Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Wrap Up

This central Indiana girl could not be happier. I barely slept last night, and I remain in blissful denial about the whole "Peyton" thing. To honor my favorite Patriots fan, Bill 'Sports Guy' Simmons, I shall now post my running diary of Super Bowl XLVI. Unfortunately, I neglected to put any timestamps or other markers by my randomly scribbled notes.

Oh-well, Alons-y!


* It's always good to warm up prior to working out, and that's just what the Husband and I did. Hamstring stretch, roll the shoulders, and watch Manchester United draw with Chelsea 3-3 on FOX. Feeling good, feeling loose.

* Bob Costas is on my TV. A Bob Costas sighting means something important is happening. In the background I can see the Indianapolis zip lines. My city looks good on television, can't get enough.

* Who is the young guy in the suit talking to Bob Costas? Great camera presence, very articulate. Wait... no... is that the adorkable AARON RODGERS!?! So early in the day and we've already had a major upset! Not only is he a shockingly good TV personality, he knows how to wear a suit! GOLD STAR!

* All these shots of shiny, happy Indianapolis are making me homesick. May need to go on a Kleenex run before kickoff. Tony Dungy appears on screen, and I feel the irresistible urge to hug everything in my house.

* Can't help but notice they are keeping the "Peyton" references to a polite and tasteful minimum. Nonetheless, I have cried three times, and the game hasn't even started yet.

* Bob Costas mediated what may have been the most deliciously awkward conversation I've ever seen: Rodney Harrison and David Tyree breaking down the helmet catch together. Rodney was so devastated by that play that he retired. David never caught another ball in his career. Still, Costas keeps poking the bear. I can't help feeling like something violent happened as soon as the cameras turned off, wish I could find it on YouTube.


* First Belichick sighting of the day. He's wearing the gray hoodie. Bad sign, history shows he's nearly invincible in the gray hoodie. But, knowing him, he's watched the game film and figured this out for himself, so we'll never seen the red or blue hoodies ever again.

* Banner time, featuring Kelly Clarkson with backup vocals from what appears to be a children's choir. Uneventful, which is all we ever really need from a Banner performance. Strong showing by Kelly... wait... does she have the words written on the inside of her wrist, or is that a tattoo?


* 'IT'S TIME IT'S TIME IT'S FINALLY TIME!' said by seven year old Bethy on Christmas morning and also 30 year old Bethy today.

* Giants receive to start the game. Already loving the predominately Giants crowd in Indy. The locals have been good and patient hosts all week and now it's time to get down to business. The forces of evil and darkness must be dealt with once and for all.

* They're not booing, they're saying Cruuuuuuuz.

* Wearing my lucky blue Colts hoodie. On 3rd and 13, Husband suggests I put up the hood, like a rally cap. Eli nearly murdered as a result. Husband shouts: 'NEVER WEAR THAT HOOD AGAIN!'

* First commercial break. Husband is damn near offended by the concept of 'platinum beer.' I'm a little befuddled by the Audi killing vampires. Suddenly distracted by the twitter trend #bbcsuperbowl. Apparently, a few sports fans overseas are watching the game between the hours of midnight and 4am - good job by them! While we in the States get commercials, the BBC is advert-free! They get analysts discussing the game in the studio instead. One of the analysts is Danny Amendola, receiver for the St Louis Rams. Had to look him up because I wasn't sure who he was. Curious to know how he got that ambassador gig. The UK ladies seem smitten, both with him and with his shoes.

* Back to action, and we get our first shot of Giselle in the pressbox. Immediately afterward, Brady intentional grounding call results in a SAFETY. Coincidence? Too soon to tell, too busy jumping around the house to care. Elton John falls down into the dungeon and Husband cracks up laughing at Flav. I can't help wondering how Danny Amendola is explaining the safety to the BBC.

* Catch and fumble nullified by 12 men on the field. Pats losing due to sloppiness? The Manning family needs to keep the number of whatever New Orleans witchdoctor they hired for this voodoo. 9-0, Giants.

* The fun-sized Danny Woodhead with a good kick return. Part of me started to shout “RUN IT BACK” but then I remembered who was playing and nearly swallowed my tongue. I’ve reached that over-stimulated point, and it’s still first quarter.

* Patriots field goal followed by a 'Prohibition is Over' ad. There's deep, liberating poetry here, but I'll have to think about it later. 9-3, Giants still leading.

* Trying to figure out when to fetch my Super Bowl fajita. Between the game, the commercials, the BBC twitter feed, and my phone blowing up, I’m on the brink of total mental shutdown. I should have DVR'd this.

* Question - isn't John Carter the guy from Terminator?

* Giants just look like the better team; makes me think the Patriots have us all right where they want us. This could end so very badly.

* Giants punt, commercial features David Beckham modeling undershorts. The #bbcsuperbowl feed is complaining about not being able to see the ads; maybe that would have changed their minds?

* Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth talking about how awesome Indianapolis has been as a Super Bowl host. Tearing up again, never did go on that Kleenex run.

* A CHAD OCHOCINCO SIGHTING... sort of. Pats making punter Zoltan Mesko work for a living. Enjoyed the pre-game piece on him, about how he fled war and communism in search of the American dream... and then became the Patriots Punter. Please tell me a job that better exemplifies the 'streets of gold' American dream than 'Patriots Punter' - you can't.

* Not a single Peyton Manning sighting thus far. Last time Eli was in the Super Bowl, we could have turned it into a drinking game. Maybe NBC’s keeping him in their pocket for added 4th quarter drama.

* Still 9-3, ~6 minutes to go in the half. Also, I’m thinking all of those people who insisted on taking the ‘over’ just turned off the game and visited their friendly neighborhood cinema to watch 'Man on a Ledge.' I don't know what that means.

* Punting, punting, and more punting. Patriots pinned inside the 5, 4 minutes to go. It’s fajita time.

* Star Wars 3-D commercial crushed my soul. I’m really afraid my day is about to take a nasty turn. Looking up showtimes for 'Man on a Ledge'...

* Call me Nostradamus. Patriots drive 96 yards to go ahead 10-9 just before half. I’m no longer having fun, but my fajita was delicious.

* The BBC viewers are getting bored (or sleepy/slap-happy). They’re tweeting ideas for #UKNFLteams. I couldn’t be happier about this distraction. I’m particularly fond of the Kent Clarks, the Liverpool Beetles, and the Greenwich Meantimes. And apparently the "London Blitz" is a real team!? That's one of the best team names I've ever heard!


* Madonna enters Cleopatra-style and exists David Blaine-style. Nice to see them doing something different for a change. She's wearing She-Ra's headpiece, and I think she's regretting her shoe decision. All in all, I enjoyed it. And TIGHTROPE MAN!

My favorite part of every halftime show is when the performer gets to the final song in their set, and you can see the palpable RELIEF on their face. I think she had fun, more than that I think she took it really, really seriously. And I think she probably killed whats-her-face backstage with the heel of her boot as she hissed the word "amateur" through clenched teeth.

* I think Clint Eastwood just asked me if he had five bullet or six... I can't explain why, but now I'm inspired to go change the world.


* NBC leading into the 2nd half with Lady Gaga’s “On the Edge of Glory.” Please tell me that was hilarious to everyone.

* A LEGIT Ochocinco sighting! A CATCH even! Oh Ocho, if this is the last time we see each other, I hope we part as friends. And if you're serious about switching to soccer, I'd like to introduce you to this guy, his name's Mario Balotelli.

* Patriots score again almost immediately. 17-9 and I hate everything. I HATE EVERYTHING!

* Hakeem Nicks POPPED and quite possibly injured. I can’t see, I’m going numb, I want to go back to yesterday when everything was hopeful and righteous.

* Tynes with the field goal, 12-17. Trying to make friends via #bbcsuperbowl because it's cheaper than a therapist.

* Husband reverts to giggling twelve year old during the Fiat commercial, nodding at the woman regardless of what she says. He will proceed to discuss the impact of this commercial on his life for several days to come.

* Shot of Abby Manning in the press box. She doesn’t look happy. I’m not happy either. We’re the same.

* Another beautiful shot of Indy coming back from commercial. TOM BRADY, YOU WILL NOT RUIN MY DAY!

* Husband just discovered that he won a free large one toping pizza and a one liter Pepsi Maxx from Papa John's because the coin toss to start the game was heads. At least someone is having fun.

* Inspired by the optimistic tone of all of these commercials. Just heard Al Michaels shout DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!? YES AL! YES I DO!

* Tom Brady possibly injured his left shoulder. That wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for when I screamed at him to stop ruining my day. 17-12 Patriots, ~3 minutes left in the 3rd.

* Eli sacked again. Giants kicking field goal again. 15-17, Patriots.

* Tom Brady tries his best helmet catch impression, and gets intercepted. Be a leader, not a follower, Tommy.

* Brutal clock management by the Giants. After the timeout to avoid the delay of game, they false start. Double whammy.

* Non-interference call. Stupid. A wise woman once told me the ball always knows. It's true, Patriots fans. The ball always knows. *cue the ominous music*

* Waiting patiently for the makeup call, and realizing it’s still a 2 point difference. Man, those two points feel like 200 right now.


* Long throw to Manningham challenged. Most impressive part: he almost fell right on Belichick and Big Bill didn’t even flinch. He could have ended up with Sean Payton’s Mobilegs, and he’s like, 'What?'

* Pats let Giants score on purpose in an evil genius move. We were like, YES YES YAYAY NOOOO! NOOOOO! And then I screamed, “May the football gods strike them down for their hubris! MAKE IT SO!”

* Less than a minute left, and Husband is rooting for the Patriots to march it down the field, leading to the following exchange:
Husband: I don't want them to win, I just WANT THE DRAMA!

And then I burst into flames.

* As the Patriots complete the 4th down conversion, I start Googling divorce attorneys, sighting 'irreconcilable differences.'

* BUT NO! The Hail Mary falls incomplete! The game is saved, my marriage is saved, the city of Indianapolis has been defended and I'm hugging my television with both arms and legs saying, "Thank you, Eli. Thank you. We will forever celebrate 'Little Brother Appreciation Day,' and our children's children will know your name."

The Giants may have walked away with the trophy, but I find it hard to believe ANYONE won bigger than the city of Indianapolis. Congrats to everyone in Indy for a job well done. For the Patriots reaction, this is all you need to know. And to any potential friends from #bbcsuperbowl, I hope Patriots/Rams works out for you next fall. We'll always have Danny Amendola.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

LIVE from Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis!

A few years ago, I was convinced that Chicago would get the honor of hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. Obviously, I was delusional (and it still stings). But, around that same time, Indianapolis put in a bid to host a Super Bowl - an effort that seemed like a much bigger long-shot at the time. This weekend, Indy gets its chance to shine on a global stage.

Indianapolis: the Circle City, the Crossroads of America - 12th largest city in the United States, home to approximately 780,000 people, a city largely defined by it's role in the sports world. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the Indy 500, the Brickyard 400, and used to host the only Formula One race in the States. The NCAA Headquarters are in Indy, and they host the NCAA Final Four about every four years. They host the Big Ten Championships in basketball and football on a regular basis. It's the home of the Indiana Pacers NBA team, the Indiana Fever WNBA team, and the Indianapolis Indians AAA baseball team (which feeds into the Pittsburgh Pirates system - I know, I know, not something most people would brag about). Not to mention the Butler Bulldogs, NCAA basketball championship finalists two years running.

Little Midwestern towns aren't supposed to host Super Bowls, especially not during the teeth of winter. But, when I made my way 'home' last weekend, I saw a city full of vibrant, shiny people who couldn't wait to welcome the biggest event in American sports - even if it did involve their most bitter rivals, the Patriots.

Here's a sampling of our visit:
In Indy, the football, baseball, and basketball stadiums are all within a few blocks of each other, centrally located in the center of town near Monument Circle. These few blocks were shut off to car traffic and transformed into the "Super Bowl Village" - inspired by the Winter Olympics. The picture above is of the football stadium. Last year at this time we were enjoying a big snow storm, but this week Indy's had temperatures around 60 degrees. It would be glorious if they could have the stadium's retractable roof open for the game, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
One of the features of the Super Bowl Village is this tower, which rises 100 feet in the air and houses four ziplines that take passengers zooming across 800 feet of the village. I didn't ride it, but I watched for awhile, and the crowd milling about below enjoyed shouting at the zipliners as they whipped by. I'm guessing it was much colder for them up there than it was for me, but they all looked happy.
Keeping with the Winter Olympics theme, the village had several winter activities, such as curling lessons. There were also several indoor events, such as the NFL Experience (an interactive display housed in the shiny new Convention Center), the Play 60 thinger, where kids could learn how to catch and take handoffs from real Colts players and get those black eye stickers. I thought the Play 60 thing kind of looked like a snow globe, but I apparently didn't get a picture of it. There were also two live performances stages in the village, where spectators gathered for free concerts. The whole area had an upbeat, bouncy rhythm to it.
Quite possibly the COOLEST thing of all were the Indy 500 race cars lined up by Monument Circle - 32 race cars, painted to look like each of the 32 teams in the NFL, and one generic NFL car, all lined up in eleven rows of three, just like the starting lineup for the Indy 500 race. Tied the whole event together quite nicely, and the fans were CRAZY about them. Everyone wanted to get pictures with their favorite team's car.
My husband took this close-up of the Cincinnati Bengals car, after he drooled over it for an indiscernible amount of time, repeatedly mumbling, "Look at my car! It's the best looking one, LOOK AT IT!" As he gazed longingly at the orange and black stripes, I watched a group of college guys 'Tebowing' for the cameras by the Denver Broncos car, and a group of high school girls 'Discount Doublechecking' by the Packers car. I'm telling you, people LOVED those cars.
To state the obvious, last Saturday the festivities in Indy were largely attended by the locals, enjoying the fruits of their labor before all of the out-of-towners descended. Therefore, it was nearly impossible to get within spitting distance of the Colts race car. We got close enough to get a picture, but not close enough for either of us to be IN the picture. We didn't mind - everyone was in too good of a mood to mind much of anything. Even when the one Patriots fan already in town started yelling "GO PATRIOTS" at the top of his lungs, the locals all laughed before they shouted back "BOOO!"

I couldn't have been more thrilled with what I saw. The good people in Indy know they'll probably only get one chance to host something like this. They're too small, too remote, too wintery to be considered for a second chance. They've grabbed this event by the scruff of the neck, and they're attacking it for all it's worth, even with Peyton Manning's murky future casting a shadow over the good times (for the record, I'm refusing to think about it or talk about it until August).

Good job by you, Indy. Now all we need is a Patriots loss to make the experience complete.