By Randy Lewis
Millions of football fans were disheartened a couple of weeks ago to see the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens–and their defensive minded play–earn berths into this Sunday’s Super Bowl. We all know the Super Bowl rarely lives up to all the pre-game buildup, but this year’s game and this year’s Super Sunday in general has the potential to be the dullest, most boring Super Bowl extravaganza ever.
The game begins with the traditional singing of the Star Spangled Banner. This song evokes a sense of pride in all Americans who know what follows is the essence of the United States–grown men hitting each other, large breasted women cheering them on and .com company after .com company spending their entire yearly budget to attract the public to their product, only to end up bankrupt by March 1.
Considering the major demographic that will be tuning into the Super Bowl, I think the NFL fumbled the ball (pardon the disturbingly obvious pun) in their selection of performers for the anthem. BMG/Jive recording mega-stars the Backstreet Boys will kickoff the afternoon with their harmonic-if-not computer-generated sound.
Now relying on the Backstreet Boys to evoke pride is the equivalent of sending the twin bill of Bob Saget and Dave Coulier overseas to entertain the military serving in the Middle East. I can think of nothing that gets anyone more pumped than hearing "cut it out" or an impression of Rocky and Bullwinkle with the appropriate hand gestures.
With the disgustingly long rendition of the anthem out of the way, the athletes take the field. Now for those of you expecting offensive fireworks on Sunday afternoon, you are more likely to find them watching English Premier League soccer down the dial on Sportsnet rather than at the Super Bowl. Those who enjoy the under-appreciated yet infinitely critical punting game will probably end up calling Super Bowl XXXV the greatest game of all-time.
Both teams exhibit overpowering defences which make up for their offensive shortcomings. By the end of the game, the less-than-inspiring play-by-play duo of Greg Gumbel and Phil Simms will have trouble coming up with new superlatives to praise the defensive heroics prominent throughout the game. For the small minority of football fans who enjoy defensive struggles, I envy you. For the rest of us–who enjoy a run of over one yard and the occasional first down–I think we will be shit out of luck come Sunday afternoon.
Many great quarterbacks have suited up in the Super Bowl but this year I am willing to bet neither of the starters will join the list of greats like Namath, Bradshaw, Montana, Favre or Elway.
The Ravens’ Trent Dilfer and his career quarterback rating of 70.1 will duel it out with the Giants’ Kerry Collins. Collins is a former alcoholic who happens to be, alongside partner Robert Downey Jr., the defending champion of the annual Betty Ford Center Bridge Tournament. While both QBs had ample seasons, one can bet their GST rebate check that neither of them will set any Super Bowl records this year, or for the rest of their careers for that matter. Remember Chris Chandler two years ago? Yeah, neither do I.
I think the same fate will befall Dilfer and Collins.
The most exciting part of this year’s Super Bowl celebrations will be seeing which football player decides to put a black mark on the league. Who can forget Eugene Robinson’s foray into the shameful world of prostitution two years ago, and last year’s post bar-fight gash-and-dash by this year’s NFL defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis. My bet’s on San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf one-upping everyone by getting caught with a loaded glock and a bag full of crack-cocaine in his breast pocket. Ahhhh, who cares. His career is in the toilet already.
If all else fails, I still have the half-time spectacular to fall back on. American rock legends Aerosmith will perform alongside yet another byproduct of North America’s turn-of-the-century infatuation with appalling boy-band music *NSYNC. On second thought, I may boycott the Super Bowl and jump on over to the infomercial channel to catch the always exciting, always enthusiastic Ron Popeil and his Food Dehydrator.