8.31.2006

That's me. Right there. Yup, your good old friend and huge Jets fan Curtis O'Brien. And yes, that is the Meadowlands. And your right, this is not going to be a nice story with a happy ending. Let me give you a hint of when this picture was taken: Nov. 27, 1994: The infamous fake-spike game. With the Dolphins trailing the Jets in the closing minutes, Marino drives Miami to the 8-yard line and hurries the team to the line, motioning as if he's going to spike the ball. Instead, he hits Mark Ingram with a touchdown pass. Miami wins 28-24.

But let me set this up for you a little better. This was a BIG game! We were going into this game 6-7 in a tight AFC East battle. We had all the chess pieces in place. We had a healthy Boomer at the controls, Ronnie Lott was our safety, Mo Lewis was young and fierce, Rob Moore was our stud receiver, we acquired Art Monk that off season (this was before anyone knew his true motives were to be number one in receptions, which did accomplish as a Jet. That's a whole nother story), our kicker was Nick Lowry and we had the young and hip Pete Carroll as our commander and chief.

The Dolphins were coming in with a record 7-6 and coming off two bad losses. True Jets fans will remember there was a aire about the team and where we were going this year. The feeling was that if we beat the Dolphins, then we would enter the final three games with such a momentum that would be unstoppable. Personally, I couldn't wait to see the game. And my brother had two tickets. It couldn't get any better.

That is, until he told me at the breakfast table that he had already invited some chucklehead friend of his. And that my father wanted me to clean all the leaves and make the yard look nice. Remember, this was 1994 and I was 20 years old. I was still living with the old man and a few brothers who were straggling getting out into the real world. But at any rate, I was resigned to watching the game on the T.V.

I started raking right after breakfast so I could watch the game with the old man off my back. At 10:00am, my brother walks out the back door, waives to me and heads off to his "big game" with his buddies. "See you later, a**hole!" I say to myself. I was a struggling college student at the time and with the hype of this game, I wouldn't be able to scalp a ticket for less than $150.00. So I wasn't all that upset.

A few hours go by and my watch reads 12:20pm. Just 40 minutes to the big game! Then, my dad calls to the back yard, "Rich is on the phone, he left his tickets at home!" What? Are you kidding? I know what's coming next. And forget it. He will have to scalp tickets. I am not driving an hour to the Meadowlands and then drive back and get home for the fourth wuarter of play. But there was an interesting proposition when I got on the phone. He wanted me to go to his room, take the two tickets out from under his pillow and drive them to the Meadowlands in exchange for $200.00 to scalp my own ticket.

I was showered, dressed in my vintage Ken O'Brien jersey and on the highway within 5 minutes. An hour drive took me 45 minutes. I had to park across from the Meadowlands at one of the hotels, run across the highway on foot and locate my brother and his "friend". This was the day before cell phones too. I completely guessed on where they were, found them and exchanged the tickets. They gave me the cash, I bought a ticket and was sitting in my seat while the initial drive was still going on. It was a truly an amazing turn of events.

And there I was, sitting in the upper tier watching my beloved Jets. My brother, on the other side of the stadium somewhere. Me, crowded surrounded by strangers. But strangers wearing gang green. Although I was alone, I felt at home. And my Jets were hanging strong. I couldn't have been at more peace with myself.

That game was actually a sort of a slug fest. Marino seemed to be on the verge of putting the Jets away a few times, but he Jets got a few lucky breaks and made a few good plays. But all and all it was a great game. And the crowd was totally into it. That place was rockin' that day.

It seemed to look like the Jets were going to pull it off. The Jets were up 24-21 with a few minutes on the clock. However, Marino has the ball and is driving his team down the field. But time was running down. We could win this one! Jet fans were cheering like crazy. Pete Carroll is all over the field, flailing his arms. It was very intense!

There is less than a minute left in the game and Marino is on the fifty with no time outs. Time is evaporating fast. He gets to the 35. The whole stadium is thinking, "Ok, this is a long field goal." Then he is at the 20. A two more completions and he is at the 8 yard line. However, he only has 12 seconds on the clock. And his team is not even near the line of scrimmage.

This is where it all slows down for me. And this is where the picture above comes into play. I am watching Marino and his team rush up to the line of scrimmage. But for me, it is in all slow motion. I specifically watch the outside receiver, Mark Ingram, jog to the line of scrimmage. I see him notice that CB Aaron Glenn has his back to him. I then watch Mark Ingram go from a stead jog to the line to a very quick scamper, like a deer on his tippie toes. Ingram, quietly gets in position and looks back right at Marino. I watch them both connect on their unspoken plan.

And this is where I would like you to go up to the picture above. Because if you look very closely you will see a 220 lb fan wearing a Ken O'Brien jersey. That's me. And I am the only person standing. You will notice that my hands are around my mouth as if I am trying to talk to the coach. At that moment, I completely jumped out of my seat. The only thing that could come out was a low, slow motion, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Of course, Marino motions as if he is going to spike the ball. He then goes under center, takes the snap, pumps a fake spike to the ground and drills a bullet to Ingram. Aaron Glenn, turns around in disbelief to find he play had already happened.

The whole stadium watches in horror. I fall back into my seat and stare at the endzone for what seems to be two hours. I will swear to you to this day, that if I had a seat closer to Aaron Glenn, that the Jets would have won that game.

At any rate, this was very therapeutic for me. Thank you!

5 comments:

Aaron Glenn said...

Now you tell me...I owe you a lap dance.

Unruly Jets Fan said...

Dude, you're a crazy blogger.

Fakehead said...

Dude:
You could only have seen the loving glances between Engram and Marino if you had binoculars. I'm sure in your rush to get out the door you forgot them. And tell the truth, you were in the parking lot drinking beers until at least midway through the third quarter.
That being said, it's a good story and it demonstrates the reasons behind your love/hate relationship with the Jets.
Don't worry, this year you won't have to worry about close games, you can just assume they are going to lose them with Coach Hairpie at the helm.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Gadfly is going to dress Dickersonfan up like a Hitler cat tonight. Have fun boys!

Unruly Jets Fan said...

What, no love for my picture? That is a photoshop classic. Actually, to really get me in the pic I had to buy it from NFL Films. It cost me 5 million dollars. I put it on your credit card Dickersonfan.