Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week 16 - Ask not what your Country can do for you, ask what you can do for your Country!

Early pictures of America's Game
The Tailgate flew into the city of Brotherly Mug on the tail end of the winter storm that pummeled the East Coast earlier in the week. This would be the Tailgate’s third time in four years attending what many consider the greatest rivalry in all of sports: The Army – Navy Game. Here are some stats on the game:

Total Series Games: 113
Series Record: Navy 57–Army 49–Tied 7
Series Began: 1890, Navy won, 24-0
Last Meeting: 2012, Navy won, 17-13
Current Streak: Navy, - 11

The Philly weather was not as welcoming as this soft California transplant would have desired, but it is December in the Mid Atlantic after all. On game day we experienced plummeting temps, snow and freezing rain. The Tailgate crew consisted of the usual Cliffside Park Mafia with Dons Carlucci and Capezutto hosting, KZX Fraternity Brothers from Frostburg State, West Pointers, Army buddies, other friends, family and a number of strap hangers. Well over 50 brave souls attended our annual ritual. The chow was a fusion of a Sopranos funeral feast meets Duck Dynasty family shindig:

  • Dino’s deer venison chili
  • Slicky’s grilled sausage and peppers & pulled pork
  • Rays – Chicken noodle soup
  • Frank the Tank’s smoked ribs and pulled pork
  • Brian Hawk’s old bay chicken wings
  • Beef’s cannolis
  • Trevor’s pretty people heated tent and open bar
  • Chicken Hawk’s – spicy bloody marys

Our food was top notch!
The Army Navy rivalry cannot be described justly in words by me each year in this blog. I highly recommend this event to all sports fans, not just CFB diehards. You will feel and experience many things at this spectacle that you will never get anywhere else. The patriotism, the pride, the honor, the camaraderie. It will reinforce to you what America is all about: Sacrifice and hard work, not hand outs and entitlements. The Cadets and Midshipmen represent the best of our youth and have worked hard to achieve that status. Upon graduation, they will all sail or march off into duty for their country. Some will lay down their lives providing the ultimate sacrifice for this Nation. These young men and women are such a dichotomy to much of today’s brainwashed entitled, blame others youth.  I must say it is encouraging that we still have hope when you meet these impressive young people. The game is not about the product on the field these days. It is much more than that. There was a time when the Academies did compete at the highest level of CFB. With the riches the NFL offers today, the best athletes coming out of High School look for other institutions to help them achieve their dreams. Nonetheless, you won’t find many teams that work harder with what they have then Army and Navy.
The Boss, Slicky, the world's oldest LT and Dino

The Capos

Bobo, Horsey & Hawk

The pretty people tent

Frozen Bloggers

P Tater, Steve O, Frank the Tank and Brian Hawk

Lt. Cap and Dan
John and Trevor

Ray, the angry little Elf host!
Ox holding court

The Brothers Hawk

Part of the crew
We were treated to three different Blue Angel flyovers of 6 birds each prior to the kickoff. Had my cranial cap had any hair, it would have stood straight up. It is absolutely awe inspiring to see close air support so personal and up close. Oooooooo rahhhhhhh & Hoooooo ahhhh! The second flyover was accompanied by 4 Apache Helios flying over. “Don’t mess with the USA”. For the coin toss, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel flipped the coin that President Kennedy was scheduled to flip 50 years ago at what is considered one of the best Army navy games ever. The coin survived and was provided to be part of the day’s ceremony. When I looked around the stadium knowing at least half of the 80,000 fans had served or are still serving the USA, I felt proud, patriotic and pretty damn safe.

Decked out in my new -40 below winter boots, high tech thermals and terrorist balaclava mask I was all set to take on the elements. I strategically sat between two of my biggest pals that make me look like a pencil neck geek for wind blockage: Frostburg State football legends Bo Bo Grega and Horsey Van Orden in the club level of the Link. All told, the three of us were a biscuit shy of 1,000 pounds of fun. 
The Navy bench
My wind blocks
With the snow falling and the temps dropping we noticed many people left for the warmth of the inside bar area in the club level. We braved it through the first half and eventually thought it would be a good idea to follow those people we just got done calling wusses. On the field, Navy dominated the action from start to finish. As has been the Achilles heel for Amy under Coach Ellerson, the Cadets turned the ball over too many times to compete against a more disciplined Midshipman squad. In the warmth of the club level we continued to hydrate, tell our exaggerated college stories and watched the second half on the many flat screens. 
Warm, dry and hydrated
Some in our crew refused to leave their seats in the elements and braved it all the way to the singing of the respective alma maters. Navy QB Keenan Reynolds was unstoppable scoring three of the Middies TDs leading his team to their 12th straight victory over Army. Final score Navy 34 -7. This may have been Ellerson’s last stand for West Point.

In other news around the Country, - Little St. Nick decides to stay in T Town and not go to Austin. Across the great state of Alabama the chant of Yule Tide Yule could be heard as Tide nation got itself an early Christmas gift with Nicky’s presser stating that he is staying put. It was also announced that Bama ticket prices will see a dramatic price increase next fall. I don’t see the connection there. DFT loyalist Alabama Al and his family were so ecstatic about Saban’s news that they produced a video that has already gone viral on youtube

Mack gets knifed in the back in Austin and decides to step down. The new drama and dead horse to beat is his potential replacement candidate list. Boise gets former OC Brian Harsin to fill the large shoes vacated by Coach Pete. Notre Dame will have the services again of Everett “Einstein” Golson after he was readmitted. Speaking of Notre Dame, DC Bob Diaco is leaving to resurrect the ruins of the UConn program in Storrs Connecticut. Jameis Winston or J Wizzle wins the Heisman in a landslide. Did anyone understand a thing he said during his acceptance speech?  I thought the drinking age in NY was 21.

Bieber Award – After committing to going to the Rose Bowl with my Nephew Nate who is a Michigan State Student, I embarked on a search to find a ticket for the game. After scouring Stub Hub, Ticketmaster, Craigslist, E-Bay and other sites it became apparent that this would not be a cheap ticket. It appears the dealers snapped up every last ticket they could leaving a shortage in the market. Each day the prices increased as the volume decreased. Minimum price is now around $750 for this game. Reminder, this is not the National Championship, this is a bridesmaid bowl. I will not panic, I will be patient and wait for someone to offer me a reasonably priced ticket either prior to game day or at the stadium. So this week’s Bieber goes to the Ticket Brokers for inconveniencing me.

Next up – The Tailgate’s next live event will be the Kraft Bowl in San Francisco on 12/27 with Commander Winterseen and his Regiment. There will not be a Blog entry next Sunday. Merry Christmas to you all!

Happy Tailgating!