Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Steel or Feathers? Superbowl XL

Pity the poor Detroit Lions. This Sunday's Superbowl extravaganza at the Pontiac Silverdome is as close as the city is likely to get to that hallowed game. I think the team's been jinxed ever since George Plimpton donned the Lions uniform to provide research for his book "Paper Lion." Since then the Lions have played with all the determination of a paper team competing in a scissors league. They play like journalists in pads. But never mind the poorly scripted reality show that is the Detroit Lions. ("I'm a Detroit Draft Pick, Get Me Out of Here!" or "The Amazing Waste") We want to focus on the big game itself, now less than a week away. In spite of the Motor City's recent malaise as former powerhouse automakers GM and Ford tighten their belts to the point they look like Lindsay Lohan during Lent, Detroit is determined to put on a super show as the Superbowl enters middle age. Turning 40 this year, Detroit doesn't want Super Bowl XL having a midlife crisis. True, it's 40 years later and the original British Invasion seems complete. The Rolling Stones are performing at halftime. They're as American as shepherd's pie, yet here they are facing (let's be honest, early Geezerhood) and they're performing at our quintessential U.S. sporting event. I guess they are tamer than poor, maligned Janet Jackson. That's the other buzz on this event, that it could be the site of a spectacular Al Qaeda-fueled terror attack. With three threatening videotapes in the past month alone, you have to start wondering if they're going to start issuing press kits. Maybe Osama and the guy with the glasses will show up with the teams during media week? All I can say is if there are any surprises at the Super Bowl I'd rather see nipples than nukes! Word has it there has been a lot of terrorist "chatter" about Detroit and the date February 5th. Well, duh, it's the Superbowl. They're probably betting on the game. Somebody wiretap the bookies! I do have my preferences on this. The Steelers represent a traditional blue collar town, and an industry that is a shadow of its former self. As tough as the Seahawks team seems, they reside in an area famous for latte-sipping, tofu-eating hippies. How can we root for a city whose people might not care if their team wins? Also the Steelers still wear the same team uniform with its solid black and gold color scheme. The Seahawks abandoned their blue and gray for a hue that can best be described as "algae." Yes, it might be necessary for oceans to thrive, but it's still slime. Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren has already won a Superbowl with the Packers. Steelers Coach Bill Cowher has been laboring for the Steelers for 14 long years (that's two consecutive Biblical famine periods) with no ring to show for it. What better going away present for retiring running back Jerome Bettis? Even though I'd prefer to see a Steelers victory, my number one goal here is to see a GAME. That's something I didn't see during the Conference Championship weekend, when the Steelers and Seahawks basically blew out their opponents by a comfortable margin. Also I am including in my nightly prayers, "Lord, please don't let this game be decided, or ruined, by ZEBRAS!" (Honestly, as Noah was closing up the ark I think I would've left the whole referee species behind.) The Steelers ARE at a bit of a disadvantage, playing in a dome. This is a team that is accustomed to battling the elements, along with the other team. And we all know Mother Nature can be a formidable opponent! In the controlled atmosphere of Ford Field they may feel like a pigskin science experiment rather than an athletic contest. It may distract them! But as long as the Steelers players keep their Terrible Towels firmly affixed to their bodies during any commercials with one or more Desperate Housewives, I think we can keep the FCC at bay. So my prediction: Big Ben Roethlisberger shakes off the thumb injury and takes it to the Hawks. If the two teams produce an exciting game, and we get through it without a hint of terrorism, then I will consider us all winners.

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