It’s Monday Night! The Philadelphia Soul Returneth

21 05 2007

Sooooo… We met at The Fizzle Estate to watch the Soul vs. the VooDoo, but decided to make an effort to get/remain/be fit (…ladies…) first, so we completely missed the first quarter.

And then spent ten minutes of the second quarter looking at lolcats.

To make this not take up the whole page, hit the jumpy thing.

Of note, while J was running and I was rollerblading from my home:

Tony Graziani is starting for the Philly Soul, has thrown 4 touchdowns on 4 possessions, and doesn’t seem to be affected by his whanged shoulder.

The QB of the VooDoo is relatively old.

Mike Neu was a bartender in Muncie, IN Orlando (employed by Philadelphia coach Brett Muncie. I’m an idiot.), and made $30 a night. That’s terrifying. I don’t want to move to Muncie. I still don’t want to move to Muncie, but that sentence has just become a non sequitor. All of these coaches like each other.

Off an excellent kickoff return (you HAVE to get past the kicker if it’s your last guy to beat, but whatever), Graziani engineers a 1-play scoring drive, we’re live, and THIS. Is AMERICAN Idol. Arena Football.

Dwayne Missouri – TOUCHDOWN! Go, U Northwestern, break right through that line in the tiny football house. Andy Kelly fumbles back into the end zone, and it (of course) ricochets off of the back boards, for Missouri to pounce on. This excites me, because it’s a crazy football play AND I can be all “Woo, fancypants school I went to.”

Oh, dear me. On the ensuing kickoff, Frantz/France/Francsetzcque puts it on the dead spot of the crossbar, it takes a funny bounce, and Philly comes thisclose to recovering it into the end zone, and making us play Guitar Hero for the rest of the night. Due to the fact that if the ball hits the back board on the kickoff, it’s dead, the VooDoo catches a break. A Dixieland break. Get out your clarinets and random brass instruments.

Kelly manages to fire a pass four rows deep, a decent completion, and then two rows into the stands. The gentleman who catches the ball gives it to his 8-year old companion, and Skinny Mike is audibly affected by this display of gallantry. I claim that it’s his girlfriend, and book my tickets to Hell.

The VooDoo are losing their minds: they whiffed up a route pretty solidly, then force Kelly to scream at two random players to get back into the huddle. He then immediately hurls the ball onto the concourse of the Wachovia Center. Or wherever they are.

Breaking: Nawlins is now screwed. Kelly underthrows his receiver a little bit, and instead of batting it down, it ricochets off of the boards into Eddie Moten’s hands, and he goes the distance, turns around and scores again, so he can claim a 100-yard touchdown return. I may have made that last part up. 40-13, Philadelphia. The Mikes think that it’s just a bad break. I think it’s bad Juju for the VooDoo. Oh, I slay me.

The Mikes are also mentioning something about anybody being able to win in the playoffs, as evidenced by the Rush. Good point. THIS GAME MEANS SOMETHING.

Andy Kelly, in the shadow of his own end zone again, looks like he’s just trying to run out the clock at this point. They’re in trouble. Completion on 2nd and 6 past the 15 gets us to the 1:00 warning.

Andy Kelly throws a quick pass to the sidelines and stops the clock. He then immediately throws a ball up for grabs, and Gaines gets the interception, some people in the rear of the end zone get chatty and the NO guy jacks up the Philly guy, and everyone ignores it. [Note: This sentence caused me to come back and add the run-on sentences tag. Yeesh.] Fortunately for Kelly, there’s an illegal contact flag prior to the interception, so that’s negated.

Fade to the corner of the end zone for Mitchell, and Gaines throws him into next week. J says “That shit was WILD.” I agree. He landed on the concrete, and I’m relatively sure Mitchell thinks he’s Batman right now. He’s going to sit a couple out. Holding, New Orleans. Andy Kelly looks insanely uncomfortable “dancing” in the pocket, and throws it to Philadelphia’s Eddie Moten again. That’ll take us to the half.

I am half listening to the Mikes, and half typing, and have to say “Wait, how many plays has Philly run?” because the answer is 12. They go into the locker room up by approximately 1000. Enjoy your halftime entertainment, Philadelphia.

Continuing with our Swiss-watch precision, we come back to the game with a minute gone in the 2nd half and Philadelphia’s scored again. New Orleans has already given up on Andy Kelly and OSU’s Steve Bellisari will take the reins. The kickoff leads to a bit of a scuffle, the first pass leads to about thirteen late hits, the second pass hits the turf, and Mike and Mike discuss Bellisari’s career, which could best be described as “stick and bindle-based.” Andy Kelly, a hall of famer, according to our fair announcing team, DESERVES to be back in the huddle. Fat Mike is PISSED. They haven’t talked about any actual football in the last 2 and a half minutes. Just furious screeches.

Dwayne Missouri, again! They try the field-goal-try-is-the-same-as-a-punt strategy, and it’s blocked into the end zone by Missouri for a safety. Andy Kelly is old enough to be J’s dad, he says.

J: Can Philly start playing for clock management? Can they start running the ball?
T: Yes. I can’t talk and type. I’m the most motor-skills-challenged.

The first bit of good news for New Orleans is that the kickoff pins Philly at the one or two. But then gags and gives the Soul a 5-yard cushion by sprinting offsides.

Good news for burly tattooed guy in the 17th row: Graziani just HURLS the ball at him.

Joe takes this time to regale me with a story that I missed from the Allstate Arena excursion about a mom that ripped a soft foam fake football from her son when he caught it from one of the Rush cheer-staff. Sounds like a few thousand worth of therapy there.

Joe also thinks that Tony looks like Joe Montana with his helmet on.

I’m just writing everything down at this point. I hope you’re enjoying it. Philadelphia is forced to pretend to kick a field goal because – THIS JUST IN – you can’t punt in Arena Football.

Large Mike comes back from the commercial talking about cheesesteaks because they’re in Philadelphia, and Philadelphia has provided us with nothing other than cheesesteaks. Except for, maybe, I don’t know… LIBERTY?

Bellisari goes down like a house of cards, puts the ball on the turf and Not the Mike Brown You’re Thinking Of picks it up and trots into the end zone. Skinny Mike does some quick math, and realizes that the Philadelphia defense has doubled up the New Orleans offense. Meanwhile, 4 of Tony Graziani’s 15 pass attempts have found the end zone. I think he’s feeling better.

J respects Andy Kelly for saying “Hey, we’re screwed, put my backup in.” J thinks this means that Andy Kelly should be a coach next year. I nod silently, because I’m busy transcribing our not-conversations. The Mikes, however, are not amused. Possibly because a) Bellisari looks like he needs to bring a seeing-eye dog into the huddle, and b) what did Kelly do wrong?

Finally, Belissari figures out how to throw the ball, and gets New Orleans inside the 5. They might actually score here…

Scott Muncie took the Philadelphia Soul to Dave and Buster’s. That sounds like quite a scene. They apparently didn’t act like a team that had lost six in a row, but hey, who does at the magical land that is D&B’s?

Meanwhile, a jump ball that looks like it almost got three or four people killed, a pass WELL in front of his receiver, and a horrific fade. Large Mike is FURIOUS about the fact that Kelly would’ve made that pass. In case you’re interested, the Mikes want to see Kelly back in the game. I GET it. We all understand. Bellisari tries to run the ball in, and is the only one who thinks he scored. The Mikes immediately accuse him of assassinating John F. Kennedy. Bellisari tries again, and succeeds this time. The Mikes are not impressed, and claim that he started the Great Depression, and Andy Kelly’s measured economic policies would’ve kept the situation from spiralling out of control.

Skinny Mike wants Tony Graziani to take his jersey off. I can’t make this stuff up.

Back from commercial, New Orleans executes the most delightful onside kick in the history of the world that results in a ludicrous pile and a ricocheting football, and… an offsides call against New Orleans. Well, that was pointless.

“Mike and Mike are bitching more than I am about this game,” says J. Indeed, my friend. In. Deed.

Juston Wood tore up his knee while slinging it? According to the Mikes, he did. I was unaware. It doesn’t matter, because backup Leon Murray executes what Steve Bellisari could not, throwing a perfect fade to Brackins. 63-20, Philly. This is a beat down.

I’m going to take this opportunity to mention that I have an intense hatred for the NBA Street commercial featuring the commentary of the asshat with the camera. J concurs.

“New Orleans has cracked like the Liberty Bell,” says skinny Mike, and Big Mike makes – warranted – fun of him. The kick goes off the crossbar – which, incidentally, is one of my favorite things that happens in Arena Football – and a bit of a melee ensues. Good times.

The Mikes take this opportunity to mention that “If you’re just joining us, Steve Bellisari has taken over for Andy Kelly, who doesn’t appear to be injured, he’s just on the bench.” Assholes.

Tony Graziani wanted to be taken out because they were up by 5 possessions, and it only would take one hit to knock him out for the year. So, that’s classy. “Classy quarterbacks in this game,” chips in J, without having read the sentence I just wrote. That’s creepy.

Oh, New Orleans scored, but the Mikes were free to ignore The Leper That Is Steve Belissari, because they’re talking to the Noble Tony Graziani. So, it’s still not a game.

J: “Those Dallas jerseys are kind of nice.”
T: “Yeah. I’m probably not going to buy one, though.”
J: “Oh, me either. There’s something weird about the Rush blue color, though.”
T: “Totally. We should write to that girl Uni Watch interviewed. Ask ’em what’s up.”

Note: Not gay.

What are the Blues Brothers doing in Philadelphia? No time to think about that – McKelvey cleverly punches the onside kick attempt into the stands. Some lucky fans gets a ball in the weirdest way possible.

Whee! Skinny Mike makes a positive mention of Northwestern, calling it a “bastion of education and football prowess.” Okay, so that compliment slid into the “backhanded” category at the end, but he’s jus’ jalous. He wanted Dwayne Missouri to be the ADT Player of the Game, but was outvoted. Outvoted by whom? Larry Brackins catches another TD pass. This is big for the Philly Phaithful. This could be a mighty momentum swing for the Soul. I’m interested to see what happens next week. There’s a loud buzzer sound in the stadium, and I want to know if someone’s laundry is done.

Commercial. Success.

Oh, God. Bellisari throws the ball to Kevin Gaines who, you might guess, works for Philadelphia. Coach Muncie doesn’t skip a beat and continues his interview with the Mikes. He’s pretty cheerful, but you would be, too, if you were weilding the clobberin’ stick like Philly is, and had your franchise quarterback return, making your team look like a legitimate contender.

Who the crap is the chick who looks vaguely like Denise Richards on the RGX body spray commercials? We have no idea, but J is pretty sure that she… shall we say, enjoys some non-standard intimacy? His exact quote was, “That lip thing at the end? It says ‘I like it in the butt!'” (Confidential to J’s parents: No, he didn’t really say that. [Confidential to everyone else: Yes, he did.])

HEY! Jon Bon Jovi sighting! Success! The Mikes inform us that Graziani is the highest paid player in the league. I did not know that. He gets $160K, roughly. That’s not as much as I suspected, which I can respect. Just guys who like playing ball, as they say.

WR Tyronne Jones. a rambling man from Grambling, had 47 people living in his house after Hurricane Katrina. No jokes, here. They’re really putting a lot back into New Orleans, apparently.

Steve Bellisari got absolutely wrecked, but the Mikes are talking about other things, because this game is out of reach. I’m just on auto-pilot with the typing at this point. J is thinking about the RGX Body Spray Girl.

New Orleans scores to cut the deficit to 78-33. Bellisari takes advantage of somebody falling down to connect with Tyronne Jones for the score. The Mikes ease up on Bellisari for a moment, and only blame him for the Irish Potato famine.

Andy Kelly looks a lot like TJ Jagodowski of Second City and Sonic Drive-In commercial fame.

The Mikes suggest that Philly, assuming Graziani’s continued health, might be a danger to Dallas in their conference (Eastern? American? Prince of Wales?), as is Georgia. Georgia faltered a little bit this week, but I’ll talk about that tomorrow. Look forward to my random, unsubstantiated theories that I’m perfectly willing to accept crap about.

1:00 warning; I move on to pretending I’ve never heard of Justin Morneau, because it makes J mad.

We’re going to escape this game, as long as Leon Murray can advance the ball, and he does. Victory in decisive fashion to Philadelphia.

Of note: the difference a competent quarterback can make is insane. Graziani is the difference between a dangerous team and a total crap team, which is mildly shocking. I need to think about this some more.

Oh, and I spelled Steve Bellisari about thirty seven different ways in this thing, but that small abuse pales in comparison to the eviscerating he took from the Mikes. Poor Steve Bellisari.

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