Tom Ross: Super Bowl superb; Super Jake merely superable
Dare leaves columnist searching for an abundance of superordinate words
I’m writing this column on my laptop while seated in the VIP lounge at LAX on my way home from Mike Jackson’s Super Bowl party. I’ve got to e-mail it in to the newsroom before they call my flight, so I’m feeling some pressure. And there’s this other problem.
While I was at Dreamland, I drank too much of Mike’s wine punch. Sensing I was vulnerable, the King of Pop dared me to write my entire column about the word “super,” and I accepted the challenge. Fortunately for me, number XXXVIII was the Sooper Dooper Bowl. Have you ever witnessed a football game that shifted personalities so abruptly? Throughout the first half, the word “offense” became superfluous. The treatment of the opposing offense by defensive squads for both the Panthers and the Patriots was downright supercilious.
Carolina’s offense was so bad that punter Todd Sauerbrun was their first half superstar. With 5:53 left to play in the half, the teams were tied at zero, the longest a Super Bowl has gone with both teams’ quarterbacks being only superficially involved. Heck, the Patriots still had negative yardage! On the Patriot’s side of the field, I thought linebacker Mike Vrabel, with two sacks and a forced fumble, was the Super Bowl MVP of the first half. Typically, when the game is a stinker, you can count on the TV commercials for entertainment, but there was no superabundance of clever ads before halftime.
Sure, there was a cute commercial for the new Chevy Aveo, a car that appears tiny on the outside, but is super sized on the inside. H &R Block paid $2.25 million to air some nonsense about the Willie Nelson Advice doll, and we had to suffer through Mike Ditka’s diatribe about why baseball players need Levitra more than football players. I got a grin out of FedEx’s superlunary riff on an alien in disguise in the mailroom. But my vote for the “Super Cool Commercial of the First Half” goes to the Budweiser donkey who yearned to grow up to be a Clydesdale. We laughed out loud at the part about the donkey attaching hair extensions to his fetlocks to look more like a big draft horse.
Abruptly, in the final three minutes of the half, the two teams combined for 24 points. I missed two touchdowns while I was in the kitchen making another pan of super nachos.
Finally, half time arrived and we had a chance to watch Mike’s sister Janet cavorting in a Superwoman outfit. For a brief instant, at the end of Janet Jackson’s second number, I could have sworn I saw Justin Timberlake rip a big chunk of Janet’s costume off, an act which should have drawn a yellow flag for “illegal use of hands.”
Where were the zebras when we really needed them? What a supercluster! After a couple of punts, the second half picked up where the first half left off. The Pats’ running back Antowain Smith gave a superhuman effort and wide receiver David Givens played like he had been fitted with a supercharger. On defense, Ted “Mount” Washington blocked up the middle for New England like a supertanker.
The difference for Carolina was the transition of Jake Delhomme from supernormal to superior. He lit up Patriots defensive back Tyrone Poole like a supernova.
In the end, however, all of Delhomme’s heroics were superseded by the right foot of Adam Vinatieri, who already had nailed down a last second Super Bowl win for New England in 2002.
What can you say about a super bowl that goes from super bummer to supernaturally superlative.
Why, in the words of the immortal musical comedy team of Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews, it was supercalifragilistic-expialidocious.
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