Sunday 20 October 2019

Sleep deprivation as Eagles have landed

Weird Wide World of Sport

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles celebrates after winning Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles celebrates after winning Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots

Dave Devereux

What a weekend of sport, with late, late drama the order of the day.

From Jonathan Sexton having the balls of a Blue Whale to land an unbelievable last-gasp drop goal to break French hearts, to Liverpool seemingly snatching victory at Anfield against Spurs, before letting it slip from the grasp like an eel coated in vasoline, there certainly was plenty to get the old ticker pumping.

Given my sometimes peculiar working hours and the pressure of reaching deadlines, staving off tiredness has almost become an art form for yours truly, but staying awake during Justin Timberlake's half-time show at the Super Bowl was as tough as it comes.

'Can't Stop the Feeling' he bellowed out at me as I sat fixated with match sticks keeping my eyelids from heading towards Antarctica. I'm presuming it was the feeling of nausea from watching the show he was referring to, or maybe it was just something I ate.

Midway through viewing an exhilarating contest, the last thing you want is some prince of pop prancing around like the star turn from the Billy Barry Stage School's Christmas pantomime.

I know it's all part of the spectacle and knitted into the fabric of the American way, but if Croke Park ever went down that route I'd choose to watch on TV rather than being there, because at least you can exit stage left to stick the kettle on.

The thoughts of Ronan Keating belting out 'Life is a Rollercoaster' at GAA headquarters is enough for me to break out into a cold sweat.

When I go to a sporting event, it's the sport I want to see.

I'll save the all-singing, all-dancing shenanigans for the kids' school concert or perhaps a summer festival on a remote farm somewhere.

Now the half-time entertainment during the Wexford-Cork game on Sunday afternoon was something worth watching in the flesh - swarms of delighted kids with hurls in hands rushing on to the green swathes of the pitch for some precious time on the hallowed turf, and who knows, a future Lee Chin or Patrick Horgan may have been among them.

Anyway, back to what had me up in the wee hours and burning the candle at both ends, the sensational Super Bowl showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. I'll be the first to admit I'm no expert on gridiron and have not been completely swept up in the American football craze that seems to have invaded these shores in recent times.

Generally, tuning into the BBC's highlights programme after Match of the Day as Saturday night seeps into Sunday morning would be my weekly digest of the sport, but when the showcase game comes around I'm willing to forego a few hours' sleep for the big occasion.

Going to bed at close to 4 a.m. when you've to be up for work at half six is probably not the healthiest approach, but hey, sometimes you've just gotta roll with it, and mercifully the game was well worth the sacrifice.

If the flip side dictates that I have to work in an almost zombie-like state and am reduced to spouting nonsensical drivel, that's the price I have to pay, and what's new you might say?

An unfazed Nick Foles was a real joy to watch as he eclipsed the also-brilliant Tom Brady, summoning up all sorts of passes with pinpoint accuracy and even getting on the end of one himself, in a game that had more trick plays than a David Blaine matinee.

The only downside to the night was the confusion provided by the NFL's catch rule, which at times rivals VAR for its complete cloudiness.

When commentators, presenters and studio guests are undecided about what's the correct call, you know you have a grey area that needs to be black or white.

That said, it merely added to the excitement of what was a game beautifully woven together with a myriad of unbelievable offensive play.

But for all the attacking prowess, it was a piece of brilliant defence that ultimately swung the game back Philadelphia's way after the Patriots had taken the lead for the first time (33-32) in the fourth quarter, prompting the over-exited commentator to exclaim 'this game has been as good as Justin Timberlake', a bit like comparing Barcelona to a Sunday pub league outfit.

The pivotal moment came when Brandon Graham ripped the ball from Brady's grasp, when it looked like the veteran quarterback was ready to summon up one of his famous late championship-winning miracles.

The Eagles went on to win 41-33, finally ending their long wait, and I haven't been this fond of Philadelphia since I used to spread it on my Digestive biscuit way back when I was in short pants.

At the end of the game the camera panned around to famous Eagles fan, actor Bradley Cooper, who wore a smile as wide at the Delaware River.

Right now I feel like I have a Hangover due to lack of sleep.

Wexford People