Sunday, February 04, 2007

Off The Bench at Super Bowl XLI ™

Lots of hit and run here. Sorry, I know that’s a baseball metaphor, but deal with it.

It’s weird to watch the you-know-what at home. Every year since 1990 (Game number XV) I’ve watched the game at my in-laws house. This year, we’re watching it in our own home. The downside is that my in-laws have a monster TV. We have a 27-inch. Ouch.

Finally, six hours and 24 minutes of pregame stuff, it’s show time.

Holy cow…Devin Hester. Yikes. No “big game” has ever started like that. For Jim Nantz, on CBS, in his first Super Bowl, he had no chance for nerves. Called exceptionally.

I was just getting ready to comment on how Adam Vinatieri was kicking off in his fifth Super Bowl, and wondering what Bill Belichick thought. Then CBS offered a replay of a despondent Vinatieri after Hester flew by. He who laughs last. Incidentally Vinatieri called the kickoff (tails) and was wrong.

Geez, I haven’t even offered my pregame thoughts. Since we got home around 2:30 or so, I figured I’d put the pregame show on the background. For the most part, I didn’t have too many complaints. I feel for CBS in terms of the technical problems.
As I’ve said – been there, done that. The interview with Brian Urlacher and Solomon Wilcots was laughable. We heard his last words but nothing more. Of particular note to me was the segment on Brian Piccolo and Walter Payton – two Bears running backs who died far too young. I found that to be especially emotional. Bill Cowher was a decent analyst and with some polish could have himself another job if he wanted. Selfishly I also enjoyed the Hines Ward story, but it seemed unnecessary. Most of the other stuff was just window dressing.

Billy Joel’s anthem was well done, but his voice was not its best.

Peyton Manning does not look sharp early on. Nearly picked off twice in the opening drive.

The he did get intercepted. Uh oh.

Simms and Nantz have pointed out what I knew. This is a Bears crowd. They think it’s three-quarters Bears, which is at least what it was for the Steelers last year in Detroit.

Incidentally, I had to wear my Ben Roethlisberger jersey today, and the Steelers flag is flying outside. Even if they weren’t the defending champions, I’d still fly the flag. Gotta show the pride.

OK, first real commercial break. Bud Light spot was hysterical. Rock, paper, scissors indeed. I don’t like their beer but I like their commercials.

I hate these CBS player intros. I prefer the ones employed by NBC, in the spirit of the recent Monday Night Football ones on ABC.

Breakdown in defense, and Manning now has a touchdown to go along with his pick. The wet ball, I think, caused a missed extra point. Bears lead 7-6.

OK, I’m into it. I knew I just needed to get things going.

Early review from me – the commercials generally suck. The FedEx moon spot was cute, but nothing grand.

Would you believe that a telemarketer just called? It was, supposedly, the Fraternal Order of Police. I politely said that I was sitting down to dinner (true) but what the hell is he doing calling tonight? I will not be giving them any money any time soon.

OK, the David Letterman/Oprah promo was great. Best laugh I’d had so far.

I’ve watched every game since number XII (1978). This is, by far, the worst weather I can remember. It’s pouring rain, and the crowd is not allowed to bring umbrellas to the game.

First questionable call of the night, on a sideline catch. The striped shirts ruled a push out and a completion. In Seattle, Mike Holmgren says that it cost him this year’s Super Bowl.

By the way, it’s 14-6 Bears at this point.

Another turnover, and it’s Indy’s ball. They just can’t get a rhythm going however.

Thanks to the wife for a super meal (no trademark). Hot dogs, chili, mozzarella sticks, and, yes, a salad. All-American here, for sure!

The Son is here as well, but really isn’t watching. Once he figured out the Steelers weren’t playing, he lost interest.

I wanted to have a drinking game for how many times we saw the Manning family. Instead, I’m thinking we should go for drinks ever time there is a CBS show promo.

Following a shot of three CBS sitcom stars in the stands, Simms offered that the show can’t be that good yet, or else they wouldn’t in the stands; they’d be in a suite. Great line.

One quarter in the books – 14-6 Chicago. I have a vested interest in one pool – my mom’s. She didn’t win the first quarter score.

After a Vinatieri field goal, it’s 14-9.

The commercials keep getting dumber. The list is too long for me to calculate.

Look I’m thrilled that The Police are reuniting, but how soon before I’m sick of them? Not just because of the Grammy’s, and what not, because of just how many times The Wife will play them. Of course, that will lead to the inevitable attempt to buy tickets. Can’t decide if I want us to score or not.

The Bears just had another three and out. Neither team can get going. This is brutally ugly so far.

Career Builder – well done! The old “it’s a jungle out there” concept, with the Security Office telling people to “Sign out please” as they run by.

Simms and Nantz have developed great chemistry. You can tell they like working with each other. Now some dopey executive will break them up.

This rain is a nightmare. I’m now convinced that this is the worst “big game” weather ever. The cameras are having trouble staying dry and clear. If I recall correctly, Game VII in Houston was cold, as was Game IX, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The game was only held there because the Superdome wasn’t ready yet. They’d come back for game XII.

First lead for the Colts. A big pass to Marvin Harrison set it up, then another pass to Dallas Clark. I said yesterday to Ricky Fritsch that I thought Harrison was a big key to this game. For a nearly legendary receiver, he has never been good in playoff games. Gee, any chance that contributed to Peyton Manning’s previous postseason problems?

The commercials having some better moments. The GM spot with the robotic arm was good, but then Coke went for the PC angle with a Black History Month spot. Lame.

Cedric Benson is apparently done with a knee injury. The Bears seem to be passing the ball now, and Rex Grossman isn’t setting the world on fire.

Manning – 14 of 21 for 169 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int. I was just thinking that he might throw for 400 yards before they put those stats on CBS and so far, it’s possible.

Another turnover, as Fletcher fumbled. The Bears are so opportunistic and that’s the key stat – who has the most turnovers.

But Grossman fumbled it right back to the Colts. Most of the time, when there is a not ready for prime time quarterback in the big game, against an established veteran, the vet wins. Grossman stands no chance against Manning.

We’ve seen a couple of lackluster QB matchups. Think Kerry Collins and Tent Dilfer or Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson.

The Lays/Doritos/Tostitos spot about the African American coaches nearly made me vomit. I’m thrilled for what we have tonight with two great human beings on the opposite sidelines, but I don’t give a shite what color they are. I can’t say it any clearer than that.

Stop the presses. Vinatieri just missed a field goal. In the big game. That is the perfect end to a crazy first half.

Earlier today, NBC had a report about the mega toilet flush that takes place at halftime. So with that said – enjoy!

Our halftime score: Indianapolis 16, Chicago 14. Sean Kilkelly is ready in the studio with the extravaganza. You’re listening to the Super Bowl on 1490, WGCH.

In my dreams.

So the concert just ended. It had its moments but overall it was a yawn for me. Why did Prince play “All Along The Watchtower?”

So who’s up for next year? Culture Club? Blondie? I’m telling you, bring back the days of Up With People.

I’m sure none of you saw it, but the NFL Network played the original broadcast of Super Bowl III for the first time since it was broadcast in 1969. We’ve come a long way since then, that’s for sure. It was great to watch. I found myself watching and reminding myself that they weren’t going to put a lot graphics up because they didn’t have any. They weren’t going to keep the score on the screen all the time, because we were some 27 years from broadcasts doing that. Amazing.

Another asinine fact of life with these halftime shows. I know it’s raining, but let’s face it – the fireworks cause a horrible haze for those I the stadium and those of us watching on TV.

I’ve stayed away from the Tank Johnson thing, but let’s be honest. If I was under house arrest, would I be allowed to go on a business trip to Miami? If the answer’s yes, then there you go. I’d like a judge to explain that.

Indy kept the ball for half of the third quarter, but only got a field goal. 19-14 Colts, and that’s huge, because I think the Colts were on the verge of the knockout punch.

Another drive, another field goal. 22-14, which keeps it at a one-possession game. However, I’m beginning to fall asleep.

The Robert Goulet commercials was both inspired and silly. A decent spot.

Maybe the number of mentions for The Police reunion should have been the drinking game.

The FedEx “what’s in a name” spot was good. The K-Fed commercial was dumb. Virtually anything Bud Light has been funny.

Thanks to a personal foul on the Colts, the Bears got good field position, and Robbie Gould tacked on a field goal. It’s now 22-17 Colts.

Three down, one to go. Colts still leading.

The commercials and the game have made me reach the Thumper Zone. You know, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

The death knell might have just happened. It looked like the Bears were starting to make some noise but Kelvin Hayden picked Grossman off down the right sideline and returned it for a score. 29-17 Indy. Get the trophy ready.

My favorite commercial might be the virtual football game between Jay-Z and Don Shula. Just because it’s Jay-Z and Don Shula.

I’ve reached the point that I’m reading the paper while watching the game. My entire family is asleep, so it’s just me now. Rick Carpiniello in today’s Journal News writes about the black coach issue. Yes, we’ve got them in the big game today, but not enough of them in the Lower Hudson Valley. I’ll just come right out and say it – that is an attempt to be PC, and curry favor with African Americans. I find it despicable.

Look, should there be more African Americans in positions of power? Let me answer it this way – who is the most qualified person? If it’s a minority, then bring it on. Any other way makes it just a quota. As a person who has been a victim of quota layoffs, I really get annoyed at this subject.

In the meantime, Bob Sanders just picked off Grossman.

Manning update – 25 of 38 for 247 yards. So no 400 yard game tonight.

Time to start thinking MVP. Manning is the safe pick.

I have to be fair. Credit to CBS for a smart broadcast tonight. I’ve only seen one shot of CBS stars in the crowd. I don’t recall seeing even one shot of Archie Manning. Nantz and Simms have been good. Overall, I’m giving the production high marks.

Grossman’s fourth down pass just fell incomplete with just about 5:00 to go. Enjoy your championship, Indianapolis. The coronation is about to happen, as they move deeper into Chicago territory.

Two-minute warning. Just get it over with.

It’s over. 29-17 Colts is the final. Congratulations to a fine football team, led by good people in Tony Dungy and starring Peyton Manning. The Bears have nothing to be ashamed of.

Barring anything good in the postgame show, I’m done. This one will not go down as an all-timer.

OK, I’m still here. What the hell is the NFL doing with having Don Shula walk the Lombardi trophy to the podium? This is not the Stanley Cup, gang. No people with white gloves here.

Oh, Jim Irsay says God was in the building tonight. What position did he play? Was he on the sideline, maybe wearing a rainbow wig?

Tony Dungy says he’s more of a Christian coach than anything else. Good for him, I suppose.

Peyton Manning got the MVP. Nobody else stood out, so as I said earlier, he was the logical choice.

For once, I’m not worrying about proofreading and spellchecking. I’m too tired. This one was just not all that exciting, in virtually every aspect. Oh well.

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