I spent roughly half the autumn Saturdays of my childhood inside the late, great Pitt Stadium, perched atop Cardiac Hill in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA, back then a place still worthy of being called ‘City of Champions’. Befitting of those halcyon Lombardi & pennant times on the banks of the Three Rivers, Pitt football was a national powerhouse. No, seriously. It was.
It was a rare day, then, when a school other than those hated in-state rivals from Happy Valley was within three touchdowns of the Panthers by halftime. On those occasions when the blue moon was hovering above, though, cheers for that gang of underdogs could be heard from the sparsely populated visitors’ section… and my own mother. Why? Because, as she’d explain, “It’d be nice for those boys to win. Think how happy they’d be!”
I was reminded of her altruism (which apparently superseded how happy Pitt winning would make her own son!) while talking with a chum about the Jaguars’ Mile High odds against beating the Broncos in Denver this weekend. Whoever coined the cliché “on any given Sunday” (I think it was Al Pacino) didn’t anticipate a mismatch this severe: 5-0 Denver is averaging 46 points a game. 0-5 Jacksonville has scored 51 points all season. No, the Jags won’t win this game. And yes, it’ll be uglier than their two-tone helmets. Unless…
Unless Peyton and his pals feel sympathetic to the plight of their pro peers. Once the Broncos inevitably get up three or four scores, they could call off the stampede, put Brock Osweiler in, and allow the UK’s pseudo-home team to escape with some dignity. It could happen, right? The Broncos aren’t actually horses – they’re human beings, and as such, might be inclined to not embarrass the other guys. My mother would certainly take it easy on the struggling Jags.
Problem is, Mo Dameshek ain’t gonna be under center in an orange jersey for Denver. (For the record, the Broncos would still win if she were.) Manning is a competitor with an eye towards history. He knows exactly where his 2013 numbers stack up against the single-season records, just as he knows exactly how many more yards and touchdowns he needs to catch Brett Favre (barring a Favre comeback, of course). I believe he’s sincere when he intimates the Jags are a credible foe, but he also knows they can’t realistically do what the Broncos’ previous four challengers haven’t: stop him from putting up huge numbers on his way to the top of the charts.
It may seem mean to some, but Peyton’s gonna put his foot on Jacksonville’s collective throat and not let ‘em up for air ‘til Jon Fox forcibly pulls him off. I just hope he doesn’t expect my mother to cheer for him.
Cheers to me for nailing the Chargers/Raiders outcome in Week Five’s late-Sunday night treat. (Alright, I had Oakland winning 24-16… a little off of the actual 27-17 final… but close enough.) But that’s history, as is my correct pick of the Bears over the Giants on Thursday night. Now it’s time to look ahead to remaining games of Week Six, which reminds me… do NOT continue reading if you don’t want to know how they’re gonna turn out!
(last week: 9-5; 1-0 this week; 47-32 on the season)
D. Bowe: 127 yds, TD
L. McCoy: 182 yds all-purpose, 2 TDs
A. Rodgers: 402 yds, 3 TDs
B. Weeden: 3 INTs
C. Patterson: 64-yd TD rec.
A. Foster: 114 yds, 2 TDs
PIT D: 3 turnovers
L. Hall: 32-yd INT return TD
M. Lynch: 87 yds, 2 TDs
D. Thomas: 130 yds, 2 TDs
A. Boldin: 94 yds, TD
A. Dobson: 45-yd TD rec.
T. Romo: 391 yds, 3 TDs
T. Richardson: 103 yds
Enjoy the weekend, everybody. I hope your team wins (unless they’re playing my team).