By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
"Don't tell me what to ask. Fuck you."
"Fuck you! . . . Yeah, boy, you betterget far."
"What are you gonna do, huh?"
At which point the Jets' alert PR staff swooped in and gently hustled the reporter away before he could find out.
"Sorry you had to see that," said Coles, who, incidentally, was wearing a sequined Pink Panther T-shirt throughout the exchange. I debated, but ultimately decided against, asking him to show me his tits.
I watched the playoffsthe way the NFL is meant to be watched: on TV, with beer. The length alone made the back-to-back games feel like a real eventseven hours of football (or rather, about three hours of football and roughly four hours of that excruciating Chevy ad featuring John Mellencamp's "Our Country").
On the screen, I could pick up details I'd have missed at the stadiumjust how much Eagles QB Jeff Garcia resembles my 45-year-old 11th-grade earth science teacher, for example (you have no idea until he takes off his helmet). Also, reading Jeremy Shockey's lips after a failed play is fun, educational, and perfect for drinking games. The trade-off is enduring Fox's epileptic-fit-inducing on-field graphics, shameless plugs for 24, and random animated-robot prancing on the side of my screen. Whoever directs Fox's sports coverage is suffering from some combination of attention deficit disorder, megalomania, or a severe sugar high.
Jets fans are not optimistic people, and while they were disappointed with their team's 37-16 loss to the Patriots, very few of them seemed surprised. Instead, they were relieved and grateful that the season hadn't been a putrid disaster, as expected. The Pats' Tom Brady, object of passionate yet manly adoration from sportscasters everywhere, ran another excellent game, precisely orchestrated by Belichick. Afterward, the flinty New England coach hurled cameramen out of his way in order to briefly encircle Mangini with his forearms, a perplexing and unfamiliar gesture that bore a superficial resemblance to a hug.
Shortly thereafter, the Giants played a respectable but futile game against the Philadelphia Eagles, who beat them 23-20 in the final seconds.
Eli Manning was unimpressive but, to everyone's visible relief, kept the game from spiraling out of control. The loss left Tom Coughlin's future with the team in doubt, but since he looks to be one more interception away from a massive mental and physical breakdown, perhaps a forced vacation would be for the best. Meanwhile, Tiki Barber survived one last series of crushing blows and, with thoughts of lucrative television contracts dancing in his head, was unable to suppress a smile after the loss. "It's a game," he said afterward, "and now it's done. I'm excited about life."
I'm excited about pitchers and catchers.