In what’s become an annual tradition right up there with Christmas and the Bills firing a coach, herewith is contained my latest Super Bowl running diary. The site is Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, FL (I’ll be damned if I’m going to call it “Sun Life Stadium” adorned on the vinyl banners all over the place when the company just bought the naming rights a few weeks ago) and it’s the offensive juggernaut that is the Indianapolis Colts versus the team that’s captured the imagination of an America ready to root for an underdog from a city decimated by a natural disaster just a few short years ago, the New Orleans Saints. That was a hell of a run-on sentence, folks; let’s get started.
6:00pm: Hip-hop superstars Jay-Z and Rihanna kick things off with a musical introduction to Super Bowl XLIV. Jay-Z is doing his best to channel Mozart while conducting a symphony orchestra, which climaxes with a veritable waterfall of sparks showers down from the ceiling. Five violinists, three cellists, and one timpanist are horribly disfigured by 3rd degree burns.
6:07pm: A Ritz Bitz commercial featuring a marching band, Ritz crackers (of course), tailgating, and former Giants RB Tiki Barber suddenly leaping out of nowhere to start dancing/seizuring like a crazy man.
6:09pm: CBS comes back to introduce the New Orleans Saints aaaand….AUDIO FAIL. We can’t hear any of the players; perhaps they’re yelling WHO DAT. Or maybe it’s a tie-in to Lost’s season premiere (white flashes, no one can hear anything, etc…take my word for it.).
6:10pm: CBS fails again with the Indianapolis Colts introductions; way to rehearse and make sure your sound’s in order for the biggest telecast of the television year. We do hear Gary Brackett telling us “WE’RE BAAAACK” (in the Super Bowl). I often look for omens seemingly unrelated to actual football prior to Super Bowls; I’m gonna zero in on this. Gary Bracket’s impression of the girl from Poltergeist is a bad omen for the Colts.
6:12pm: Solomon Wilcots, donning a red and white checkered dress shirt reminiscent of a tablecloth imparts his wisdom, aided by undoubtedly fake glasses.
6:13pm: VE-HICK-LE! THERE ARE VE-HICK-LES EVERYWHERE! (Steve Tasker is conducting a sideline report.)
6:16pm: CBS shows an extended shot of the empty field and slowly fades to black without music or voiceover. I’m not sure there’s actually a director in their broadcast truck. I’m relatively certain the telecast is being run by a chimp. Which I’m sure will work out in my favor as we progress through the telecast (think lots of rapid camera movements, repeated zooms and, of course, screeching).
6:17pm: The on-field presentation of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award – Roger Goodell gives a “who farted?” look to the camera before presenting the award to Brian Waters of the Kansas City Chiefs. No other commentary here; just enjoyed the commissioner’s look.
6:18pm: The dulcet tones of Jim Nantz introduce a tribute to our “beautiful country.” Thanks, Jim; you really melt my heart.
6:19pm: Queen Latifah is taking approximately 2 seconds per syllable to sing “America the Beautiful.”
6:21pm: Nothing quite says America like a skintight jumpsuit on a blonde. Carrie Underwood offers a tribute to Elvis Presley in her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
6:24pm: A trailer for Avatar: The Last Airbender, the latest film from M. Night Shayamalamadingdong. While certainly a genre departure for the hyped director, I don’t trust him after The Crappening. You’ll have to convince me otherwise, Night.
6:26pm: A decent remake of an old McDonald’s commercial ruined when LeBron and Dwight Howard pretend not to know who Larry Bird is. Nonsensical; non-funny. Although Larry Bird does now look like Mr. Potato Head, so there’s that.
6:28pm: I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Jerry Rice just flashed gang signs when being introduced as one of the 2010 Hall of Fame inductees.
6:28pm: Our referee for the evening, Scott Green, describes the “special coin” for today’s ceremony. “Heads” will be the Lombardi Trophy; “Tails” will be Mike Ditka’s mustache.
6:28pm: COIN INTERFERENCE! IT’S DESTINY – THE SAINTS ARE GOING TO WIN!
6:32pm: Robert Mathis does the happy dance during the on-screen graphic of the Colts starter intros. Another bad omen for Indy!
PERIODIC TWITTER INTERRUPTION: @Justin_Stangel – “Wow, Carrie Underwood’s singing was so bad they called in military aircraft.”
6:34pm: Lots of Saints fans in the crowd, based on the noise we’re hearing. It’s always surprising to hear a distinct crowd advantage at the corporatized Super Bowls, but it’s clear America’s behind the stricken city of New Orleans this year.
6:35pm: Linebacker in coverage on Dallas Clark. Peyton Manning says, “thank you, come again.” Gotta put a safety on Clark, N’awlins.
6:37pm: Safety on Dallas Clark. Completion across the middle again. Guess it doesn’t matter who covers him.
6:42pm: The commercials begin. House made of Bud Light beer cans and bottles is great, but the commercial should’ve been capped off with a lecture on the lack of structural integrity inherent in beer can houses (or is it just me?).
6:43pm: Betty White and Abe Vigoda playing tackle football = great success. Maybe not for whatever company’s ad this was, however, since I don’t remember what the commercial was for.
6:43pm: The much-ballyhooed pro-life commercial featuring Florida quarterback and apparent second-coming-of-Jesus Tim Tebow. Uh, okay. There was controversy over this? Didn’t see much blatant pro-life commentary there. It probably knocked Tebow’s draft status down a few pegs, however, due to his giggling.
TWITTER INTERRUPTION: @SklarBrothers – “If you don’t care who wins and you root for the Colts, you’re basically sayin gyou are pro-hurricane Katrina, that FEMA did a great job.”
6:46pm: Doritos’ first commercial of the night features the bark collar fail. Didn’t do much for me, but they typically have quite a few ads throughout the night. Still time for redemption.
6:46pm: A remake of the ’85 Chicago Bear infamous Super Bowl Shuffle music video. Mike Ditka: “that’s fresh.” Jim McMahon getting a spray tan. It works.
6:51pm: Saints WR Marques Colston allows himself to be pegged in the face with a perfect pass from Drew Brees in wide open coverage. Gotta have those, Marq. Those are the types of plays that add up to a loss over the course of a game.
6:52pm: I think I’m just sick of Robin Hood movies, even with the presence of Crowe and Scott in the latest film effort.
It’ll probably turn out to be alright, but I’m more interested in seeing furry animals freak out in these commercials right now.
6:52pm: Doritos kid slaps momma’s boyfriend. Catchphrase sure to sweep nation in the coming days.
6:53pm: Dr. Pierre Chang in the Bud Light observatory. Hooray for shooting each other in the crotch with fire extinguishers!
6:54pm: More dogs slapping humans, please.
TWITTER UPDATE: @iamguillermo – “Come saints we need to win . I bet a case of beer who take the vet ?”
6:57pm: Indy is running all over the Saints. NOLA’s in trouble unless they get their defensive shiznit together and stop the NFL’s bottom-ranked run unit.
7:01pm: Touchdown Colts. Peyton Manning all business. New Orleans, I’m pulling for you, but that drive was sheer excellence in domination. You’re in trouble.
7:03pm: A Simpsons commercial for Coca-Cola. Strange on two counts: 1) it’s on CBS; 2) it’s not funny. Fail.
7:03pm: The GoDaddy.com commercials continue to be played out and lame; they’ve been so since 2005. There’s plenty of porn readily available on the Internet, GoDaddy; I don’t need a Danica Patrick massage tease. Wait, maybe I shouldn’t have have actually put these thoughts in print.
7:06pm: Small furry rodents! Yes! And they’re playing violins! Alas, they didn’t attack anyone’s face so this only gets a B, monster.com.
7:09pm: An animatronic tiger giving birth to an animatronic tiger cub. WTF, cars.com?
Had the tiger cub attacked the guy’s face, perhaps this would have gone better. (Have you all a sense of my requirements for a successful Super Bowl ad yet, folks? In case you haven’t, they are, in no particular order: small to mid-sized furry animals; animals performing human activities; animals attacking humans, especially the face; chimps.)
7:12pm: The Saints offense is showing some signs of life. Great, hyper-extended arms catch by Colston. We learn Saints CB and former Buffalo Bill Jabari Greer is hurt, however. That’s not good for their D.
7:17pm: Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, he of the much talked about ankle with torn ligaments, nails Brees for a nice sack. If the Saints LT can’t block a Dwight Freeney operating at 65%, it’s another sign the Saints are in trouble. Good job getting 3 points out of the drive, though.
7:20pm: Letterman and Leno in the same commercial? Unless Dave had punched Leno in the face, this was unacceptable. On the bright side, Leno shows us another example of how unfunny he can be in a can’t-miss comedic premise.
7:22pm: Careerbuilder.com casual Friday, featuring a bunch of dudes in their underwear. WHERE ARE MY BELOVED CHIMPS IN SUITS WITH LASER POINTERS?!!! YOU’RE DEAD TO ME, CAREERBUILDER!
7:22pm: I WEAR NO PANTS. Back to back commercials with guys in their underwear. No. Despite Dockers’ offer of free pants, their site appears to have been overloaded (dockers.com/freepants). America loves their free pants.
Alas, I will be unable to wear said free pants. Perhaps Dockers intentionally made sure their site couldn’t handle the traffic sure to be generated by a Super Bowl ad and thus deprive the earth of free pants. A pants company providing free pants won’t stay in business very long.
7:23pm: A commercial featuring Favre accepting an MVP award in 2020 and waffling on whether or not he’ll retire. Brett, go mow your lawn in Mississippi and stay off my TV until preseason starts. You should appear on TV with the same frequency as Punxsutawney Phil. I’m going to refrain from posting the ad just to throw it in Favre’s face (since he’s a regular visitor here and all).
7:26pm: A Lost parody with an refrigerated airplane container full of Bud Light. Not bad. Drunken shouting in the face of your imminent doom is always hilarious.
TWITTER UPDATE: @Rachel__Nichols – “New Orleans streets have gone from total mob scene to flat empty – everyone here glued to their televisions…and at this point, nervous”
7:33pm: Peyton is looking antsy on sideline as the Colts defense is falling apart. Wide open Saints receivers getting big chunks of yardage as Brees picks their secondary apart.
7:35pm: Am I the only one who thinks the placement of the Super Bowl logo on the referee uniforms (just under the nipple) looks odd? (The answer: Yes; yes I am.)
7:37pm: Dexter narrates everything a husband does for his wife each day, all as a sort of martial quid pro quo for being able to drive a Dodge.
Okay. I would’ve gone with a guy on the couch eating nachos and pounding beers, for realism’s sake.
7:39pm: CSI Miami in space?! I’m leaving this party to go home and set my Tivo right now!
7:40pm: Kiss midgets. Nah. Kiss chimps, I could’ve gone with. Not midgets.
7:41pm: Speaking of Punxsutawney, here we have Punxsutawney Polamalu.
Again, ad execs, repeat after me: FURRY RODENTS FREAKING OUT = COMEDY GOLD AND COMMERCIAL SUCCESS.
7:42pm: HUGE play by the Colts D to stop the Saints on the goal line. I don’t disagree with the Saints going for it, but that’s a big chance to take that could (and should) result in a huge momentum shift to Indy.
7:44pm: “Who builds a city under sea level anyways?” Dannyboy Moskowitz just joined our party to impart some wisdom to defend his rooting for the Colts, and apparent hatred of the Saints and their home city of New Orleans. I suggested to Dan that he change his name and grow a mustache for his own protection.
TWITTER UPDATE: @VeryFakeAlDavis – “2/6/10–the day Sean Payton fell asleep in the tanning bed. NEVER FORGET.”
7:49pm: Another Dannyboy update – he just had an accident in his pants over the new i7 Intel microchip, coming to computers near you.
7:50pm: Big field goal for the Saints. 10-6, Indy. Two high-powered offenses that’ve done well moving the ball but haven’t been able to put many points on the board thus far. We’ll see how Freeney holds up in the second half, along with the sure-to-tire defenses.
7:55pm: Some welcome halftime commentary and analysis from Shannon Sharpe: “HEEBIDY BEEBIDY SHIBBY DBLBLBLBLBLBLBLB!”
7:59pm: We just switched over to the Kitty Halftime Show on Animal Planet. Cats are batting at objects on strings with their paws. I’m speechless. There are no words. They should’ve sent a poet.
8:00pm: Dan just came up with a great idea for a new halftime show, involving squirrels in a box. Call him for more details.
TWITTER UPDATE: @sportsguy33 – “The White House just announced that the Who’s halftime show will be classified as an act of terrorism on American soil.”
8:12pm: I’ll take an aging Who over whatever crap won a Grammy this past year.
8:13pm: Alright, we’ve tuned over to the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. There’s a dog called, “Yums” who is now being humped by another puppy. Yums seems to be enjoying himself a little too much. My reaction to the aforementioned name of that dog: utter delight.
8:15pm: GERBIL-HAMSTER HYBRIDS ARE PILOTING THE TWIZZLERS BLIMP AT THE PUPPY BOWL!!!!111 I’ve died and gone to heaven.
TWITTER UPDATE: @DamonLindelof – “Quick. How many songs in WHO medley AREN’T opening themes for CSI shows? Answer: NONE.”
8:18pm: The trailer for The Back-up Plan just horrified 97% of America. No one wants to see a woman pop out a baby into a kids wading pool, studio executives.
8:22pm: The Saints got it, but hated this onside kick call by the Saints. You’re down one possession and chances are you’re giving Peyton the ball on the 50. (I know the Saints got it, but I’m sticking to this opinion.)
8:26pm: Brees is carving the Colts D up in the middle of the field. All-pro Colts safety (long since injured and out for the season earlier in 2009) Bob Sanders is missed.
8:27pm: Still hate that onside kick call, but the Saints are in bidness. Touchdown, Pierre Thomas.
8:29pm: Sorry, just recovered from that Megan Fox in a bathtub commercial.
8:30pm: Roosters playing pool and freaking out in a bar. Animals doing human activities – YES!
8:35pm: How the hell did Peyton complete that 26-yard pass to Dallas Clark over half a dozen Saints defenders??? He couldn’t even see him! Amazing. Manning knows the playbook so intimately, he’s going to marry it in the offseason.
TWITTER UPDATE: @ProfBlackistone – “Tackling will not be a highlight from SBXLIV”
8:46pm: This is going to turn into a shootout shortly. Corners and safeties can’t cover, linemen and linebackers can’t tackle.
8:50pm: Did I just see a Super Bowl commercial for the US Census? My tax dollars hard at work.
8:51pm: Excellent Google commercial on its AI-like search capabilities. We’ll soon have a Google-bot in every home, quickly followed by a bloody takeover with Google-bot Prime installed as our new world leader. Enjoy enslavement, humanity!
8:52pm: Gigantic Sock Monkey riding a mechanical bull! Yes! Plus The Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now?” And it was all a sock monkey dream. I approve, Kia.
TWITTER UPDATE: @BillPlaschke – “Guess here is, first turnover in this game decides it…Amazing that there have been no fumbles or ints so far…4th quarter shud be doozy”
8:56pm: This has been a good game but not altogether as exciting as the last couple of Bowls have been. That’s probably what happens when you don’t have a definite underdog defying expectations. Both quarterbacks have been putting on shows, though, and we haven’t had the game marred by any terrible officiating calls or coaching decisions.
8:57pm: There needs to be an NFL Network 2 (a la ESPN2) that features nothing but high-def slo-mo NFL game footage. It could be a ref throwing a flag in front of a screaming coach and I wouldn’t care. HD + SLOMO = HAPPY TELEVISION VIEWER
9:02pm: Don’t like the Colts going for it on 4th down, even though they made it. Still, impressive pitch and catch by Manning and Reggie Wayne. The Colts and Saints are probably the only two teams in the NFL that could get away with that call (in terms of execution and having the coaching smarts to justify it).
9:04pm: This crowd is LOUD. Saints fever. Perhaps the down economy has had the bonus effect of lowering ticket prices to the point a lower tax bracket can afford to make the trip. (Thus, I am correlating the typical crowd of corporate suits with lack of football knowledge and passion.)
9:07pm: Emerald Nuts commercials are always insane, always hilarious. Humans as dolphins jumping through hoops of fire works for me.
TWITTER UPDATE: @WhitlockJason – “OK, Jim Caldwell just opened himself up to a lot of criticism with that FG attempt of 51 yds. Stupid. Tony Dungy chuckles.”
9:11pm: Brees is looking decidedly Manning-like. Throwing it all over the field; completing passes at will.
TWITTER UPDATE: @SklarBrothers – “Drew Brees trying to make his birthmark more famous than Gorbachev’s.”
9:18pm: That should be a successful 2-point conversion currently under review. The ball was across the plane when the guy’s ass hit the ground (at which point he was down).
9:19pm: Spit it out, Scott Green! Half of New Orleans just had a heart attack while you struggled your way through basic English language usage to give us the result of that challenge!
9:20pm: Sorry, Honda, animated squirrels don’t count toward commercial success. Chalk this up as a failure.
9:21pm: See, Honda? Screaming rooster puppets doing human activities! So easy!
TWITTER UPDATE: @jacko2323 – “big themes of this year’s SB ads: animals and men without pants.”
9:24pm: Manning pass nearly intercepted. Someone here said it earlier; with the way these offenses are playing (exceedingly well), a turnover would decide this game.
9:27pm: Charles Barkley and tacos. Few combinations seem so right.
9:29pm: INTERCEPTION. WOW. The French Quarter must be deafening right now. Shocking – never expected to see Peyton throw a pick. Looks like WR Reggie Wayne could’ve done a better job with his route, but Peyton seemed to throw it right to the Saints CB.
9:30pm: A commercial featuring a Doritos samurai (aka “Tim”). Best Doritos ad of the night. I’d fling a Doritos ninja star at Dannyboy right now if I could (who is still hurling insults at the city of New Orleans).
9:33pm: E-Trade, your talking babies have not made me forget the chimp ads you originated about 10 years ago.
I simultaneously salute and will never forgive you.
9:38pm: Denny’s rooster shrieking. Yes! These have gotten progressively better through the night.
TWITTER UPDATE: @VeryFakeAlDavis – “Oh no–a lady in a tank top! You, Go Daddy, have crossed the line.”
9:40pm: As Dannyboy just told us, if there’s one team you can’t count out in this situation, it’s Indy and Peyton. Dan also thinks you can’t find any good food in New Orleans because there are no Taco Bell’s there.
9:43pm: INCOMPLETE. Game all but over. The Saints are going to win a Super Bowl, and everyone in New Orleans just blew out their eardrums shouting their joy.
TWITTER UPDATE: @SklarBrothers – “Let the Tits showing begin!!!!!!!! ”
9:51pm: Dan Marino is wearing beads. Please don’t show your boobs, Dan.
9:57pm: The Saints players are yelling at the Lombardi Trophy, for some reason. Now they’re making out with it. I don’t want to predict what’s next.
9:58pm: What’s with that weird-looking official NFL pod/dais/trophy/stage stand Drew Brees and the Saints ownership are in? I feel like it could take off for Mars at any second.
9:59pm: CBS is bookending their Super Bowl coverage with more audio difficulties.
10:00pm: Saints owner Tom Benson is mumbling unintelligibly into the mic. I think he’s unsure of where he is, or he can’t believe he can no longer move the team to Los Angeles, as he had once desired.
I can only imagine how good the people of New Orleans must feel right now, even those that have still not fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina. Sports can be powerful enough to make one forget all the sorrow and hardship you’ve experienced over a lifetime. That hardship may come back to the fore again, but it’s singular events like tonight that can give those people a foundation to continue pushing onward and repair their formerly broken lives.
Mardi Gras is well underway one week early, and will continue for a long, long time.