Sunday, February 03, 2008


I always wanted to do a live extravaganza, and there may not be any Oscar show this year, so -- SUPER BOWL SUNDAY N.F.L. CHAMPIONSHIP GAME it is. Like most people, to judge by the ratings, I don't care about football but I love the Superbowl. I love the hyperbole. I love the Roman numerals. I love the lame entertainment, and the inevitable letdown because no mere football game could bring all this hyperventilating to a climax. I missed the first four hours because I was watching the "Corner Gas" marathon at WGN -- I'll write about that weird little show soon -- but I'm so glad I flipped over in time to hear Russell Crowe's hilarious ode to perfection, laying out the obvious connection between Eli Manning and Beethoven. It set the tone perfectly. I hope they run it again. (Russell Crowe? Who recites prose-poems to Australian football, Morgan Freeman?)

This is the closest we will ever get to ancient Athens (oh boy, here it comes), everybody filing into the Theater of Dionysus to see the latest trilogy by Aeschylus. Of course, men the size of Macys Parade balloons slamming into each other is not exactly the Oresteia, but Bush isn't exactly Pericles either. Be grateful we're not at war with the Persians as of 4:29 CST. I'm so old I can remember the very first Superbowl. There was no Vince Lombardi Trophy then, as we still had the actual Vince Lombardi, and he would have been embarrassed to accept a graven image of himself from the Commissioner of Football, who I seem to remember was Oliver Wendell Holmes. I could be wrong. Lombardi was a hard-bitten man given to gnomic utterances which dissolved on closer examination, like "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." What? For coachly wisdom, I prefer Paul Brown, who once told his players, "When you get into the end zone, act like you've been there before." Still good advice, which no one will follow today.

In the role of Chorus we have the usual gang of experts, who couldn't imagine the Giants getting past Dallas, much less Green Bay. I predict that their predictions will be of the hedging type: On the one hand, New England is undefeated, but on the other hand, you can't argue with Destiny (a Greek concept). It would be more exciting if Howie and Terry and Joe and the rest had to back up their picks with their paychecks. Every week. Same for the pundits who were salivating for Fred Thompson and Rudolph Giuliani. No, no politics today. This is Sacred Time.

We have that on the authority of former FCC chairman Michael Powell (not to be confused with the great British film director or anyone else of ability). He said so in the wake of the catastrophic half-time show which exposed America to a female nipple for about two seconds. As in ancient Athens, women have no real role in this festival, but they are invited to perform in the satyr-play which comes in the middle, and Janet Jackson got carried away. (She claimed it was a "wardrobe malfunction," but experts tell me that nobody wears tit ornaments unless they're going to be seen.) For about two weeks, she was actually more famous than her brother Michael, at least on YouTube. Nobody knew what to tell the children, and steps were taken to prevent America from being so violated on her special day.

Who is this Frank guy who impersonates people? Who told him it's funny? Have you ever laughed at an "impressionist"? I haven't. OK, maybe Jay Mohr's Walken.

See what I mean? Football meets the Declaration of Independence. You can't make this shit up.

I wonder what Michael Vick is doing today.

My set just went black, and I had to re-set the BS chip that blocks patriotic effusions. Did I miss anything? I'd hate to miss the roll-out of a new commercial for snack food or dick-stiffener. The Fox robot image is truly disturbing, isn't it? I believe the next generation of football players will be genetically engineered, like tomatoes. It's amazing that there's so much fuss about steroid use in baseball, but nobody ever asks why these guys are so huge.

So I guess the Giants' secret is teamwork. Huh. And here come those rugged individualists from Foxboro. Their secret? Jazzercize, I'm guessing.

Jordin Sparks. Never heard of her. At least she and her military escort got it over in two minutes. Time is money on Super Sunday.

The Bill Walsh Memorial Coin Toss. This is new. It's a coin, just toss it. Jeez.

The Audi commercial seems to be telling me something I don't get. Like "Hey, we've seen The Godfather, man." How's the mileage?

I kind of enjoyed the Pepsi Max Salute to Narcolepsy. It has a good beat, you can dance to it. Giants up by three after a FG.

Perhaps the speculations about Brady's ankle will be continued on "House" after the game. If it doesn't buckle under him, let's assume it's all right. All right? It's pseudo-expertise like this that's strangling televised sports.

New England goes ahead 7-3.

Once again, totally lost by the commercial, but you should call them. A friend's daughter is working on Super Sunday just to take your call. Go Rose!

Manning's casual attitude toward the clock and his receivers' slippery fingers have the Giants in a bit of a jam. Still, the Pats had to punt, so this game is far from over.

Leatherheads looks good, but I think Cinderella Man established that Renee Zellweger does not belong in sports movies.

How do they get those lizards to dance like that? Fantastic!

Offensive ineptitude or defensive glory? These questions will be debated in ages to come. Or it may be that I'm slightly exaggerating the significance of a football game. Blame it on the pomp and circumstance. And now for the youngsters, as Ed Sullivan used to say at about this hour on Sunday night, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Relive the Seventies! Sullivan also featured opera singers, a tradition which is being kept alive by several of today's sponsors. What Carmen and Nozze di Figaro have to do with consumer products is another question for the scholars. I'm tired and hungry.

Well, the Giants nearly committed the dopiest infraction of all, Twelve Men On the Field. Do I care enough to wait for the official ruling? Should I see what's in the fridge? Have I done my duty here? Thank you, Richard Simmons, for helping me decide.


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