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Happy Birthday To Me

Today is my birthday. Yes. Today I am eleventy-one years old.

(Well, no, not actually, though some days it feels like that).

I got some wonderful gifts to mark the day... from the New York Jets, the New York Giants, and Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys.

In the morning game, the Jets defeated the New England Patriots, long the bullies of the AFC East, who had been pushing Gang Green around on their own field for more games than I care to remember. But not today. A win is always swell, but a win over Evil Little Bill and his minions is especially sweet, since they have been so scarce this past decade. The game did not begin well for the Jets, who came out, looked terrible, and shot themselves in both feet in the first couple of series. But after that they settled down, and before long they were actually dominating.

The defense was amazing. Blitz, blitz, blitz. The last time I have seen so much pressure on a QB was when the Giants beat the Patriots in the SuperBowl, but these were the Jets. Tom Brady will usually eat you alive if you blitz too often, but not today. He looked dazed and lost by the final series. And Darryl Revis just OWNED Randy Moss. (Though once again Vernon Gholston's name was never mentioned. Did he even play? I'm not certain).

My brother in law was at the game. He's been a Jets season ticket holder for years, and he tells me he has never heard a Meadowlands crowd make so much noise. Rex Ryan gets credit for that as well. All hail Rex!

The defense won this game, but the offense also performed well, especially Mark Sanchez. I know, I know, he's only played two games, but right now trading up to grab him in the draft is looking like the best move the Jets have made since drafting Joe Namath.

As for the evening game... what can I say? Aside from the fact that I sufferered several heart attacks during the closing minutes. It was not, by any measure, an especially well-played game, but it sure was an exciting one... and how sweet it is to be able to open the Jerry Jones Palace of Excess by handing the hated Cowboys a loss!

It had to be one of the weirdest games I have ever watched, though. There were times I thought these must be teams from the Bizarro world. For most of the game the Cowboys stifled the vaunted two-headed Giants running attack by stuffing Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw again and again. That's not supposed to happen. On the other side of the ball, they gashed the Giants D with their own ground game. Felix Jones and Marion Barber kept breaking free for long runs. That's not supposed to happen either. The huge, slow, ponderous Cowboys offensive line kept the Giant pass-rushers at bay through the whole game. We failed to record a single sack, and Tony Romo always seemed to have plenty of time. That's DEFINITELY not supposed to happen. The Giants red zone offense sucked too, just as it did last week. We had first and goal on three or four occasions, and came away with field goals every time. We had one interception TD taken away by the ref's whistle, and our field goal kicker missed a gimme kick at one point, so a good drive ended with nothing.

With all these calamities, you would have to figure the game was a Dallas blowout. And, hey, maybe it should have been. But thankfully, we had Eli Manning and they had Tony Romo. Tony must have known that it was my birthday, since he kept giving the Giants gifts. Three interceptions, I think. (There was a fumble too, so there were four Cowboy turnovers). Two of the picks were just awful throws. The third was a freakish thing where the ball bounced off the back of Jason Witten's ankle right into the hands of Kenny Phillips, who ran it back for the TD that the refs took away.

And that wasn't even the most freakish play in the game. That had to be Eli's long TD pass to Mario Manningham, which MM dropped, juggled, and somehow managed to catch again while sliding on his butt through the endzone. Not exactly classic form, but hey, it counted for six points just the same. Manningham had nine other catches, for ten total, and The Other Steve Smith had ten as well, the first time in the long and storied history of the Giants that they have ever had two receivers both catch ten balls in a game. Plaxico who? I think the Giants have found their starting tandem... and when Hakeem Nicks comes back from his injury and Ramses Barden gets a bit more seasoning, we could have one of the most dangerous receiving corps in the league.

The other great thing in the game was Eli Manning. With the running game shut down, it all fell on his shoulders, and he came through magnificently, especially in the fourth quarter.

In the end, though, it all came down to a field goal try with four seconds left. The Scottish Kicker (theater folk always refer to Macbeth as the Scottish Play, since it is thought to be bad luck to mention the actual name, and I have decided the same rule should apply to the Giants kicker) had missed a field goal earlier, so it was no sure thing. And sure enough, his kick only cleared the goal post by inches, stopping my heart for a second before the refs raised their arms to signal it was good... and then he had to do it all over again, since Wade Phillips had called a timeout a split second before the kick, a bush league move that has become popular with some coaches these last couple of years. Wade deserved to lose for that alone. And thankfully he did: the Scottish Kicker's second attempt was dead straight down the middle. Giants win, 33-31!

Life IS magical and full of joy. At least today.



( 203 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 21st, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday, Mr. Martin^^

I wish you lots of happiness, health and wealth. Have a nice day
Sep. 21st, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday G.R.R.M!
I hope you have a lovely day and an even better year until your next birthday :)

From a Danish fan
Sep. 21st, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday!
Sep. 21st, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
oh nice day then
Happy Birthday George and hundreds as this day
Can I have some pie??? LOL ;-)
Sep. 21st, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday!
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
George, very very very happy birthday. My daughter is from 9/20 too, and yesterday we made her little party (ten years only...). I'm finishing today A feast of crows.... I'm crazy with your books, here in the far south (I'm from Argentina...)
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday Mr Martin
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
The Gods of Football (or Romo) were not going to let my team win that game last night. They must be angry with the new Death Star. Enjoy it while it lasts, they'll be back.
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
Ruth Lyons
"So today is your birthday that is what I've been told.
What a wonderful Birthday you are one more year old.
On you cake there will be candles all lighted for you.
And the whole world will be singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!"

You can thank the original Oprah for that one.

Ruth Lyons, 50/50 club Cincinnati, Ohio

It's a fun song to add to the end of the traditional Happy Birthday song.

Have a great day George and my Bengals finally didn't blow it.
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
I don't recall "icing" ever working against a kicker. These are professionals. Really.

I will always dislike the Cowboys, so any time they lose, I celebrate.

But being a Tampa Bay Buc fan is going to be difficult this season.
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday George! You received two quality presents! I'm not a Jets fan but I was excited they beat the hated Patriots. I switched between that game and the Cardinals (my NFC team). Made for a wonderful morning.

Then in the afternoon, my AFC team found their kicker couldn't buy a field goal. When a kicker single-handedly loses a game I think the rest of the team should be allowed to line up and punch the guy in the arm as hard as they can.

Gratz on both your teams at 2-0!
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday Gorge :)
Wish you happiness and health
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
Happy (belated) birthday to you from a fan out of Belgium.
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
Happy belated birthday! ^______^
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
Bizzaro Game
I think Romo essentially gave the Giants more points than Eli.

If Parcells had been there, for the Cowboys, he'd have pulled Romo out of there to slap him with the idea that he needed to get his stuff together. I think Phillips needs to care less about the players emotions or whatever and just do what needs to be done to win games. Romo was a liability throughout the game. It didn't help that whenever he managed to throw something on target, the ball was dropped. But I think the receivers were hesitant because they're getting ready for balls to be thrown behind them or really high.

I really want the Cowboys to have a great team again. Oh well, maybe in another 20 years we'll get there.

Happy B-day. I think Romo gifting you is probably a better excuse than anything else he can come up with.
Sep. 21st, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday, George. Glad your teams pulled out victories for you.
Sep. 21st, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
You wrote me an encouraging letter back when I was a kid and wanted to become a writer after reading Wild Cards. The letter is lost in moving boxes now, but the encouragement has stuck with me.

Thanks for that, and for all the great stories.

A very happy birthday to you!
Sep. 21st, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
I guess Dallas can't blame TO for this one.
Manning is a Superbowl quarterback. Romo isn't. Sad (for Dallas fans) but true.
Sep. 21st, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday George! It sounds like it was a particularly magical and joyful day. Well, not for my Panthers, but that's neither here nor there. I managed to catch the tail end of the Giants game; it was pretty intense.
Sep. 21st, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Happy belated birthday, sir!
Sep. 21st, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
That win was a gift from Tony Romo to you for your birthday. Next time will be different!
Sep. 21st, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
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( 203 comments — Leave a comment )


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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