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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Bowl XXXXII: 10 Reasons to Watch a Few Minutes

10. Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band: Don’t be refilling, snacking or outside the party when they wheel out Bruce mid-game in what’s sure to be the most awkward six minutes of his venerated career since “We Are the World.”

9. Jennifer Hudson’s National Anthem: Bound to impress, bearing in mind that no one will ever top the triumphant Whitney Houston headband-version of 1991.

8. Cardinals Quarterback Kurt Warner: Warner worked nights as a clerk at a grocery store in Iowa when his professional football career began in 1995. He’s earned approximately fifty-million dollars since. But like a polyethylene bag, his Everyman persona will never die. Selected to start earlier this season over Cardinals hot shot draft pick and renowned gentleman Matt Leinart, Warner’s "last chance at glory" tale is great stuff, whether he rides off into the sunset or laughably fails due to the onset of old age.

7. Arizona Head Coach Ken Wisenhunt vs. His Former Employer: Wisenhunt, a former Steelers assistant, was passed up for a promotion to their vacant Head Coach position resulting in his exodus to Arizona. Conditions are such that Ken may have many a disgruntled former employee in his corner.

6. Local Truce: The regional favorites New York Giants and New England Patriots aren't playing. Takes the pressure off. No high speed flipping of the bird back and forth to each other on I-89. No workplace awkwardness. No high spirited, near-violent discussions at the bar. Giants fans can quietly ponder why their players literally and figuratively shoot themselves. Smug Patriots fans can silently dream that their team may have been a major factor in this years tournament had they been allowed to participate and/or were it not for the eternally hapless Buffalo Bills.

5. Pittsburgh Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben has suffered a injuries to both knees, multiple back problems, an emergency appendectomy, a near fatal motorcycle crash without a helmet, two normal concussions and something called a 'spinal' concussion. Roethlisberger's list of injuries is so lengthy and complex that he may very well become the first player in league history to spontaneously combust mid-play.

4. Super Bowl Commercials '09: Art for cola's sake.

3. Spring on Television: Green grass - not turf. People are working on this lush Florida plot this very minute. Tampa's field has a tifway 419 Bermuda blend that’s sure to be decadent. The preparation of players and production staff are the oft-heralded sources of Super Bowl hype – but give a nod to the grounds crew. And green grass. It’s probably been a while since you’ve seen it.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers defense: To paraphrase Pittsburgh linebacker/convicted domestic assailant James Harrison: “No one likes to see anyone get injured. But hurting people is a different story.” Yikes.

1. Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald has a rare combination of speed, strength, humility and genuine personality rarely found in professional sports anymore. He is a truly a welcomed  relief.

Pick: Steelers 28, Cardinals 13. Post your picks below.


dan bolles

Wait a sec. Isn't this a music blog? WTF!?!

Great post, John. Haven't had any sports ramblings in a while.

Per the Springsteen comment (reason #10), from a recent Bill Simmons'column on ESPN:

As a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, the Super Bowl ads for his performance next month never stop flooring me. Don't they know how the man is wired? He can't bang out three songs without sprinkling one autobiographical story in there, and he certainly can't just go away without returning for an encore, right? (Note to the NFL: After Bruce finishes his set, hog-tie him to one of the uprights or else he's coming back out for three more songs. Just trust me. You don't want Bruce wandering back onto the field with his guitar like Shooter in "Hoosiers" and getting bowled over by a safety.) Look, Bruce might be telling the NFL, "Don't worry, I won't tell a story. I'll just sing my three songs and get out of there." But he won't be able to do it. You watch. We're gonna get a moment like this after the second song.

"Tampa Baaaaaaaay! (Crowd cheers.) Is anyone alive tonight??? (Crowd goes crazy.) Super Bowl Forty-Threeeeeee!!! (Crowd goes crazy as Bruce turns somber.) You know, when I was growing up, the only thing my dad hated more than me was my guitar. (Crowd hushes.) He was always saying, 'Bruce, I wish you never got that danged guitar.' So one day I was playing it in my room, my dad was watching Super Bowl Three between the Jets and … uh … uh … I think it was the Colts. Big man, was it the Colts? (Clarence says, 'Yeah, boss. The Colts.') Well, turns out my dad had a ton of money on the Colts … and they lost. But I didn't care. I was just up in my room strummin' my guitar. Then Dad came upstairs, and I remember asking, "Hey, Pop, who won the game? And Dad got mad and broke my guitar over my head. He busted me up pretty bad, I needed 589 stitches to close the wound. From then on, I knew I needed to start watching football. And so I did. (Dramatic pause.) This is 'Darlington County.'"

Steelers: 41, Cards: 10

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