Friday, February 02, 2007

Two Days Away...

Here we are, with Super Bowl XLI just around the corner. I have to ask myself: is this really happening?

I mean, when the game starts Sunday, will the Colts and Da Bears actually take the field? Or will the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots ambush everyone by bursting out of the tunnel to battle for the Lombardi Trophy? Will Peyton Manning be under center, or will Tom Brady (who, as seen in exclusive TFT photos, apparently likes the Bears)? Will Rex Grossman start for Chicago, or will Brian Griese? I must know!

I work for a TV station in Indianapolis, and we've sent reporters to Miami. I see their reports every day, but I get kind of a "we faked the moon landing" feeling from those pieces. I see Peyton and company splashed across SportsCenter, I see Tank Johnson taking target practice outside the University of Miami practice complex, yet there's a sense this is all as fake as Laser Rocket Arm's wig in that Sprint commercial.

Is this really happening?

Did the Chicago Bears, under the determined leadership of Lovie Smith, power through the NFC Championship Game? Wasn't this supposed to be the Story of the Year with the New Orleans Saints? Did the New England Patriots, proud franchise and root of unspeakable pain for Colts fans, actually choke? Weren't Peyton Manning and the soft Colts running game/defense supposed to lay down so the Pats could be anointed the Best Team Ever?

I am shocked that these teams are where they are now. But ex-Arizona coach Dennis Green isn't shocked. I mean, how jazzed up must he be that he predicted this Bears Super Bowl Berth all along? After all, they are who he thought they are! The Bears boasted a glitzy record, but their wins were anything but entertaining, for the most part. Featuring Rex "Gunslinger" Grossman, the Bears offense lulled many football fans to sleep (or gave Bears fans nightmares when Evil Rexy showed up with his sub-30 QB rating). Yet, here the Bears are.

I, like many, figured the Colts were ready for a "one and done" performance in the postseason. They limped through the end of the season, with especially embarrassing losses against Tennessee, Houston, and Jacksonville (375 rushing yards allowed vs. Jax; I still can't believe that). A first-round matchup against KC and Larry Johnson looked to spell doom for the struggling rush defense. Yet, here the Colts are.

This has been a tough two weeks. A fan at heart, all I care about is the game. I don't care about the commercials, the halftime show, what fans are doing in Miami, the parties, the celebrities; I don't want any part of it. That's what we've had to endure over the last two weeks (and by we, I do mean ALL football fans). Is there a game in the middle of all this craziness? Do they actually play football during the Super Bowl? Or is it all commercials, pitches, and such? I mean, for the love of everything holy, SportsCenter had a "Campbell's Soup Media Availability" with Donovan McNabb. Unbelievable. Is his team even in the game?

The answer to that question is a resounding no. But the answer the game question is a resounding yes; there actually is a game in the middle of this Super Bowl.

It's the Bears vs. the Colts.

Godspeed, Indy.

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