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December 4, 2023

Anthing can happen here on Monday

About 20 years ago, there was a popular program on TV called

Real People.

It wasn’t a precursor to reality TV. It was more like


with a humorous twist, a

60 Minutes

style show reporting on unique individuals and downright wacky
About 20 years ago, there was a popular program on TV called “Real People.” It wasn’t a precursor to reality TV. It was more like “20/20” with a humorous twist, a “60 Minutes” style show reporting on unique individuals and downright wacky folks.

Whenever I watch a Monday Night Football game, I can’t help but think of that show. One time they covered a group of football fans who launched a grass roots campaign to make the NFL schedule Super Bowls, traditionally played on Super Bowl Sunday, for Monday nights. Their reasoning ˆ “because anything can happen on Monday Night,” they argued.

Monday, Nov. 25, was no exception to that rule.

The Game

The first-place San Francisco 49ers – clad in throwback uniforms from decades past – hosted a Philadelphia Eagles team playing without its clear leader, All-Pro Quarterback Donovan McNabb. McNabb, a gifted passer and runner, is out potentially for the season with a broken ankle, sustained last Sunday.

How badly were the Eagles supposed to miss McNabb tonight? Last week, the man threw four touchdowns on one leg. That’s how good he is.

Enter Koy Detmer, a mediocre backup at best who led the underdog Eagles into 3 Com Park Monday night as 7-point underdogs.

But anything can happen on Monday night. And it did. Detmer exploited a questionable 49er defensive backfield by throwing for two touchdowns, running for a third and completing 18 of 26 passes for 227 yards with no interceptions.

He played like McNabb.

But, remember, anything can happen on Monday night.

Detmer imitated McNabb a little bit too well, going down in the third quarter on a scary-looking play where a 49er defender threw Detmer to the turf, dislocating the elbow of his non-throwing arm.

After Detmer kicked and screamed on the grass as Eagle trainers tended to what most of us in the press box thought was a broken arm, the signal caller eventually began to leave the field in a cart.

Before Detmer and the cart could be driven off, Detmer’s entire Eagle team walked up to their fallen comrade greeting him with hugs, handshakes and an occasional pat on the head.

Impressed with his play and likely sympathizing for their playoff bound foe now down to its third string quarterback, the 49er defense also greeted Detmer on his way out.

It was a show of sportsmanship too rarely seen in any sport at any level.

Thank goodness anything can happen on Monday night.

With arguably the best defensive backfield in the NFC, the Eagles held San Francisco‚s passing game in check for four quarters and ended up routing the Niners last night 38-17.

In terms of the home team‚s play, the game was anything but memorable. But, uh-huh, anything can happen on Monday night.

My Life

I usually don’t cover football games for The Dispatch. I’m the education reporter here. Our sports editor, who is on vacation this week, asked me to fill in as a guest columnist just for the day.

The huge football fan that I am, I obliged. I just wasn’t too sure about how my wife would feel about it.

Hardly ever, except maybe Super Bowl Sunday, does Christine become a football widow. I always let televised football games be the bottom priority on our weekend to-do list.

But anything can happen on Monday night.

Complicating matters is that my wife still lives in San Diego, finishing out a teaching contract. She has the week off for Thanksgiving and flew up north just to see me.

You see, she’s here to see me and I go off to watch football. That usually doesn’t fly, but I have a great wife and, that’s right, anything can happen on Monday night.

I explained to Christine that it wasn’t just a football game I was ditching her for. This was live NFL football seen from above the 50-yard line.

Usually, I told her, I cook for myself and watch the game on a 20-inch TV at home.

But this would be free food – roast beef, mashed potatoes, stuffing (at least it tasted that way), peas and salad, incidentally. It would be dessert ˆ pumpkin mousse cheesecake with Starbucks coffee (not brewed quite as strong as in the store). It would be snacks after dessert, which is when for the first time in my life I had a hot dog with mustard, onions and relish on one side, and chili and cheese on the other (Yeah, I kept it down).

I also told her, “Sweetie, you know I‚m doing this for work.”

Christine sent me on my way, pretty much with her blessing. Apparently she bought the “doing it for work line” because she used her free time Monday night to watch professional development videos for her teaching job back in San Diego.

I thought I’d come home to a little bit of a cold shoulder. Instead, I came home to a warm body tucked underneath a fleece blanket atop our new couch. Sound asleep, Christine awoke to a 49er media pass held in front of her face. She smiled and didn’t even bat an eye.

Anything can happen on Monday night.

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