Big Lead Sports Bar


Pittsburgh Dominates Cleveland...Again

NFL Football. Peregrine Falcons. Whatever the occasion, Pittsburgh dominates Cleveland. And with the big Pittsburgh Passion-Cleveland Fusion playoff game going down this weekend, Andy Smith of Bugs and Cranks was on hand to provide the Mondesi's House readers with an awesome recap of the events.
Pittsburgh Passion 49, Cleveland Pulse 14
at Cupples Stadium
by Andy Smith
Girl power is back on the upswing. Hillary Clinton is leading the polls for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Spice Girls are reuniting, and the best football team in Pittsburgh is composed completely of people who do not possess Y chromosomes. That's right, the Pittsburgh Passion, who play in the National Women's Football Association, finished the regular season a perfect 8-0, then ripped through the first two round of the playoffs, downing their opponents by an average score of 48-6. With a trip to the World Championship Game and an undefeated season on the line Saturday night, as well as a playoff game against a team from Cleveland, well, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to see that in person.

The first surprise of my first ever women's professional football game? How about the line for tickets. My friends and I arrived at the stadium about 20 minutes before the kickoff expecting to breeze past the ticket window and into the stands. We ended up waiting in line for a good half hour before making it to the front of the line and securing our seats. We even missed the first few minutes of the game. I'm not sure if you knew this or not, but apparently Pittsburgh natives love their football. I would also like to note that the 30 minute wait was longer than any wait I've ever had for Pirates tickets, and the Passion weren't even giving out bobbleheads or shooting off fireworks.

The wait in line for tickets did give us a chance to come across these lovely ladies, who came to Cupples Stadium unwilling to settle for anything less than total annihilation of the Cleveland Fusion (aha! I finally found out their nickname!). I have no reason not to believe them when they say the two mugs in the picture were filled with hot coffee, just like I have no reason not to believe that they were late to the game because of construction, as opposed to say...slashing the tires of every vehicle in the vicinity with an Ohio license plate.

Pittsburgh Passion really is fun for the whole family, as I believe a player's mom and grandma worked the will call window.

My group finally made it inside, only to recoil in horror at the fact the Cleveland was ahead 7-0. The sinking feeling only got worse, when it was pointed out that this was a Pittsburgh football team playing in a conference championship game at home. If I'm not mistaken, those haven't worked out to well in the past. By the time defensive lineman #77 for Cleveland, Shanolen Kendall, trotted out onto the field, I was convinced all hope was lost. Kendall was a defensive lineman who looked like she'd swallowed Warren Sapp whole. Given her appearance and on-field demeanor, I was dubious that even Anthony Munoz in his prime could contain her when she decided to rush the passer.

Fortunately, my fears proved to be unfounded as Shanolen Kendall's bark turned out to be a lot worse than her bite, and it became readily apparent that Cleveland was no match physically for the Pittsburgh. Using predominantly run plays, the Passion marched for two consecutive touchdowns while holding the Fusion to back-to-back three and outs. Up by a score with the first quarter winding down, Passion QB Lisa Horton found a streaking Wilma Walton (pictured above) for a 48 yard touchdown pass to make it 22-7 Passion, and the rout was on. Walton came out of the game with the illustrious title of my favorite player. Not only does her name make her sound like a computer generated player in Madden, but her character would have 99 speed and 99 elusiveness. She would rival the virtual Devin Hester.

The happiest person in the stadium at the Passion's success was probably this guy. I'm assuming he was a member of the cheerleading squad, and not just an extra from the dance class in "Fame". My analysis is based on the fact that he kept motioning the crowd to its feet, as well as throwing water bottles, seat cushions and mini footballs into the stands. I suppose failed TV stars have done stranger things, though.

The quality of play was so high, it was easy to forget there was anything particularly unique about the game I was watching. One indication, though? All the pony tails sticking out of the helmets. Although the Passion could totally bring on Troy Polamalu as a ringer and no one would figure it out.

Speaking of the Steelers, I was happy to discover there was a player named Burress on the Passion's roster. I can confirm that she did not spike a ball on the five yard line while the play was still going on, however, I cannot confirm whether or not she has a problem with practicing on Mother's Day.

With two quarters completed, and the Passion up comfortably at 29-7, it was time for the requisite half time games. This particular one had both a mental and physical component, as contestants had to answer a trivia question then complete a passing drill. The passing drill, pictured above, involved knocking over two lemonade bottles with black and gold balloons attached. I call it the "Donovan McNabb" competition, as it requires the same skill set as throwing a swing pass at the feet of a receiver. No word on whether or not any of the contestants blew out a knee in the process, though.

Cleveland Fusion coach Romeo Crennel. Wait, that's not until next year....

One of the more amusing moments of the night came when the PA guy came over the loudspeaker telling fans how they could purchase official Pittsburgh Passion merchandise. Apparently, you can obtain most pieces of paraphernalia by visiting the Passion website. However, if you want to acquire a replica jersey, you can go about that by calling the team's general manager. Let's see you handle personalized merchandise requests Dave Littlefield and Ray Shero.

For some reason there was a large military presence on the sideline during the game. Initially I was worried that the terror alert level inside the stadium had been raised to orange without me knowing. However, I was soon calmed with the realization that the government's efforts were probably going better than every report suggested if the extremists were reduced to targeting a women's football conference championship game. Say this about the military men though, they were fascinated by their ability to use two water bottles as thunder sticks.

Nice try on the middle sign, but I don't think the Penguins 1993 Patrick Division title is exactly what the person who made it had in mind. At least the image of David Volek seeing this picture and becoming enraged eases some of the pain from that game 7 loss. Okay, not really.

The second half was basically a prolonged celebration as, the Passion continued to overwhelm Cleveland with their ground game, chewing up gobs of time in the process. Three more Pittsburgh touchdowns and a Cleveland turnover later, the 49-15 drubbing was complete and the Passion were off to face the Columbus Comets in the 2007 World Championship Game on July 21 in Nashville, Tennessee.

As the crowd danced to "Rocky Top," (get it? cause the championship game is played in Tennessee) one of the players dawned a straw cowboy hat and came over to show her appreciation to the crowd. She yelled some words of appreciation to the stands, and for a minute I wished Jim Gray was there to interview her and give her a microphone so we could hear what she was saying. Nope, just kidding. I would never wish for that.

A Pittsburgh team beating a Cleveland team by 34, and in the playoffs no less. It's a sight so touching it almost brings a tear to your eye.
For more of Andy's excellent work, visit him at Bugs and Cranks.


Gentlewhoadie Apt One said...

Despite my longtime efforts to make light of Mondesi's House and it's reliance on tips instead of insightful original writing, I commend my childhood friend Andy Smith and, by association, Mondesi's House.

Everybody knows that East Hills bus sports trivia was the breeding ground for today's great sports writers.

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

That's awesome how those lesbos were tailgating!

Anonymous said...

There's nothing quite like the charm of the former "South Stadium" with a young Cecil From Ceil Twp. taking the aluminium pitcher's mound for a game against South High in 1993.

If I recall, the goal line in the west end zone doubled as the 1st base line.

Ahhh, the City League.

In a related story....glad to see that, like that pretty gal's shirt said, Cleveland still sucks.