Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl XLI running journal

Here is my attempt at a “running journal” of my thoughts as I watch Super Bowl XLI. I really can’t wait for this game to be done so the hype and storylines can finally die (I'm not bitter, I swear). As far as the actual game goes, I am picking the Bears to cover the 7 point spread over the Colts. Chicago’s running game is pretty darn good and the Indy rush defense hasn’t been tested once this post-season. Also this is still Peyton Manning in the biggest game ever. Don’t bet on him in huge games.

I will be writing about the game, announcing, ads, and half-time show. (please play “Raspberry Beret” Prince!) Let’s see if I can keep this up for 4-5 hours. That sound was the realization hitting me of writing for a possible 5 hours straight. Voluntarily.

6:10 - Nice dramatic black and white intro video of the Colts. Jeff Saturday is the weirdest looking player on either team. That beard, those really blue eyes. He creeps me out.

6:11 – Bears get their intro video. Anyone else notice that other than Brian Urlacher, no one is recognizable on the Bears? You couldn’t even pick Rex Grossman out on the street.

6:15 – “Chad Johnson Super Bowl party” ad for NFL Total Access. Pretty funny commercial, featuring a lot of NFL stars and random C-list stars. Jimmy Fallon? Rascal Flatts?

6:17 – Billy Joel singing the National Anthem, nothing special. Random Jeff Saturday shot count: 4 in seven minutes!

6:24 – Indy loses the coin flip, that means they will win. Of the last 5 coin flip winners only 1 has won the game. Only during Super Bowl time would I know this.

6:27 – The opening kick is returned to the…end zone! Wow what an opening play. Maybe this game won’t be such a bore. Peyton’s monkey just gained 500 lbs. Why would you EVER kick to Hester this year? It doesn’t make any sense.

6:30 – I am not a fan of these hip new player intros, thumping techno, waist-up shots, contrived poses. Colts have a 10 yard run erased by a false start. Manning is almost (re: should have been) picked-off.

6:33 – Colts get another false start penalty. Nervous much? Peyton responds by throwing a pick on 3rd and 12 to Chris Harris. That hurts. Was that Bobcat Goldthwait as the mouse in the Blockbuster ad? I must investigate further.

6:38 – Grossman tries a bomb and is almost picked inducing a punt. Sierra Mist ad: beard comb-over? Pretty awesome. Daisy Dukes on a guy? Very awesome.

6:46 – Manning and the Colts score on a 53-yard bomb to a wide open Reggie Wayne. Vinatieri misses the extra point! Even though it was Hunter Smith’s fault it feels good to bash Vinatieri. ”Final Countdown” is a MUCH bigger song now than it was when it came out. This is crazy. How/why/when did it happen? I blame VH-1.

6:50 – The Colts squib the kick and the Bears muff it resulting in the Colts recovering. See; don’t kick to Hester and good things happen. What a ridiculous first 9 minutes. The Colts fumble! And the Bears recover. Make that a ridiculous 9 minutes and 1 second.

6:52 – Thomas Jones runs the ball 52 yards down to the Colts 5 yard line. Did I say something about the Indy run defense? Grossman delivers a bullet to Muhammad on third down for the touchdown, a solid catch in traffic. 14-6 Chicago Bears. Snickers ad involving a man kiss and chest hair pulling, all I have to say about that.

7:01 – I don’t remember weather being this “bad” in a recent Super Bowl, may be affecting this dome Colts team. Nantz keeps calling Daniel Manning “Danielle”. That is high comedy.

7:04 – Cedric Benson fumbles (hit by Bob Sanders) and Dwight Freeney recovers. This game has gone from “exciting” to “sloppy”. No one can hold on to the ball.

7:08 – The Colts punt the ball inside the Bears 5 yard line. That “don’t hold back” song from the Crown Royal commercials is getting really annoying. There should be a site where you can type in product names and the year and it will give you the song or actor(s) that are in said ad. It could even show you the ad to make sure that it’s the right one. This could even be applied to my Bobcat Blockbuster ad question earlier! I am thinking about this way too much.

7:15 – 1st quarter stats: Two 50+ yard plays. 4 total turnovers. 1 kick return for a touchdown. Not the most well-played first quarter I’ve ever seen. ad featuring a little person, a big-breasted lady, the scruffy guy from American Chopper, and Danica Patrick (I think). I also have zero idea what does.

7:22 – Vinatieri hits a 29-yard field goal making it 14-9 Chicago. Sweet metal commercial about…Garmin? Whatever that is.

7:32 – Manning and the Colts march down to the Bears 19. Rhodes runs the ball down to the 1 after converting on a tough 3rd and 2. Rhodes finishes the drive off with the TD. That’s “Dominique” Rhodes according to Nantz.

7:41 – Indy stuffs the Bears on third down. So far Indy is playing pretty well on defense, save for that big run by Jones. Joseph Addai is playing very well for Indy, running the ball and catching it out of the backfield.

7:49 – Colts fumble again. Tillman made a good play stripping the ball from Fletcher (?). That’s 5 turnovers in the half. But wait there is still a minute. And just like that, Grossman fumbles it to the Colts! This is a joke. Indy takes over at the Chicago 35.

7:53 – Urlacher stonewalls Addai on third down and short. Indy takes the field goal. But Vinatieri misses! Wow, that is amazing. I just assumed Vinatieri would make it and had it typed. Nice kiss of death, so much for being a million for a million in the playoffs.

7:57 – Halftime, 16-14 Indy. Ugly half of play by both teams: 6 turnovers (5 fumbles), 1 missed extra point, 1 missed field goal, and 3 huge offensive plays sparked by bad defense. Very unspectacular ads overall, a few chucklers but nothing memorable. I think this whole “you make the ad” phenomenon (caused by YouTube, no doubt) isn’t working very well. Don’t companies hire people to research what I want to watch? We’ll see in the second half if they get any funnier.

8:06 – Halftime show. “We Will Rock You” sung by children? No thanks. Prince has a ridiculous intro featuring his weird man/woman symbol as the stage, lit up for the world to see. “Proud Mary” is performed featuring a marching band, some of which look skeletal due to those lights. Only during the Super Bowl.

Prince said “count it". Awesome. Now Prince goes into “All Along the Watchtower” by Hendrix. Strange choices of songs to say the least. Is that Foo Fighters I hear?

Even though he was guitar-synching during most of the show, Prince has to be the most underrated guitarist ever doesn’t he? Do some research before you laugh and get back to me. Here’s “Purple Rain”, there was no way he wasn’t going to play this, safest bet of the night by far.

With those lights coming out of Dolphin Stadium, the lit-up stage, and the fireworks display at the end, this whole thing looks pretty epic. All things considered a pretty good halftime show. Eclectic songs choices, a star who we haven’t heard from in a while, didn’t run on too long, and no wardrobe malfunctions makes for a good B- halftime show.

8:20 – Nice Lord of the Rings reference for a geeky ad about phone books. They had me at “gnomes”. I am at the 2 hour+ mark writing and still going strong.

8:25 – Second half is under way. Colts run the kick out to about the 40. A minute later the Colts are in Bears territory yet again. Despite the score, they are dominating the game. Chicago has 3 first downs by the way.

8:29 – Colts convert a big 3rd and 8 to keep the drive alive. Chicago’s defense has been unable to stop the Colts on third down at all tonight. Ben Utecht is hurt and no one cares on either team. Addai is ripping off 6-10 yard runs almost every touch and hasn’t been hit hard by Chicago once. Indy is out smash-mouthing the Bears.

8:35 – Dungy challenges that the Bears had 12 men on the field. Simms counts for me and it appears that they did indeed have 11. Strange challenge there by Dungy, the refs agree and Indy tosses a timeout away.

8:39 – Indy attempts a field goal from 24 yards out and…Vinatieri line-drives it in. 19-14 Indy. Chicago is lucky to still be within striking distance. Bank managers performing a robbery of their customers commercial for e-Trade was pretty clever, I like the animal masks touch.

8:45 - Grossman strings together back to back throws without fumbling the ball away. He is then sacked by Booger McFarland, a great nickname for a standup guy. Follow that up with another sack and the Bears have to punt. Great possession fellas: from 2nd and 1 to punting on 4th and a mile. The office ads in the wilderness for with the guys fighting are pretty good, probably the best so far. Everything else has talking animals, is for a sitcom, or has big manly trucks in it.

8:50 – Rhodes busts a big 36-yard run breaking a few tackles. “Dominique” is having a big game as the secondary back. On the next play Rhodes picks up 8 yards plus a “½ the distance to the goal” face-mask penalty by “Danielle” Manning. Rhodes gets stopped by Manning on 3rd and goal. Nantz avoids their first names for obvious reasons. 8:54 - 22-14 Indy. Vinatieri gets knocked down after the kick but it is irrelevant as they would have been short of the first.

8:57 – Indy squibs again (smart) and a little scrum breaks out on the sideline, 15 yard flag on Mathis of Indy due to a late hit. Ah the K-fed ad. I had already seen it, but it is very smart and funny. At least the guy can make fun of himself, which puts him ahead of a lot of other celebrities, but I guess he has no choice. Bud Light ad with ax murderer is great. Bud Light is like 1 for 5 in commercials tonight though, not so great.

9:01 – Bears have the ball at the Indy 30 somehow. I wasn’t looking. Grossman almost throws a pick after scrambling around for a while. Typical Grossman play this season, all or nothing. Gould comes on to kick a 44-yarder and nails it with ease. Score: 22-17 Indy.

9:07 – Marvin Harrison makes an appearance in this game with a great catch, dragging both feet, that is ruled incomplete. Dungy challenges, which is huge because, if lost, Indy would have 1 timeout remaining and face 3rd and long. But it is correctly ruled a catch, 3rd and 2 on the Colts 40 yard line.

9:17 – Harrison gets his leg caught under a defender on third down, forcing a punt. Losing him would be devastating for the Colts, but I am sure he will gut it out as a decoy for the rest of the 4th quarter.

9:20 – Grossman throws a pick for 6 points the other way after a big completion to Muhammad. In the game of two choke artist QB’s, who will choke more? Answer: Rex. The runback is challenged. The play stands, game to Indy. 29-17 Indianapolis with 11:44 remaining. Start those “Manning finally wins the big one” headlines printed boys. Now excuse me, I need to throw up in my lap.

9:30 – Grossman lobs up another one that is picked by Bob Sanders, turnover number 8 in the game. I bet there will be at least three “Finally” headlines tomorrow for Peyton Manning. I really look forward to the ads Peyton will be churning out after he undeservedly wins the Super Bowl MVP, I really do. “What can you do with one finger” e-trade commercial: good stuff. I dig the “get to know your doctor” part. And by dig I mean “am grossed out by”. E-trade is the frontrunner so far for best ads of the night. Last place? Anything and everything by/related to CBS.

9:35 – The “don’t hold back” song rears it’s ugly head again.

9:41 – Bears deep into their own territory at the 8. Make or break time here Rexy. Score 7 here and make a game (cover the spread) out of it or lose. Three plays later the Bears are at the 50. Two plays later: Bears have to go for it on 4th and 9. With five minutes left this is it, and yet has very little suspense, mainly because the Bears are down by 12. Incomplete.

9:46 – One first down should do it for Indianapolis. Rhodes gets that first down on a 10+ yard run. I don’t know if I can handle watching the post-game shenanigans. No other word can describe what will go on after the game other than shenanigans. Rhodes really ices it with another first down. 17 carries for 109 yards and a TD for Rhodes. Dominique should win MVP.

9:51 – Danica Patrick sighting verified. Also I believe all the American Chopper guys were at, not just scruffy. The guy who won the real “make a commercial” contest commercial airs. Very good: depressed fans putting team apparel away as the Super Bowl and football season officially end. Sad, funny, and smart.

9:55 – The Bears get a chance to cover with 1:42 left as Indy misses on fourth down. But 84 yards is a lot of time for Rex to throw a pick. I want some Boise State-esque trick plays now please.

9:58 – The Indianapolis Colts win Super Bowl XLI. Congratulations to Tony Dungy for being the first African American to win a Super Bowl, especially during Black History month. Congratulations to Peyton Manning for being the first (and last) Manning to win a Super Bowl. The Super Bowl MVP: Peyton Manning. I truly cannot believe this. All bias aside, this is a joke. Addai or Rhodes did so much more for the Colts to win this game. I just had to delete a huge rant on how insane this is. But just know this: anyone who says “you’re crazy, the NFL doesn’t love Peyton”, show them Manning’s Super Bowl XLI stats: 25/38, 247 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. That ladies and gentlemen, is not an MVP.

I can say without any doubt that this was one of the 35 or 40 best Super Bowls ever. I mean it had it all: 8 turnovers, bad defense, missed kicks, terrible execution on offense (Bears I am looking at you), and only about 3-4 watchable highlights. This game totally lived up to the hype, as usual.

The ads were almost as disappointing. E-trade,, and K-fed came out winners., Bud Light, CBS, and pretty much everyone else, came out losers. This crop of commercials has the least water-cooler material I can remember. There isn’t one that sticks out as being the “it” ad.

Jim Nantz: for mispronouncing “Dominic” and “Dominique” and “Daniel” and “Danielle”. You made for a great running joke.
Refs: for not blowing any calls and getting every challenge right, much better than the Steelers/Seahawks idiocy fest.
Nantz and Simms: for announcing the game blandly, but well enough to not notice anything stupid they said. Well, aside from the name game.
Prince: for being the man.

Prince: for not playing “Raspberry Beret”.
The football: for constantly falling out of players grip, making for an ugly game.
Chicago Bears: for just barely showing up.
Offenses: for stinking in general.
NFL/whoever picks the MVP: for being spineless morons.

Well 2600+ words and more than 4 hours later I am done with my first write/watch a sporting event piece. It was quite a task, but overall an enjoyable one. Let me know what you think, how I did, or what I should do next time (for a Sox/Yanks game most likely). If anyone made it this far, I commend and thank you. Here’s to reading an endless amount of “Peyton Manning: greatest ever?” columns for the next month or so until baseball picks up.


Rich said...

first off good work. secondly, isn't a pain to watch a game and type? thirdly, im pretty positive prince wasn't guitar synching. his guitar was making alot of raw noise and feedback and his strum patterns and fingering matched the music. viva la prince

Brian DePasquale said...

Nice work, Jason. I wanted raspberry beret as well...or even little red corvette. I was very disappointed in the idea to do covers (watchtower was cool...but the foo fighters?)

Kerry said...

Nice running commentary. I can dig it. And big ups for reminding me about the etrade commercial.

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