And just a day away from the Super Bowl, I know this seems to be an absurdly nonsensical statement, but it’s simple science, really: after the game is over Sunday night, when you’re full of beer and covered with the ghostly sauce of a thousand forgotten chicken wings, the realization will slowly sink in that A) you have to work tomorrow, B) the mini-meatballs are already battling the PBR for stomach supremacy, and C) you are now at the greatest possible distance from the next game of professional football.
This is a football hangover, and it leaves me feeling just the slightest bit sorrowful.
That’s why the Super Bowl is so important; it isn’t just a game, but a dramatic conclusion to 5 months of beautiful, sanctioned violence that grabs your Sunday by the balls and demands, “YOU WILL WATCH ME. YOU WILL DO NOTHING ELSE.”
When the madness ends, football fans are forced back into the minutiae of real life. Their existence becomes a series of dull paintings with titles like, “Sunday Family Outing with Wife and Kids to Old Country Buffet,” “Elderly Man Coughing on You at Church,” and “Chatting with Children as They Fling Pigs at Birds on Handheld Device.”
So it is imperative that football fans drink in the majesty of Sunday’s game. And because the affair is thick with story lines, one needn’t even be an ardent fan to appreciate the proceedings.
Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, widely lampooned for his proclamation of being an “elite” quarterback, has been having a hell of a postseason. Teammate/Jesus-freak/acquitted murderer/certain Hall of Famer/deer antler imbiber Ray Lewis will be black-facing himself and doing his party pants dance for the final time.
Meanwhile, San Fran’s tattooed Super Boy/position usurper Colin Kaepernick becomes only one of four quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl during a season in which they made their first start. Earlier this week, Supaernick’s teammate Chris Culliver boldly proclaimed his disdain for gays, a decidedly poor decision for a player representing a city known for its broad acceptance of such proclivities.
Because the coverage is incessant in the event’s preceding weeks, I’ll not bore you with the “AMAZING FACTS!” trotted out by ESPN and Friends at every interval. You know, like the fact that “the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach is brothers with the Baltimore Ravens’ head coach!” or, “Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis’ first sack was against one of them when that one was quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts!”
(This last bit of confusion is completely on me; like the Belushi brothers of shared first names, I can never remember who’s who, and trust me, I know that the Belushi issue is a MUCH bigger transgression for me as a human being. The Harbaugh’s are both good-to-very good coaches; John Belushi was a comedic genius while Brother Jim was in Curly Sue.)
Compelling statistical factoids (the Ravens have the postseason record since EVER!) and intriguing storylines aside (the Harbrothers share parents!), this should be a very good game.
Baltimore’s defense is more rugged than the original Marlboro Man sucking down a smoke through his tracheotomy hole; they are also nearly as old as that man (who is most assuredly no longer of this world). Because of their age—and broken knees and assorted other accumulated physical grievances—I have been guilty of discounting them for oh, say, about the past eight years. The real kick in the beak, however, is their aggrandized resiliency that seemingly knows no bounds. Every time I write the consortium off as a washed up collection of arthritic malcontents, they astound me with their impenetrable defense. Perhaps Lewis is guilty of slipping deer antler potion into their postgame Gatorade.
Will they prove malleable enough against San Francisco’s potent offense, though?
Much like my disbelief in the aged abilities of the aforementioned birds, I have also been guilty of dismissing the 49er’s offense as something of a novelty; each week, I wait for QB Kaepernick to finally plummet back to something approaching a respectable human status, and he pisses on my reality by continuing to perform like a character in a video game… you know, like he’s being controlled by the fat kid whose parents don’t limit his Xbox time, the one who manages to put 28 points on you in the first quarter without losing a solitary crumb from his Doritos Locos Taco or spilling a drip of his Mountain Dew Baja Blast.
They sure are fun to watch, but even the greatest programs end, eventually.
And I think the train stops on Sunday, against the Baltimore Ravens.
I think that, infused with the power of some bizarre almighty who thinks that murder is “kinda shitty, but maybe not a sin, I guess,” Lewis and friends flummox the previously unflappable Kaepernick and Joe Flacco does JUST enough to squeak out a win.
Lewis will freak out like you’ve never seen anyone freak out ever before, his head will explode into a fine, rapturous mist, shooting particles of eye-black, brain matter and perfect teeth all over the field, and Flacco will parlay his victory into a gaudy free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he will spend the next 5 seasons making everyone here more miserable than they already were.
This is the way that life works, because sometimes, life is terrible.
Baltimore Ravens 28, San Francisco 49ers 24
Enjoy the game, everyone!
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