ has action figures made of him, and then Fat Mike says that Skinny Mike’s action figure would have a dress. Skinny Mike knows not what to make of this.
7:15 FUMBLE! JBJ is PISSED in the owner’s box. Georgia gets the ball. This is big for Georgia, but you don’t need me to tell you this. 10:50 left in the half.
7:17 Another fan gets to take another ball home. It’s all about the fans; I can’t say that enough. Streak the field, fans. Do whatever the fuck you want, it’s the AFL.
7:18 An incomplete pass is wiped out by the fact that Mike Brown completely blows up Lee way after the play. Apparently, there was pass interference, also. That’s a little ticky-tack, but whatever. The personal foul is certainly warranted, and called by the same ref who threw the first flag, which means he has to throw his hat, because he’s out of flags. One could safely say that it’s getting a little chippy out there.
Skinny Mike sys he likes it when they throw their hats. He says this in the manner that one would say “I like ponies.” Were one a 12-year old girl.
7:19 Touchdown, Georgia. Eddie Moten gets beaten again. My expert analysis: he needs to suck less. 28-14, Georgia 9:06 remains in the half. By the way, that’s Griesen’s 4th TD today.
7:22 Kickoff returned across the 5.
The Mikes discuss free substitution. I think it’s pretty interesting, and I’d like to discuss it at length later.
7:24 Two immediate short-pass miscues, and the boobirds are out in Philadelphia.
Graziani draws the defense offsides again! Mike is astonished:
“Fool me once, shame on… wait. Fool me… whatever that saying is,”
“I knew you’d have trouble with that.”
My Wes Ours theory is totally proven incorrect. Ours is completely incapable of moving forward, and the defense can’t manage to bring him down. The refs blow the play dead to end this mockery of pro athleticism.
Tony Graziani dances in the pocket like a virtuoso, and fires an absolute rocket to Scott for the TD. We get a little Sean Scott highlight reel from HS (in Philly) and Millersville (some PA college). That’s enjoyable, but not as enjoyable as the discovery that Scott writes poetry.
Fat Ex-Player Mike suggests doing the rest of the broadcast in haiku, Skinny Fey Mike implies he doesn’t know what FE-P Mike’s talking about. I want to hear this haiku experiment in action.
Kickoff across the 15. “Gigantic, monster clip,” says Fat Mike. We’ll be starting this series from the 5. Failed pitch, up for grabs, Griesen has zero control in the huddle, and has to burn a time out. Skinny Fey Mike crows about the mikes (no relation) that the QBs are wearing, and I, again, have to agree with him. Hearing the huddle is pretty cool, if nearly totally unintelligible.
Geisen gets nailed into the back boards, gets off a pass anyway, but there’s a flag…
Holding in the end zone, but it’s not a safety! That’s bullshit! It’s set up at the 1. Holding in the end zone is a safety. I feel that extremely strongly. The AFL and I will not be friends again until something cool happens.
Well, that was fast. Bergeron shows everybody how it’s done. He just gets some sort of shovel-pass-esque flip, and it’s backyard football time. Nobody takes the correct pursuit and Bergeron – who needs to immediately go home and change his first name to Harrison – burns everyone for a 49-yard TD. That counts as another pass TD for Geisen. 35-21 Georgia, with 2:03 remaining in the 2nd.
7:35 Kickoff, a little shake and bake out to the –
WAIT. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Doug Plank played for the Bears, and Buddy Ryan named the 46 defense after Doug Plank’s jersey number. “He was like a coach on the field,” says Fat Mike. I’m totally down with Doug Plank right now. I’m easy like that. Thanks, Mikes.
Anyway, it’s the 1:00 warning, the Soul has the ball at the 14-ish.
Graziani has a ton of time in the pocket again, and I’m stealing this information from the Mikes, but it bears repeating. The new free substitution rules allow for specialized offenseive and defensive linemen. Philly took advantage of this, and they’re absolutely manhandling the Georgia D-line.
McKelvey gets a short pass, and there’s more yapping after the play. Somebody better throw a punch before this game’s over.
Complete disaster of a run play, and Tony runs over to the side bitching about the splits being too wide. This is actually sort of interesting to learn this stuff. It makes perfect sense – the D-line is just blowing through the offensive line to destroy run plays, and Tony just shouted down his offensive coordinator, who just nodded sadly. The best part is that there’s some fan sitting directly to the OC’s right, who’s looking totally glassy-eyed at what’s going on. He’s listening, but he’s comprehending absolutely nothing. I could watch that all day.
Dive play, touchdown, Soul. 35-28 Georgia, 3.1 seconds left. Good clock management, Philadelphia.
7:47 Kickoff goes into the stands, so the Force gets a play from the 5. This could be exciting.
But it won’t; they call a crappy sissy fullback run to run out the clock.. Lame. In other news, the halftime horn in Philly is totally the hockey horn. That’s great.
Alternately, I am neither impressed nor interested in the NBA Street commercials. In fact, they irritate me. They’re more annoying than the EA Sports Arena Football game commercial that Joe hates – the one with the Great Wall of China. It’s halftime, so I’m going to edit this monstrosity. 35-28 Georgia. See you in the second half.
8:02 The opening kickoff is returned to the something-something, but more interesting is that Mike Brown is just hurled to the ground at the end of the run. That can’t be legal, but apparently it is.
Graziani throws it away, and let’s just say that they aren’t going to be giving the guy in the first row a contract. Don’t throw it at Stonehands, Tony. Penalty, Georgia, 1st down, Philly.
ANOTHER flag, this time for illegal defense. Let ‘em play, ref. The Mikes are also astonished. Skinny Fey Mike attributes things to the noise in Philly.
Part of the EA AFL scouting report is “throws from different platforms.” What does that mean? Is this Super Mario World?
Jesus, Graziani pulls Allen offsides again. You’re a failure, Allen. A complete fucking failure. Graziani takes advantage of 5 free yards to throw a sissy swing pass.
Nice fade pass thrown by Graziani, but there’s another flag thrown. Pass Interference, defense, and not only did he push to get the ref to notice, but he grabbed the reciever’s arm and stole his wallet.
Fullback sweep to Wes Ours, touchdow… no! Wait! Fumble! He lost possession before he crossed the goal line, and Georgia recovers. Slop. Complete slop. At least we get the following gem from Skinny Fey Mike, going into commercial:
“Wes Ours giveth, but this time… he taketh away…”
Cue The Who song! Go titles! We’ve just started an episode of CSI:AFL!
Jaws (in the front row) and Bon Jovi (in his ivory tower) are displeased. That was a remarkable hit by somebody, and I wish I could praise him more. It was absolutely a textbook example of putting your hat on the ball. Could we please talk about defense? PLEASE?
8:11 Bergeron gets alligator arms. Bobby Sippio laughs in his volcano lair, secure in the knowledge that he remains The Shit. Sippio never gets alligator arms.
8:12 Chris Jackson makes the reception, eludes his CB nicely, and zips into the end zone. 42-28 Georgia; 8:46 remains in the 3rd.
Okay, The Mikes are still discussing fucking cheesesteaks. I like cheesesteaks as much as anyone, but you’ve mentioned it coming back from every other commercial.
8:15 Kickoff, Brown (right?) dances across the 20 yard line, and more pushing and shoving ensues.
Graziani spends the length of the War of the Roses in the pocket, and throws it directly at a Georgia defender, who spectacularly fails to make the interception. The next play features an excellent catch by the Philadelphia coach. Who, even in Arena Football, is ineligible.
Wow. Philly had their motion guy completely ignored, but couldn’t get the play off. Miscommunication to this degree, an MVP does not make, Mr. Graziani.
Ron Jaworski is on Quaaludes, I think. The Mikes say that he’s an emotional spectator, but they had the camera on him for 15 seconds, and he didn’t blink once.
Finally, Allen doesn’t bite on the hard count. Graziani throws a dart to Pauley who ducks the near-spear tackle by some Philly CB, and has words with the guy who finally does bring him down.
Delightfully, the man in motion is about 35 yards offsides, leading to the discussion of timing on that psycho motion rule by The Mikes.
Graziani scrambles, which, so you know, allows everyone and their brother to go after him. Fans can tackle him.
Interception, Georgia. Graziani just looked like me in the Bonehead Bowl, throwing off his back foot and ignoring the tall guy who’s just waiting to jump some long-ill-advised route. Philadelphia is firing on approximately zero cylinders.
The Philadelphia Soul cheerleaders have numbers on their… jerseys. Or whatever you’d call them. This needs further investigation.
8:25 Marcus Keyes out of Northern Alabama grabs a soft pass, comes down to the 2-ish, and the Mikes make fun of his weight.
Georgia brings in the “jumbo” package, and nobody has any idea of what to do. This is totally backyard slop football. “No, you stand there. No, next to him. Now you’re offsides. Okay, time out, let’s start again.”
Halfback (or whatever) dive, Georgia signals touchdown, Philadelphia signals fumble… and Georgia’s right. The extra point clangs off the… thing, and it’s 48-28 Georgia. 2:32 remains in the 3rd.
8:29 Perhaps some Bon Jovi over the PA will inspire the Soul; in fact, it will, as the kickoff is returned to the 20. Short field.
Tony Graziani just threw a prayer, as he was falling down sideways. I wish they’d show the replay, but they won’t. Nice first down, and again, there’s business after the whistle.
There we go – Fat Mike finally called the game “chippy.” I think I mentioned that earlier, Fat Mike.
The ref calls a “cheap shot” on the offense, Doesn’t it have to be a little more specific?
Once again, Graziani gets an hour and a half in the pocket, completes the pass, and gets roughed by Jermaine Smith. Georgia has now committed approximately 16,000 penalties. Their penalty yardage laid end to end would stretch from here to Arcturus.
Another fade to the corner of the end zone and ANOTHER pass interference penalty on Georgia. Gary tried to remove the reciever’s head from his body. That is not legal, per se.
Toss to Price, Price is in for the TD, Todd Frantz is, as they say, money. 48-35 at the end of the 3rd Quarter.
8:37 Too right, Mikes, the defense does have to step up and get a stop. Chris Jackson is dragged down (in a cowardly fashion) from behind. Chris Griesen will go to work, and we’ll see if they can score on their 75,000th straight possession.
Chris Jackson was Ryan Leaf’s primary receiver in college. I’m going to keep that in mind.
Skinny Fey Mike: “Flag down, what else is new?” In. Deed.
Well, that precedes an interception by Chris Harris, who takes the ball back to the 20, and then #6, whoever that is, takes. His. Helmet. Off. And celebrates. That’s bush league, and will bring Philly back to the 5.
JJ McKelvey almost pulled down a genius one-handed catch, and actually made me put my hands on top of my head, I was so excited. There’s a little bumping and whatnot while the ball was in the air: he wants the foul, Skinny Fey Mike wants the foul, Fat ex-player Mike disagrees, and they bicker like “special friends.”
Well, it doesn’t matter, because Graziani finds Pauley wide open for the touchdown with a little bit of taunting at the end. Cut to Jaws in the stands, and I think he’s going to vomit. Once again, the Philadelphia offensive line gives Graziani enough time to make a quiche in the pocket.
8:46 I have no idea what just happened – my phone rang, and it was my stage manager, so I had to take it. But it’s 3rd and 9 from the 5, the Mikes are gibbering about contact, and Greisen is down! Greisen is down!
Oh, my. Seeing it on the replay, that hit was monstrous. Even The Mikes involuntarily gasp as Griesen takes a mammoth hit directly to the noodle while falling forward. Nobody’s fault, really, but, thanks to the quarterbacks being wired, we get to hear Griesen’s brains get royally scrambled inside his helmet. It sounded like a gunshot. I think they dumped the sound of Griesen’s anguished cries.
James Macpherson out of Wake Forest is the backup for the Force, just so you know.
8:50 But it won’t matter, because Griesen stays in the game, zings it to Bergeron on 4th down, who again is wide open. He actually has the ball stripped, and fumbles it into the end zone, where he recovers, and apparently, that’s a touchdown. We learn that, on 4th down, the only person who can recover the ball on offense is the fumbler. That’s insane. It also is insane that Bergeron fumbles the ball off the wall, his feet, the ground, and the back wall before recovering. Anyway, Georgia clangs the extra point again, and it’s 54-42, Georgia with 8:38 remaining.
[This morning, I discovered I had missed Jon Bon Jovi’s reaction to this play, a fact which saddens me greatly. If I had noticed, I would have never shut up about it in this live-blog. We could use a good “Jon Bon Jovi’s middle finger” running gag.]
Fat Ex-Player Mike also lets us know that if we had been playing in New York, where there’s no back wall, the ball would’ve rolled out of the end zone for a touchback. I’m sorry, but that’s ludicrous.
8:55 But there’s more football being played now, so I don’t have time to think about how weird it is that there’s no unified design for end zones. Graziani, meanwhile, looks more rattled than Griesen, and Greisen’s skull is filled with delicious occipital lobe colada.
Skinny Fey Mike makes an excellent point when he brings up that graziani told them that their philosophy is that every play is a touchdown, and that he can’t figure out where that strategy went. I’m curious, too, Mike. Aaaaaand there’s another flag for a late hit on Georgia.
McKelvey can’t come down with the Graziani pass on the slant, and it’s a weak-ass drop setting up a third down. Philly fans aren’t hesitating to let him know that they are displeased.
Another 3rd down catch, another penalty flag. Pass interference, here’s another first down gift. It would’ve been 4th down from the 3, but now it’s 1st. You’re incompetent, Georgia. By the way, in reality, Georgia has 17 penalties called on them, and the record is 21. I can’t even fathom 21 penalties in an AFL game.
Price on the carry for the touchdown, and whoever’s doing the camera work just did a delightful little rack focus from the Philly bench celebrating to Jaws celebrating. Extra point is good, and it remains a game. 53-42, Georgia; 3:23 remains in the game.
9:04 Where’d all this glitter on the field come from? It’s really fucking up France. Somebody (a player, fortunately (I guess)) was just throwing up on the field. Nobody makes much mention of this, possibly because I’m sure it happens all the time in the NFL or college, but they’re outdoors, and not right on top of the vomit all the time. This’d be like someone puking in a basketball game. Yech. Does somebody come out to mop it up, or what? I’ve talked about this way too much already. The Mikes just mentioned the glitter, so I’d like it known that I mentioned it first. Kickoff returned to the 7.
Bergeron with a catch, and there’s another guy immediately with another catch. Philadelphia has to stiffen, here, or Jaws might show some more emotion. And it might be a bad kind of emotion. He might strike his female companion, or something. We’re approaching the 1:00 warning, so we’ll see if anything can really happen in the last minute in the AFL, as they are fond of saying. Whoever “they” are. 2nd and goal at the 2, and we made it to the 1:00 warning.
They have the unmitigated gall to have a “defensive play of the game”? Okay, in this case, the forced fumble is a good choice, but ADT is really throwing away their money on this sponsorship.
Quick run to the 1. Positive yards, the clock keeps running, with the <1:00 clock rules.
Oh, also, I was nearly right. Jaws was just gesturing, and nearly decapitated the woman with whom he’s sitting. That was great.
Another dive, about 1/3 yard of positive yardage, but that’s enough to keep the clock running. Philly’s out of timeouts, and they’re in beeeg trouble.
Georgia sets up for the FG to put them up 8 with less than 13 seconds left. Xavier Betia, he of Wide Everything at Florida State, is… good with the chip-shot FG. 57-49 Georgia, 11.2 seconds left in the game.
9:16 Holy crap, that was a 3:16 drive by Georgia. That’s a long-ass time in Arena Football. All right, kicking off, and you have me still interested with practically zero time remaining, Arena Football. Nicely done. Brown gets absolutely speared at the 4.
Quick throw, Jones gets out of bounds with 4.7 remaining. WHEE! We get the Hail Mary! Off the net, it’s a free ball! Let’s do this!
I’m so excited.
Damn. Somebody gets into Graziani’s face, and he underthrows it. It doesn’t make it to the net, and goes out of the back of the end zone. That was anticlimactic. But! Philadelphia falls from the ranks of the unbeatens, losing 57-59 to the Georgia Force. That was pretty exciting, all things considered.
To sum up, The Mikes didn’t irritate me as much as I expected, I kind of learned something, and it was a pretty exciting game. Griesen has some cojones, and Graziani needs to play slightly better if he wants to stay an MVP candidate, as was intimated by one of the Mikes earlier. The slop factor came in equal parts from the backyard-nonsense of some of the playcalling and excecution as from the incredible number of penalties thrown. In other news, I promise to get better at liveblogging. Goodnight! You’ve been an audience.