Monday, September 7, 2015

a perfect end to summer, part dos (of tres) ...

"We drove right past,
That no trespassing sign.
Sat on the tailgate,
And watched the planes take off.

Thought we had all night --
There was no need to rush.
And that's when those cops?
Came pulling up.

And I thought?
Man, ain't this some sh*t ...

You're daddy's gonna kill me!
But if I survive tonight?
I wouldn't change one thing, baby!
Yeah, I know it sounds crazy,

But there was something about the way,
The blue lights were shining,
Bringing out the freedom in your eyes!

And I was too busy watching you,
Go wild child, to be
Worried about going to jail!

You were thinking that running for it?
Would make a good story.
I was thinking you were crazy as hell.

You were so innocent!
But you were stealing my heart --
I fell in love?
In the back of a cop car ..."

-- "Cop Car" by Sam Hunt.  He wrote the bastard.  Deal with it, Keith Urban fans ...

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I'm honestly not sure where to open Part Dos.

(Here's Part Uno, if you missed it.)

Should I open by showcasing "Stevo Versus The Booth Review"?  Should I open by picking up chronologically from Part Uno (which would lead us to the first moment, I openly cried at the Gridiron Glory exhibit)?  Should I open by focusing on that conversation with the Pro Football Hall of Fame employee from Part Uno?  Should I open by focusing on the second moment that made me laugh out loud, a t-shirt from the greatest year ever that, quite frankly, I contemplated having Andrew create a Conway Twitty-esque distraction, so that I could steal it?

In the words of the theme?

"And I thought man, ain't this some sh*t!"

Or maybe?  Maybe I should just go chronologically.

After all, that day, that magical, amazing day, was one damned good story.

And you'd have to be crazy as hell, to have ever seen it playing out, as it did ...

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Once you got past the history of the franchise section, you entered what can only be called the "movie theater" portion of the exhibit.  They had a few rows of seats from Arrowhead pre-remodel, and a gigantic projection screen, about to show the "behind the scenes" of one of the greatest days, the greatest games, the single greatest anything, of both the Chiefs and my life.

Sunday, January 16, 1994.

Sadly, I did not snap a photo of the setup, but I wandered over to Seat One, Row Three, and my buddy Andrew grabbed Seat Two, as the 65TPT Production of that incredible afternoon -- into early evening -- began.

I tried to warn Andrew (a Titans fan).  I tried.  I noted "look it, there is one moment in this look back, that is guaranteed to make me stand up, fist pump, and immediately begin crying.  You will NEVER hear me apologize for that.  OK?"

His response?  "Frank Wycheck.  Buffalo 1999.  Never fails to make the room dusty for me."

I knew I loved that guy for a reason.

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Every Chiefs fan knows the moment I'm referencing:

Trailing 10-0 early in the 3rd quarter, Joe Montana bought time on 3rd and goal, elbow swelling larger by the moment, and hit tight end Keith Cash as he came across the field, throwing across his body to hit Mr. Cash in the numbers, who proceeded to cross the goalline to make this a game once again.

It isn't the touchdown that makes me cry.

It isn't even the realization that the Chiefs are now in prime position to pull off one of the biggest upsets in franchise history (an upset they would pull, 28-20, behind arguably the single greatest second half performance in franchise history, to all but end the Houston Oilers' existence), that makes me cry.

It's Mr. Cash scoring, and without even stopping, sprint to the gigantic poster of Oilers' defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan in the end zone, and hurling that bastard with everything he had in him, at Buddy's face.  Even the East German judge had to give that a 6.0, it was so undeniably perfect.

Hell, even the clueless Bob Trumpy noted "take that, Buddy Ryan!"  It's not quite the equivalent of Al Michaels noting that "Andre Rison has just burned al davis' house down", but it's damned close.

I wish the 65TPT Production was available online.  I could not find it at kcchiefs.com or on Youtube!.  If that changes post, uuh, posting, I'll add the link.

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The next moment is personal, as I circled the room the employee of this exhibit, told me I'd rather puke than enter ... but needed to enter:


(as with Part Uno, all image credits above or below, are copyright me, via my iPhone 6c ... and all copyrights and rights reserved of the images presented, are held by NFL Properties and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who graciously and kindly granted every person to visit this exhibit, to snap away to their heart's content, so long as any publication of said exhibit, was attributed to the proper legal entities.  Duly noted!)

Super Bowl III is THE single biggest reason, this sport exists as it does today.  Love Gang Green or hate them?  They damned near single-handedly made the modern day NFL possible, by proving the AFL's best?

Was better than the NFL's best.

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The exhibit employee was right -- the moment I saw the opening to the room, I immediately needed to puke:


The fact that that man's name is appropriately and respectfully capitalized for the first time ever on this site, is so godd*mned offensive and wrong to me, it hurts to post that picture.  There is noone in life I have EVER hated more than john elway.  Not former boss Leif, not Dusty (although he's godd*mned close in that hate-o-meter), not former employee Josh, not even The Ex's Josh.

You will note all four, have their proper names capitalized.

john elway?

Never will on this site, save for this one tragic moment.

But having noted that?  The employee of this exhibit was right.

I needed to see this exhibit.

Because of what was in the display case, behind mr. elway's.

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I can't top dialogue like this:



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And since I can't, the moment that matters:

"Who is that?"
"Think about it, Sammy."
(Pause).
(The realization.)
"Boy, I tell you.  I'm the luckiest son of a b*tch on earth."

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The year was 1987.  This (at the time) incredibly hot as hell ten year old was just truly discovering his life-long passion for sports, and no team fueled his passion like the Kansas City Royals.  And no player captivated his (brett voice) "vivid imagination" ... like Vincent Edward Jackson.

To this day (hey, true story time!), I wear during the summer, my second favorite t-shirt I own, most weeks on Friday.  It is a throwback shirt.  It is grey, with blue lettering outlined in black.  There is nothing on the back, only 17 letters, and two numbers, on the front.

The letters spell "Kansas City" and "Jackson".

The number says "16".

Vincent.  Edward.  Jackson.

The single greatest player I will ever have the privilege of watching play a sport -- and pick which sport suits you best, baseball or football.

Vincent.  Edward.  Jackson.

Or "as the kids call him" ... Bo.

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It may have been a Saturday when I visited the Gridiron Glory exhibit, but I had that Bo Jackson t-shirt on, when that employee stopped me, noted my gear, and made the comments he did.

Because inside a room that you had to somehow choke down the repulsion and vile hatred of john elway to enter, was a case devoted to the greatness that was Bo.

The front:


And the back:


(Note: ignore for now that white t-shirt with the yellow letter "ay" in the top left corner.  We're coming to that t-shirt momentarily, in its own section.)

Vincent Edward Jackson is in the room, in a Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibit, with the greatest players and moments, in league history.

Ten year old me just nutted in his shorts ... even if ten year old me has no idea what that expression or feeling or reaction, means.

I literally stood, and then walked around, and then stared some more, at the Bo Jackson portion of this exhibit, for fifteen minutes.  Apparently it was noticeable, because I had to explain to Andrew who Bo Jackson was.  That, was ok with me.

Because his uncle Tom also had to explain to him who Bo Jackson was.  Tom is one of, if not the biggest, raiders fans you'll ever meet.  He comes in every year for the game against them (along for at least a few others).  I had to stand and listen to a raiders fan attempt to explain to someone who wouldn't get it, just how epic, how awesome, how incredible, how awe-inspiring, how game-changing, Bo was.

Only from the enemy's perspective.

Funny -- Tom's thoughts on Bo?  Pretty much mirror mine.

Greatest athlete we'll ever see.

Career tragically cut short by David Fulcher, who should fry in the electric chair for that tackle, in the 1990 AFC Divisional Round game that ended Bo's football career, ended Bo's Royals career, and left him a shell of the greatest that he was.

If my buddy Jasson -- THE biggest Bo Jackson fan you'll ever meet -- if he wants to attempt to explain in the comments portion of this post who Bo Jackson was?

Just like with anything Mr. Reason submits, I'll leave it unedited for anything other than font and text size.

And just like with anything Mr. Reason submits?  If you want your own post?  It's yours.

Bo Jackson was the greatest athlete I ever watched play, and ever will watch play, at any sport in person.  I have seen Kobe.  I have seen MJ.  I have seen damned near every meaningful NFL or MLB player.  I've seen Tiger, I've seen Phil (although not as intimately or epically, as "The Voice of Reason", and whatever nickname Tim deserves on this site, did).  I've seen every meaning NASCAR or IndyCar driver at some point in the last thirty years.

I have not seen LBJ yet, and sadly will probably never see in person any of the male trifecta on the WTA of Nadal, Djokovic, or Federer.

But of anyone I've ever seen play?

Bo Jackson was the greatest.

Of that, I have no doubt.

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The worst athlete I've ever seen play?

Of course -- me!

But -- but -- the biggest sh*t talker, the biggest "brag but can't back it up" b.s.'er you'll ever seen on the field, court, or course of play?

Of course -- me!

Which is why, after exiting the "NFL Greatest" room (and we're still coming back to that t-shirt in the Bo Jackson exhibit with the yellow "AY" on it, at some point), I laughed out loud at seeing the rest of my group huddled around the next part of the tour.

You, the fan?

Can enter the replay booth, and judge a play, as if you were a NFL referee!!!

No, really -- you can!

As people that have had to endure multiple games listening to me (in my defense, usually correctly) analyze plays as they happen, and praise or blast the officials, it was time to put my money where my mouth is.

I was ordered into that booth, and ordered to photograph it.

Was I, El Stevo, at least as competent as your worst NFL head referee, on any given Thursday nighter nobody is watching, between Jacksonville and Minnesota?

The answer?

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First, let me say, the replay booth is awesome.  I'll never mock that thing again.

You enter the booth, and it feels like you're in a peep show inside an old-school massage parlor just off of Times Square.  ("But it's not a massage parlor like you think it is, sir!"  Sweet Jesus, for once, Norm MacDonald's classic comeback applies!)

This is what the booth truly looks like:


(Note: I love that Mike McCarthy, of all people, is highlighted in the photo above, of the benefits of replay.  That guy is a clueless bleeping idiot of all things replay.  Hell, he makes "Fat" Andy Reid look prescient and competent, when it comes to replay.)

Once you step in, you get the stall until the head of officiating is on the line:


For this exhibit, you then get the head of officiating, giving you a few plays to choose from, to determine if you can make the right call:


I chose the one barely discernable in the top left, "Complete or Incomplete".  I got a sweet, sweet pass from Cam Newton in Cincinnati a couple years ago, in which multiple things were in dispute:

(1) was it a legal catch (as in, receiver maintained control throughout the play).
(2) was it a legal catch (as in, receiver got both feet in bounds).
(3) was it a first down (it was a 3rd and 21 pass for 21 1/2 yards).

The ruling on the field was a completed catch.  I was informed by the video dude that once the sixty seconds started, everything would function EXACTLY as it would for a NFL referee on gameday:


Let's do this.  My angle options:


Those were the only options available.  I could watch each angle as much as I chose, but I only had sixty seconds of viewing time.  (Thankfully, the clock did not count against me, when I paused and chose a different angle.  It stopped and started, as I hit play or pause, on each viewing angle.)

I watched all of them.  After 43 seconds of viewing time, Arrogant Stevo was confident of his decision.  And I had three to choose from:

* Confirm: means that the initial ruling on the field was correct, and no further challenges are allowed.
* Stand: means there is no indisputable visual evidence to overturn the play based on the reason the play was challenged.  Note that on the play I was given, there were THREE possible reasons for the Bengals to challenge.  (They chose reason (2), in case you care.)  Had I ruled "Stand" (or, since I was being judged against the actual ruling by (of all people) Walt Coleman, had he ruled the play "stands", the Bengals could have challenged again based on reasons (1) or (3).  Or, I could have found for
* Reverse: means that the reason the play was challenged is correct, the initial ruling is wrong, and the play is reversed, with the challenging team not being charged a timeout.

No, really -- three to choose from, and my choice:


And the verdict?

Eff yeah!

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Coming (hopefully) tomorrow, Part Tres of this look back at ten days ago, and the ten days since, that close down the funnest summer I've enjoyed since 2011 (even if nothing other than one other day was recapped on this site).

In the final post of this series, you'll learn ...

* what did those two yellow "AY" letters in that t-shirt in the Bo Jackson exhibit mean ... and why did they make me laugh out loud?
* what was the second moment that (jim valvano voice) "moved my emotions to tears", on this tour?
* what was in the hallway, had you turned left, entering the exhibit?
* how much does a Dwayne Bowe Chiefs jersey sell for, at a Chiefs merchandise booth?
* what else happened these last ten days, that made this the best end-of-summer in years for me?  (Hint: a lot, two things most especially.  Read into "two things"?  Anything you want to, if you know me, and know my family.)

More intriguingly ...

* I still have to get the Fine 53 Roster Reactions for the Chiefs posted.
* I still have to get the Week One Predictions posted.
* I still have to get the 2015 NFL Predictions overall posted.

All by Thursday at 7pm CT.

So let's ask Captain Oats here:

Can I pull this off?

There's only one way to find out:

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