Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Giants Football & Perfect Pizza

One of my favorite memories of watching NYG’s football involves a Monday Night loss to the 49ers, my father, and the perfect homemade pizza. It was 1990, week 13 of the NFL Season. Both the Giants and 49ers had gotten off to a 10.0 start, then both lost in week 12, setting up the “Almost” Perfect matchup for MNF. Since everybody was a 49er fan back then, and I was a loudmouth Giant lover, I got beaten up pretty severely on the bus ride home that November Monday.

After getting off the bus, licking my wounds, I ran up the back hill of my yard, into the back door. My father was in the kitchen, which I did not expect, since he worked 2nd shift back then. But he had taken the day off, excited because I was excited about MNF. He promised to make one of his famous homemade pizzas for the game. But, of course, I had to get my homework done first.

Fast forward to 9PM, cue the MNF music, Al, Frank, and Dan from the broadcasters' box. The game was played at Candlestick Park in S.F., and I was ready. The pizza came out soon after, and it was the most perfect pizza I’d ever tasted, I still remember that. My father couldn’t otherwise cook to save his life, but he was Wolfgang Puck when it came to making pizzas. He had a whole system, with garlic sprinkled in and a screened pan he used to get the crust oh-so crispy. His pizzas were always great, but like I said, this pizza, that night, was his Sistine Chapel.

The actual game was a punt fest, final score: 7-3, a game the Giants should’ve won, if Jumbo Elliott, a lineman I know, didn’t drop a wide open lob in the end zone. At the end of the game, when Simms’ last gasp fell short, he jawed with Ronnie Lott on the field, and it ended, and just like that the Giants had a two-game losing streak and Montana’s 49ers were the front runners for Tampa. The pizza was gone, and my father was snoring on the couch. But I knew, even at that young age, that the season was far from finished. I knew the Giants would have the last laugh.

The next morning I was pummeled to a pulp by all those “diehard” 49ers fans, who soon after became Cowboys and Steelers fans. But in the end I had the last laugh, like my team, when the NYG’s avenged that MNF loss, beating the 49ers, on all field goals, in the NFC Championship (they didn't score a single TD in 2 games), then avenged another reg. season loss against the Bills, a loss that cost us QB Phil Simms, by nipping Buffalo in SB25. I cried like a baby that night. I cried 17 years later when they did it in Glendale against the Patriots, and I’m gonna cry again Sunday night when they finish the job this season, a season that everyone predicated would be Coughlin's last (yeah right), and I promise they will.

Now that I’m an adult, I tried a few times to make the perfect MNF pizza, the same way my dad did, but it never works out as well. It’s either overcooked, undercooked, the dough is too bloaty, too much cheese, you get the idea. After that, we order out. How's that for generational decline? I wish I could call him for instructions, or have him come to my home, and recreate the masterpieces from my youth on my stove, but that’s just not possible, wish it was. The man, and his garlic and screened pan, are gone for good.

As for the bus-ride beatings I took for defending the Giants as a kid, guess what? I’m still taking them today. This week when I got through to the Mad Dog’s Morning Radio Sports Show, I told the two clowns hosting that Eli Manning isn’t a good QB, he isn’t a great QB, he’s the best QB in the NFL. They hung up on me. But that’s OK. I know the truth today, same way I knew the truth as I was getting my head banged between the bus seat and row of windows. I'll have the last laugh. True Blue Forever.

Giants 34, Patriots 20.

Watch the 1990 MNF Game:

Then Watch the Revenge:

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Brian Huba

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