PREGAME: I flipped over to the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl around 5:00, just to see what all the aww-ing was about…. and left it there until 6. Whoops. That thing is oddly mesmerizing, certainly more so than Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. I just hope I didn’t miss any heartwarming, inspirational stories about Colts and Bears players overcoming adversity.
After weeks of indecision, I’ve decided to root for the Bears. Peyton already got his redemption in that great game against the Pats – you really can’t call him a choker anymore — so now it’s Rexy’s turn to earn a little respect; partly because I just have fond memories of those SNL skits. Plus, of course, I’ve got $10 on Chicago.
FIRST QUARTER: The game begins and… wow. The Bear’s Hester returned the kick for a 92-yard touchdown. Now that’s how you start a football game.
It starts to rain, and Chicago gets a quick interception – though before I can get irrationally optimistic, the ball goes back to the Colts, and Manning throws a pretty touchdown pass to Wayne.
Adwatch: In a CBS news plug, Katie Couric declares, “we hear a lot about what’s wrong with America… but there are so many examples of America’s can-do spirit!” Yeah, that whole Iraq mess is really hell on the ratings, isn’t it? That’s the real tragedy.
The Bears take the ball away, again, and Jones runs it all the way down to the 5. They score soon afterwards. Da Bears! (Sorry.) But soon after, the Colts recover a dropped Bears ball for the second time this quarter. This is an awfully sloppy game, but at least it’s entertaining: two turnovers per side, and counting.
The Bears’ Benson is hurt. With all the recent stories about ex-players suffering permanent brain damage, this is even more unpleasant to watch than it would be normally. He does hobble off under his own steam, at least.
Manning seems to have gotten his act together, which is not a good sign for the Bears. It’s not good for this game’s entertainment value, either; the Colts, when they are playing well, are a deeply boring team. They’re very effective, but they nibble you to death.
Indianapolis takes the lead, and then we’re treated to back-to-back fumbles. Seriously, I can’t throw even a dry football, and I’m sure it’s really, truly, extremely hard in the rain, but still — don’t these guys ever practice in wet conditions? On the plus side, a few more of these and the game will become ridiculous enough to be entertaining again. Maybe they can go for a Super Bowl fumbling record.
Adwatch: Wild Hogs stars John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, AND Tim Allen? This movie could only appeal to me less if it featured David Spade.
Looking for positives heading into the break, Grossman hasn’t been terrible, and the Bears are holding their own. Sort of.
HALFTIME: When the field was engulfed in smoke and flames, for just one tiny fraction of a second it occurred to me that this was a terrorist attack. Nope, just Prince. You know, he still rocks pretty hard… and the rain doesn’t seem to be affecting him, either. Prince: more clutch than Grossman OR Manning.
Adwatch: What, still no “This is Our Country” ads? Is our long national nightmare finally over?
THIRD QUARTER: The Colts kick ass, but still in a tedious way, with lots of short, dull passes. I’d like to offer some insightful commentary here, but the truth is I watched most of this quarter in fast-forward (having paused the Tivo at halftime to walk the dog). I can still see enough to realize that I’m about to lose $10, though.
Adwatch: Hate to admit it, but the much-hyped Federline insurance ad is actually pretty amusing. But still not as good as Letterman/Oprah in the first.
FOURTH QUARTER: I’m still rooting for the Bears, but honestly, it would be bullshit if they won; they’ve been outplayed from about the fifth minute on. When Rex Grossman throws his second interception, I finally, at long last, well after the rest of the country, accept that he does not actually deserve redemption. Anyway, everyone keeps saying things like “with over ten minutes to go, it’s not over…” but you know what? It’s over.
I can’t help being a little bit happy for Peyton — I see him in so many TV ads, every single day, that he’s started to feel like family. But, poor Eli: those comparisons aren’t going to get any kinder next year.
POSTGAME: Colts owner Jim Irsay takes about 10 seconds to mention the tornadoes in central Florida before going into full gloat mode. I guess that was nice of him.
“There’s an awful lot of shining glory up here, even more than last time, but we’re giving it all to God,” he says. Tony Dungy then says he’s proud to be a Christian coach, and to show that he could win “the Lord’s way.”
Are you there, God? It’s me, tornado-ravaged central Florida. I know you’re busy and all, but when you’re finished helping out the Colts’ defense, do you think you could give us a hand over here? Thnx!
Ah well. Congratulations to the Colts; time for the Bears to go home and wonder why Jesus doesn’t love them.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 5, 2007