"Episode 1" - April 12
We have had the Battle of
the Network Stars! We will be having Battle of the
Reality Stars! In between, we will now have Battle of
the Grid Iron Stars! This is Gordon Pepper, and although
I do not sound like Howard Cosell, I will try to
commentate in my own style.
We don't have any competing television networks here,
but we do have 2 teams - the Americans and the
Nationals. This, of course, represents the American
Football Conference and the National Football Conference
of the National Football League. These two sides will be
competing against each other. The Americans will be
captained by Ken Stabler, while the Nationals will be
commandeered by Saints great Archie Manning. Archie
Manning? This ought to be interesting...
We come to you from Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida
as Joe Theissman and Kirk Herbstreit puts us through the
paces as hosts. There are 2 types of scoring - the
weekly awards and the cumulative awards. In the weekly
awards, there are 4 events. The first 3 are each worth 1
point, while the last event in each show is worth 2
points. In the cumulative awards, the team with the most
points at the end of the series will be declared the
As for the teams, let's take a look-see...
Peyton Manning - Quarterback, and going up against daddy
Archie, who's coaching the Nationals.
Deion Branch - Wide Receiver
Byron Leftwich - Quarterback
Hines Ward - Wide Receiver
Takeo Spikes - Linebacker
Chad Johnson - Wide Receiver Troy Brown - Wide Receiver,
Defensive Back, Punt Returner, and whatever the heck
else he wants to play
Joey Porter - Outside Linebacker
Marvin Harrison - Wide Receiver
Donnie Edwards - Linebacker. Nice to see that he wasn't
too injured from the season to participate in this
And the Nationals -
Brian Dawkins - Freelance Safety
Laveranues Coles - Wide Receiver
Brian Westbrook - Running Back
Alge Crumpler - Tight End
Julius Jones - Running Back
Jason Witten - Tight End
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila - Defensive End. I probably spelled
it wrong. No, I'm not saying that name fast 5 times.
Jeremiah Trotter - Middle Linebacker
Eli Manning - Quarterback, and apparently dad's favorite
Joe Horn - Wide Receiver
We start the event with the Tug-Of-War. It's the best 2
out of 3 matches. The game is based on strategy as well
as muscle - the matches are 5 on 5, 3 on 3 and 1 on 1.
To add to it, you can't play all 3 matches, so the
captains of the team have to choose wisely.
We start with the 5 on 5. For the Americans - Porter,
Johnson, P. Manning, Branch and Brown. For the Nationals
- Crumpler, Westbrook, Trotter, E. Manning and Horn.
This seems to favor the Nationals (indeed, as they had a
120 pound advantage), and it does, as the Americans get
routed. (Nationals lead, 1-0).
For the 3 on 3, the Nationals send out E. Manning,
Trotter and Crumpler Vs. The Americans P. Manning,
Branch and Porter. it looks like the Nationals are going
to cruise again, until Crumpler looses his grip on the
rope. Still, he recovers and the Nationals win the Tug
of War and win the first point. . The announcers say
that the American's show a lot of heart. Blah, blah,
blah, heart, blah, blah, blah, still no points.
(Nationals Lead, 1-0)
We are off to event #2, which is...bowling? You have the
Super Bowl, I guess, so why not? We get a montage of
gutter balls as we see how this works - each of the 5
players gets 2 frames. The team with the highest score
wins the event. The lineup is as follows - Nationals -
1/2 - Trotter, 3/4 - E. Manning, 5/6 - Horn, 7/8 -
Westbrook, 9/10 - Crumpler. Americans - 1/2 - Porter,
3/4 -Brown, 5/6 - P. Manning, 7/8 - Branch, 9/10 -
Johnson. If the line-ups look familiar,m they should -
these are the same 5 people who were in the Tug-of-War.
These guys are getting a good workout today.
Frame 1 - Porter gets a (3 -) for a 3. Trotter counters
that with a (7 -) for a 7. Frame 2 - Porter redeems
himself with a X, while Trotter gets a (5 /). Nationals
lead, 17 (+ /) -13 (+ X) .
Frame 3 - Brown gutters on the first ball, but redeems
himself with a spare (33 + /). Eli almost gets the
double, but goes (9 -) and is now trailing, (33 + / Vs.
35). Frame 4 - A 90 from Brown gives the Americans a
score of 51, while a 3,4 from Eli moves the Americans up
Frame 5 - Horn, with a 9 total, chips 2 pins off of
Peyton's 7 total, but the Nationals are still trailing
58-51. Frame 6 - Peyton leaves the 4-6 split, and with a
score of 67, leaves the door open for Horn. Horn
capitalizes with the strike and the Americans can take
the lead with good count in the 7 (61 + X).
Frame 7 - Branch gets a little 3, then another little 3
for a score of 73. Westbrook does not get good count so
far with a 1 on the first ball, but he gets a second
chance. He gets 6 more, which gives them a 75-73 lead.
Frame 8 - Branch picks up a 7 /, which forces Westbrook
to get a mark to keep the lead. Westbrook leaves the 6
pin and has to convert. He doesn't, and the Americans go
Frame 9 - ...but not by much, because Johnson only gets
a 1 on the spare. Crumpler needs 8 to take the lead,
and...gutterball. Try #2...9, and the Nationals go up by
2, 93-91. Frame 10 - Johnson gets the first strike, only
gets 1 on the first, but a 5 on the second gives them a
107. That forces Crumpler to mark...which he does with a
big strike on the first ball. Crumpler now needs a
combination of 5 pins in the next 2 balls to win, but
the first ball goes in the gutter and here comes the
trash talking by the Americans. The second ball
gets...7, and the Nationals pull it out, by a score of
110-107. (Nationals lead, 2-0).
The Americans need to win the third event, which is the
Climbing Wall, or the Nationals will have an
insurmountable 3-0 lead for the first episode of the
series. Here's how the Wall works - 3 people from each
team climb up the wall to grab all 5 flags from the
obstacle course. The team gets a 0.5 second penalt y for
each flag missed, and the lowest cumulative time wins.
The Nationals send up Crumpler for the first round.
Peyton Manning goes for the Nationals. Peyton is not
exactly the quickest QB in the NFL, and although his
time of 16.79 is decent, it's not going to match
Meanwhile, Theissman talks to Manning, who says that he
feels a window of opportunity and that they need to
strengthen up on defense. He also says that it's amazing
that Eli is in the NFL and he is proud of him, though he
says that he can't help Eli on living in NYC. Peyton
says that this is the first time that he's directly
competed against Eli and that the Grid Iron stars
program is special to him for that reason.
Round 2 - Eli from the Nationals goes up against Porter
of the Americans. Is Eli faster than Peyton? No, because
Eli slips and falls all the way down. Porter gets up in
11.71, while Eli has a ridiculously slow 34.71. The 1.7
deficit is now a 21.3 second lead, and Trotter, who goes
next for the Nationals, throws his sweat pants in
Round 3 - Trotter decides to go anyways, while Johnson
decides to use his cell phone and call Horn for help.
Johnson tries to get up there until he gets blitzed by
Trotter and Horn, who replaces Johnson as the climber,
takes all of the flags from Johnson's side. Needless to
say, it's a DQ for the Nationals and the Americans
finally get a point. (Nationals still lead, 2-1).
It comes down to the Obstacle Course, as the winner of
that will be the winner of the episode. It's a 2 heat
event - the best cumulative time wins. This course has
the same stuff that most courses have - a 12 foot wall,
a water pit, the under/overs, culverts, blocking sled,
monkey batons, slalom pool, high jump, tires, catch a
short pass, over hurdles, and finally, catch a bomb
touchdown pass. Catching the pass stops the clock.
Announcer Sam Ryan asks Eli and Peyton who can throw the
ball further. This ends as you would think it would end
- with both of them bragging that they can. I am
guessing that they are throwing the bomb pass.
Crumpler is starting it for the Nationals, while Porter
is starting for the Americans. Brown and Westbrook will
be collecting the batons from the first relaymen. As we
start, Porter gets over the wall first and has no
problem with the over/unders. Crumpler makes up some
time with the monkey bar but Porter is well in the lead
when he passes the baton to Brown. Brown misses the pass
from Peyton, though, and he gets assessed a 5 second
penalty. That comes back to haunt him, because although
Westbrook doesn't cross the finish line first, he
doesn't make any mistakes and the Nationals bring a 3
second lead into the second and final heat.
Heat 2 - Horn (Nationals) and Johnson (Americans) start
it up. Horn says that the Americans will fade to Black,
while Johnson is going to put Horn in the shed. What
poet rappers we got here. Branch (American) and Trotter
(Nationals) are there at the half-way mark. Joe Horn
decides to forgo the wall to try to build a time lead,
but that backfires as Johnson manages to take the lead.
He goes to Branch, who is cruising through the course
and finishes it in a good 10 seconds past the Nationals.
That wipes out the 3 second advantage and it didn't
really matter about the penalties. Johnson calls himself
the dominant force, and adds that they better get used
to this position - the red team being in front of the
cameras at the end of each episode.
That may be true, but the same 5 people competed in
every event. Join us in 7 days to see if the Nationals
can catch up - or even more importantly, if we will see
any of the other 5 people on the other team even