Sunday, November 16, 2008

L'Estasi Dell Undici-Dieci

Gambling degenerates and Fantasy League chumps didn't appreciate the artistic beauty of the first-ever 11-10 final score in NFL history, established today at Heinz Field (of course).

Then again, those are the same knuckleheads who failed to embrace the beauty of this, the first meeting of Troy Polamalu and LaDanian Tomlinson on the playing field since the nationwide release of those Nike TV ads which feature the montage of the Steeler safety and the Charger tailback as they progress from hyperactive tykes to NFL superstardom.

Predictably, 99.4 percent of the gambling/Fantasy bedwetting riff-raff have no clue that Ennio Morricone's "L'ESTASI DELL'ORO" is the background music for those TV promos which culminate with a collision between the two -- in a sportsmanlike manner (of course).

'Cuz that's what Nike's about.

Sportsmanship ...

Fair play ...

Just doin' it ...

And payin' Ennio Morricone a hefty royalty check (goddammit) for borrowing something he composed for "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly."

It seems fitting that Nike would opt for a song which translates to "The Ecstasy of Gold" as the anthem for a 15-second ad, although some of us old-schoolers would've found it gratifying if Ennio Morricone -- who finally won an honorary Academy Award last year -- had told the ad wizards hired by Nike, "I'm not for sale, you motherless sons of bitches!"

Or, if Ennio had crossed up everybody by selling the rights to "Due Contro Cinque" instead of "L'Estasi Dell'Oro."

Hell, in this mixed-up world of music publishing rights, etc., Ennio Morricone quite likely hasn't owned the rights to "L'Estasi Dell'Oro" for 20 or 30 years.

It's probably the property of General Motors for all we know.

Still, that doesn't give Nike the right to play God with music which this world has always associated with the greatest Western ever made.

Once we allow Nike to go unchecked, before ya know it, we're seeing Tuco (Eli Wallach) running full speed through the Sand Hill Cemetery, searching desperately to find the grave with the name ARCH STANTON on it -- and, instead of seeing Tuco wearing a pair of dusty-and-tattered boots, we notice that he has a brand new pair of Air Jordans (or whichever Nikes the CGI wizards deemed appropriate for that scene as the music -- with trumpets blaring furiously -- builds to its crescendo, Tuco on an adrenaline high with the prospect of locating the $200,000 of Confederate gold).

We've previously addressed the concept of "crossover" when it comes to our favorite NFL or MLB teams playing on the same day, etc. -- although it's rare when our favorite players and our favorite movies intersect (unless you're a loser who's into Keanu Reeves and you believe that his sissy-girl, football-throwin' in either "Point Break" or "The Replacements" validates his movie existence as either ex-Ohio State quarterback Johnny Utah or ex-Ohio State quarterback Shane Falco ... or maybe you're somebody who's more into O.J. Simpson in either "Capricorn One" or "The Towering Inferno" before he was Norberg in "The Naked Gun" movies).

It makes ya laugh (or scratch yer head) how a Jewish guy (Eli Wallach) playin' a Mexican bandit (Tuco) is cast with hundreds of Italians in a spaghetti western filmed in Spain.

Eli Wallach was a pro's pro, though ... and if Nike had any real clout, Eli Wallach would've won the Oscar as Best Actor (not merely in a "supporting" role, either ... seriously, he outshined Clint in that movie, like it or not) in '68.

OH, SHIT ... the game!

Look ... all we're saying is that there's no reason to act all nutso over the fact that Polamalu's TD on the game's final play was disallowed.

Some insane-yet-creative reffing allowed to stand the first-ever 11-10 final in the history (from what CBS told us) of the league's previous 12,837 games.

Nobody said if those 12,837 included today's contests -- and the only time we remember any NFL team landing on "11" as a winner or a loser was in the NFC Championship Game almost 10 years ago when the Rams got the late TD to turn a 6-5 deficit into an 11-6 victory.

Of course, that's the painful punchline which everybody will use for the next several days ... that this was Pirates-Padres in a baseball score, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, yadda yadda, yakkety yak ...


11-10 looks/sounds/feels like a baseball score ...

(Question: Since 92.5 percent of all NFL games are 10-7 at halftime -- when they aren't 13-3 or 7-6 -- shouldn't it be mandated somewhere that all of THOSE scores receive baseball-score certification? "Philadelphia leads Chicago, 7-3? What, did Ryan Howard hit a home run off of Carlos Zambrano? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ..." Oh, the hilarity!)

Well, for those of us who didn't drop $500 on Pittsburgh-minus-5, we're just thrilled that after last week's aggravation against Indy that this one was decided by a perfect pass from long snapper Jared Retkofsky (#61) to holder Paul Ernster (#5) who cleanly set the ball on its tip and turned the laces away from Jeff Reed for the winning kick.

When a play ends in a tidy and happy fashion as that one did, it's obvious why Dirk McGirder (who some people still unwisely call "Steely McBeam") has broken out his wide smile.

It's because Jared Retkofsky and Paul Ernster are slowly-but-surely earning the trust of Dirk McGirder.

As per those gambling junkies and Fantasy addicts, the only ones who won't be all pissy and PMS-ey for the rest of tonight all throughout tomorrow are those who had the "road dog" Chargers-plus-5 or those who collected points for Big Ben's 300-plus yards or for Fast Willie's 100-plus yards.

And then there's the rest of us who appreciated the game for the array of offerings -- from the amazing (Polamalu's diving-on-the-snowy-turf, one-handed, fingertip-scoop INT in the first quarter) to the agonizing (Mewelde Moore gettin' thoroughly ass-whooped when the left side of the Steelers' OL got blown up "at the point of attack" on 4th-and-goal at the 1 for the second week in a row).

That winning drive was cool, though ... and it sent the Chargers to 0-13 all-time during the regular-season in Pittsburgh (as Western Time Zone teams dipped to 0-11 this season in games played in the Eastern Time Zone) -- and it was a nice bounceback following last week's result, when the Colts snapped their 40-year losing streak in Pittsburgh.

The game wasn't all that well-played (who the flock was Rivers throwing to on that pass that James Harrison INT'ed at the S.D. 10 late in the first half???) -- and those sound bytes of Bill Hillgrove indicate that the contest wasn't very well-broadcast, either (on the Harrison pickoff: "Intercepted! Running with the football a Steeler defender!" -- you cannot be serious, William. It's #92 and it's not Jason Gildon, so do the frickin' math, Ace ... and do it before Tunch has an orgasm into the microphone, okay? ... ).

Nothwitstanding some of the unsightliness leading up to it, there were some interesting moments and high drama at the end.

Those are real plusses.

Nevertheless, the outcry tomorrow will be intense ... and widespread ... as America tries to reconcile the injustice of a nonsensical final play.

It'll be a full-blown, he-said/she-said ...

Was it a forward lateral from Tomlinson to Chambers?

Does it really matter?

By the very capricious nature of the sport itself and with the arbitrary nature of the zebras which govern it, we should be thankful that every game doesn't end with a 7-car pileup.

But, some of us ain't sweatin' it.

'Cuz this one's a "W" -- and now it's time to prepare for CinSHITnati in that Thurs. niter, which'll be the Steeelers' third home game in 11 days.

There's bigger fish to fry than worrying about periphery issues such as the NFL refs.

After all, when asked our opinion on the matter of NFL officials, some of us answer a question with a question, such as: "The first woodwind sound we hear on "L'Estasi Dell'Oro" ... is that a clarinet or an oboe -- or is it the contra bassoon?"


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