2:45 pm. 15 minutes remain until the biggest television event of the year. No, it’s not American Idol (although, judging by its ratings, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to suggest so). Are you ready, Hank Williams Jr.? Because I am. After the unnecessary bye week, the uneventful media days, and – according to the listings – four hours of pre-game coverage, we’re finally ticking down to the opening kickoff. Pittsburgh. Seattle. Detroit. XL. The Super Bowl blog.
2:55 pm. Speaking of the man, Hank Williams Jr. makes his requisite (and perhaps, final) pre-game appearance. What happens to him next year? Does NBC dump him and get Joey Fatone to write new songs? And why was Joey Fatone in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?
3:03 pm. When you have every living Super Bowl MVP in attendance, that is just fucking awesome. Simple as that. Not awesome? Hank Williams Jr. inexplicably in the crowd waving a terrible towel. How many times do you think I can mention Hank Williams Jr. before this column is over?
3:17 pm. “I’m going to Disneyworld” commercial. Cute. Disney rules. Although I have to wonder… isn’t this the biggest jinx ever? A bunch of players sitting around trying to figure out how exactly to say the famous line after their impending victory? Nice.
3:25 pm. Suzy Kolber sure makes funny faces when she’s talking. Real animated – it’s as though she’s emphasizing something… only she’s emphasizing everything. It’s kind of like what Stephen Colbert does on the Report. Hell, Suzy looks like she’s ready to go out there and hit somebody.
3:27 pm. Game time. Pittsburgh kicker Jeff Reed lines it up… as his profile picture makes him look uncannily like an insane Matt LeBlanc.
3:33 pm. How much does Bud spend on Super Bowl commercials every year? Come on! How about providing pensions, or better benefits or something for their employees? Wake up, August Busch IV! (Incidentally, one of the funniest names of all time)
3:46 pm. Not much to say about the game so far. Seattle looks more efficient than Pittsburgh, but neither team has done anything.
3:48 pm. Bud commercial count? 3 in less than a quarter. 3!
3:59 pm. Josh Brown puts the Hawks on the board with under a minute remaining in the first, 3-0. Still, Matt Hasselbeck (who, by the way, has the hottest sister-in-law around in former Survivor contestant Elisabeth Filarski) can throw on the Steelers. All day long.
4:20 pm. Yawn. Re: game. Re: commercials. At this pace, I’m going to fall asleep by the third. The Steelers finally picked up a couple of first downs, and then almost immediately, Roethlisberger severely underthrows his receiver and gets picked. Nice… nice.
4:26 pm. Antwaan Randel El just died. Seriously. Took a vicious hit in mid-flip on a punt return. Brutal.
4:39 pm. Roethlisberger dives in for a highly questionable score. World, meet replay official. Replay official, world. I don’t think he got in, but “what do I know? I’m just a girl” (Note: I’m not actually a girl… that was an homage to Malibu Stacy).
4:44 pm. Naturally, I’m wrong, and it counts. 7-3 Steelers, 1:55 in the half.
4:54 pm. Awful clock management by the Seahawks, a missed field goal, and we’re at the half in a pretty lackluster game. To the sidelines, where Bill Cowher commendably tries very, very hard not to spit in Michele Tafoya’s face. Meanwhile, we go over to Suzy Kolber, who interrupts Mike Holmgren yelling at the officials. Not good times. Awkward times. Obviously rattled, she throws him a softie question, doesn’t pursue it when he starts talking about something else, then wisely runs away.
4:58 pm. Hugh Hefner (in a lame Desperate Housewives spot) resembles Bill Maher. A lot. And that’s disturbing.
5:02 pm. The ESPN crew is doing the halftime report. And since I’m not paying attention, I’d like to say that my favorite part of NFL Primetime has to be “Jacked Up”! Every one of those guys gets so into that segment. Jaworski’s face even gets red, from either laughing or screaming – it’s awesome. “…because Matt Hasselbeck, you got [quick pause; then, in unison, top of their voices] JACKED UP!” High energy.
5:06 pm. The Rolling Stones = time for a food break.
5:19 pm. Mick Jagger is wearing some disturbingly tight pants. I think I’ve lost my appetite.
5:32 pm. Right out of the half, Willie Parker breaks it 75 yards for a touchdown. Wow. And now Seattle, in a game that it has pretty much dominated so far, finds itself down 14-3.
5:35 pm. I hate to be a bastard, but the mere sight of Hurley (the fat guy) on Lost just disgusts me. Seriously, man.
5:42 pm. Another missed field goal. Josh Brown, goat. And we quickly move onto what is at least the 7th Bud commercial of the night.
5:52 pm. Holy shit. Roethlisberger throws an awful pick down in the red zone, and Herndon returns it all the way inside the Steelers 20. Hasselbeck to Stevens, and guess what, kids? We got ourselves a ballgame! 14-10. Stunning turn of events. Not as stunning as the creepy Hummer ad (with the robot and lizard procreating), but stunning nonetheless.
6:15 pm. We’ve reached the end of three, with Seattle trying to put together a drive from their own 2. Still 14-10, Steel City.
6:23 pm. A gift interception from Hasselbeck. Unbelievable. If it weren’t for a phantom hold, the Seahawks have the ball on the goal line, and inevitably take the lead. Instead, Pittsburgh has it back with good field position.
6:28 pm. Trick play. Reverse, toss. Touchdown, Hines Ward. 21-10, Pittsburgh. It’s not over yet, with 8:56 left in the fourth, but someone might want to tell the fat lady to warm up.
6:30 pm. MacGyver! (Clever MasterCard commercial)
6:47 pm. Cue the fat lady. Cue all the “Jerome Bettis returns home, wins the Super Bowl, and retires” features. The Seahawks didn’t have any urgency on their last possession, and that’s costing them now. Precious seconds ticking away.
6:54 pm. And to think… if Nick Harper doesn’t cut back inside for no reason three weeks ago, Roethlisberger doesn’t make the tackle, the Colts don’t get eliminated, and the Steelers aren’t the winners of Super Bowl XL. 2 minutes remaining until it’s official.
7:03 pm. It’s official. Tons of penalties (some extremely questionable), two huge missed field goals by Josh Brown, and an even bigger pick by Matt Hasselbeck. Your Super Bowl winners by default? The Steel Curtain!*
7:15 pm. So what have we learned here tonight? The Seahawks can’t manage the clock, Jerome Bettis puts a storybook ending on his career, The Shaggy Dog will be huge despite its atrocious Super Bowl spot, and ABC’s resurgence is about to take a few steps back with some CSI knock-off (The Evidence) and Arrested Development drama-lite (Sons & Daughters). Well, Grey’s Anatomy is coming on, and that means only one thing. Yep, it’s time to turn off the television and call it a night. Good night… and good luck.**
* With Pittsburgh covering the four point spread, I also ended up a (partial) winner. The final results of Man Versus Coin? Man, 5-6. Coin, 5-6. Sweet, sweet vindication.
** Sorry, like the middle-aged douchebag I was sitting next to when watching the George Clooney film, I couldn’t resist.