That's the sign that was in prominent view (field level, 50-yard line) yesterday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore: "19 IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN 18."
It was obvious reference to the jersey number of former Colts legend Johnny Unitas (#19) and current Colts legend Peyton Manning (#18).
Here's a newsflash, Balmer:
15 Colts points are always greater than 6 Ravens points.
For those of us who enjoy hearing about (but not necessarily watching) a Billickmore Ravens defeat almost as much as we do a Steel Curtain victory, yesterday's 15-6 Colts win in Baltimore was gratifying.
It seems as though "God's Linebacker" (so dubbed on an Sports Illustrated cover last month) and the lucky statue of Unitas outside Gate A (y'know ... the one with the grapefruit-sized "package" which the sculptor carved onto Johnny "Unit") were not enough to slay the Irsay Family and the NFL team which was stolen from Balmer.
The 90-point-sized headline in today's Baltimore Sun was typically predictable:
The only way to create greater melodrama would've been to use purple ink for that headline.
Then again, if the purple crows had won, the headline would've read:
PURPLE REIGN or possibly PEYTON SEES PURPLE
Alas, God's Linebacker wasn't up to the task. If we're to believe that "keeping an opponent out of the end zone" is a moral victory, well ... such a philosophy looks good -- as long as it's swirling the toilet bowl with the purple-colored Ty-D-Bowl.
Billickmore's team "on the defensive side of the ball" was the greatest in the past 50 years of football (wink, wink), but Peyton did not seem to be terribly daunted by that soft, soft, soft coverage which allowed him to complete the underneath stuff to his receivers.
Not that anyone's complainin'. We've heard plenty about how Billickmore, during the past four seasons, is 26-6 at home during the regular season (the best in the NFL).
And now, purple pain is best described as an 0-2 playoff record at home during that same span.
Seems as though Billickmore has some issues to address on the offensive side of the ball during the offseason.
As if it'll matter.
Well, it will if someone kick-ass such as Vin Diesel is brought in.
Either as an H-back or as the assistant coach in charge of "quality control."
On the offensive side of the ball.
What killed purple pride's offensive side of the ball yesterday was that horrifically-bad INT that McNair threw in the red zone ... a pass that was picked by Colts rookie Antoine Bethea.
The reason this was so damaging is because Bethea wears #41 -- the same number that Tom Matte (still a Balmer mainstay) wore during all those glory years.
That's not to take anything away from Bethea and the job he does on the defensive side of the ball.
Matte needs to realize that.
However, Balmer fans' hearts will be filled with dismay and scorn until August when the exhibition season begins. It won't be uncommon for fans who live in Hard Canny to say to one another, "Pitcher bane seat on 'cuz we're gonna go danny ayschun."
FYI: Hard Canny = Howard County.
While we're at it: "Pitcher bane seat on 'cuz we're gonna go danny ayschun" = "Put your bathing suit on because we're going to go down to the ocean."
For those of us who grew up frolicking in the SoCal sands of Zuma, USA, "the ocean" = "the beach."
Crazy backwards f*cks.
Where would God's Linebacker be without 68,553 of the 70,000-plus in attendance wearing his #52 jersey?
The buildup for the Team Which Was Stolen From Baltimore vs. The Team Which Baltimore Stole focused on that Colts exodus in '84 and how the city was out for blood, but ... the aftermath made such matters an afterthought.
In a lot of ways, the purple birds' fans might be just as overrated as the purple birds' players. When the score was 12-6 late and Vinatieri was lining up for a field goal, the fans of God's Linebacker weren't making scarcely enough noise or delivering any deafening chants of "Block that kick!"
If Vinatieri had missed, a TD by the purple birds would've spelled a 13-12 victory, but, alas ...
We'll all miss those sound bytes of God's Linebacker barking, "What time is it?!" -- and his teammates responding with barks of, "Game time!"
"What time is it?!"
"Game time, woof woof woof!"
It gets ya so fired up that ya wanna go to the kitchen to make a sandwich.
Or maybe to open a jar of apple sauce.
Or a pudding cup.
As you reminisce about the ol' days of inspired catch-phrases such as "Who dat?!" or "Who dey?!"
If nothing else, at least San Jose State grad, Bill Leavey, was present and accounted for to hand the game to the Colts in much the same manner in which he handed Super Bowl XL to the Steelers.
Not that anyone's complainin'.
Not anyone that matters, anyway.
Leavey is part of the rich San Jose State landscape in the NFL this season ... along with the resurgence of Jeff Garcia, not to mention our fondness for those Coors Light TV ads featuring ex-NFL coaches with SJSU affiliations (Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil).
So, yes ... it was an usually-fascinating NFL weekend. You sorta had an inkling that it would play out as it did once your edition of SI showed up in the mailbox (a few days ago) and the largest words on the cover photo of Florida QB Chris Leak were: Gator Raid
Not: "Purple Pain" -- but, rather, "Gator Raid."
Say, weren't those the same exact words which The Sporting News used as a headline last April to paraphrase Florida's NCAA basketball championship?
Well, truth be told ... TSN's "Gator Raid" was the bold headline inside the mag.
SI went all cutting edge on us and put it on the cover.
Bottom line: Florida is the Gators ... the Gators are Florida ... Florida romped to the title ... hence, the Gators' conducted a "raid" on their opposition.
OK ... for the 97th time, we get it already!
Now that ya mention it, a Saturday with pro football rather than college football, well ... that's a damn fine idea -- although, admittedly, the previous Saturday was better than yestrerday given that last week, SNL (not SI or TSN) re-aired the recent Alec Baldwin hosting wherein a Robert Smigel TV Funhouse rocked our world (as he parodied, in cartoon form, Kobayashi).
Those Japanese subtitles which accompanied the plot essential made no sense and were completely out of place.
Which is why we loved them (and Smigel, most of the time)
"I smell warmth."
"The circumstances are not set."
Kinda makes ya wonder when SI and TSN will get on board with the "I smell warmth" and "The circumstances are not set" campaigns.
Our weekend began with college football (in print) and ended with college football (in a holiday paradise known as O'ahu, Hawai'i ... in something called "ESPN's live broadcast of the Cornerstone Bancard 61st Annual Hula Bowl All-Star Football Classic").
Kai vs. Aina?
Right ... Kai (West) vs. Aina (East), I smell warmth, the circumstances are not set and Merry Manumaleuna you and yours and a Happy Tatupu-Tuiasosopo.
Anyway, here's what was to like about the Hula Bowl (no matter if you thought Kai was the bomb and you were hatin' on Aina) -- Chad Nkang of Elon (a graduate of Northwestern High in Hyattsville, MD) was his team's MVP.
Now, it's not easy to remembeer if Ohio State's Justin Zwick was wearing a Kai jersey or an Aina shirt, but here's what he was wearing -- a Buckeye helmet with WAYYYYY too many Buckeye decals on it.
We've covered this ground before, but how does a QB who attempted 23 passes as the backup to the guy who won the Heisman Troy-phy have the left side of his OSU helmet completely covered with decals?
No wonder Tressel's team came out soft and played like shit in the Arizona desert less than a week ago.
Each Buckeye player probably got five Buckeye decals just for making it to the opening kickoff on time.
Also, each Buckeye player who didn't get bit by a diamondback rattlesnake during the trip to the desert received another 10 helmet decals when the team got home ("kinda hard to get bit by a snake when Gators are chompin' on yo' ass.")
Speaking of guys who dressed up as alligators in college, maybe someone out there in TV Land can explain what Sexy Rexy meant when he said this after his Bears beat the Seahawks:
"We're just two wins away from me putting a ring on my finger for the rest of my life."
Yikes ... that quote wasn't toooooo effeminate. Does "Roxy" want his lover to slip that ring on his finger before or after the spooning session?
Jeez, that was mega-creepy.
However, it didn't move the needle on the Numbnuts Meter as much as Michael Kay of the YES Network did when, during this morning's B.S. session on The Winter X Games' Channel's Sports Reporters show, he loosely tied all actions in the cosmos to John Lynch.
According to Kay, if it wasn't for Lynch's hit on Drew Brees which exaccerbated Brees' rotator-cuff problems, the Dolphins might've signed Brees, God-only-knows-where Daunte Coldpecker would've been for the '06 opener, Saban wouldn't have resigned to take the 'Bama job and the Saints wouldn't be on the brink of a Super Bowl.
Wait ... so, you're saying that because of John Lynch, folks in New Orleans' flood-ravaged communities now have a place to live?
Or are you saying that because of John Lynch, Crimson Tide fans now have a reason to live?
Leave it to the Mrs. to provide "clarity" and "context."
She witnessed how badly Michael Kay had drenched his own pantleg with urine, so she tried to create a diversion.
MRS. PF7: "... and if Denny Green had kept John Lynch at quaterback and not moved him to safety at Stanford ... and if John Lynch had performed a little better as a college baseball player ..."
That gal is so "up to speed" with the issues. She doesn't allow herself to get all bogged down with purple pain. Moreover, she knows that the Colts' punter is named Hunter Smith and that the Colts' head athletic trainer is named Hunter Smith, although neither Hunter Smith is related.
In the "Kay Cosmos," it's safe to assume that if rookie QB Art Schlichter hadn't had a gambling problem during the Colts' 0-8-1, strike-shortened season of '82, Bob Irsay wouldn't have been interested in John Elway as the franchise's savior and, therefore, never would've moved the team from B'More to 'Nap Town, thus keeping the Browns in Cleveland for another year or two, whereupon Billick and Belichick would've combined their dark super powers to win at least three consecutive Super Bowls before Art Modell moved the franchise from Cleveland to L.A. (just as the NFL-champion Cleveland Rams had done before the 1946 season).
So, yes, suffering Cleveland fans ... Ohio native Art Schlichter (current property of the Ohio Department of Corrections) is the reason why the New Browns suck worse than the Old Cleveland Browns or the Ancient Cleveland Rams.
See how much fun that was?
In a stupid and accidental way, Mike Kay is a catalyst in getting America to think outside the box.
Even so, his circular logic (or is it specious reasoning) is no guarantee that even if John Lynch hadn't sucked as a Stanford QB that Cleo Lemon would be leading the Dolphins to Super Bowls XLIV and XLVIII.
What we do know is that John Lynch ruined Marty Shittyheimer's life -- for it was Lynch's hit on Drew Brees which created all the questions about the QB's health, thus inititiating the rapid-fire development of a QB (Philip Rivers) who, in his college career at NC State, rarely won a big game (0-4 vs. Maryland, mediocre vs. awful, awful, awful, non-conference opponents).
The San Diego Super Chargers made several dozen mistakes, but rather than re-hash those or mock the lame "Lights Out" motto which Shawne Merriman has shaved on the side of his head, let's all remember that MartyBall will usually find a way to lose.
And, if he can't find one, he'll invent a new way.
His coaching stylings (read: overseeing the incompetency of chief wingmen Cam Cameron -- whose real first name is "Malcolm" -- and Wade Phillips -- whose daddy's name was "O.A.") have Team Sea World's fans so enraged that probably many of them are burning their #18 retro jerseys.
#18, of course, was the Charger jersey worn by Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner.
It's difficult to determine the number of Charger fans who are burning their #19 Charger throwback jerseys with the name "ALWORTH" on the back for the Hall of Famer who played there (1962-70) or with the name "UNITAS" on the back (for Johnny U.'s one season there in '73).
Which takes us right back to Square One.
And the philosophy that 19 is always greater than 18 ...