|Holy parity, Batman, didn't I write this column last year?
I'm fresh out of material, my friends. It was a scant 12 months ago that I pondered a Titans-Rams Super Bowl and nearly spat out my room temperature can of Pabst Blue Ribbon (once the fresh, icy brews were demolished, I had to turn to the sleepers).
Now what does the ghost of Pete Rozelle give me, the DirecTV-subscribing, early-rising, Bloody Mary-imbibing pigskin lunatic?
He giveth me Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins.
This is not a Super Bowl. This is a halfway house.
It was just last year when I ranted about how brutal the concept of a Titans-Rams Super Bowl would be, how the memories of Bradshaw and Montana, of Starr and Staubach would be sullied; how this was like casting Tony Danza in a play with Olivier and DeNiro. (Come to think of it, why haven't we seen Danza in a halftime show yet? Isn't he due for a dramatic reading, or a Shatner-like singing effort?)
Now, staring coldly into the eyes of a Ravens-Giants Super Bowl, I can only think of the Titans-Rams game as a gift from the heavens, created on Mount Olympus and handed down to those of us who dwell in the guacamole-stained La-Z-Boy.
I have already heard the Pollyannas. By sunset on Sunday, I had heard from some blow-drieds that this Super Bowl could be one of the most intriguing
matchups ever!; how the two defenses were so brilliant!; how the matchups could be so dynamic!
|Yes, Kerry Collins will join Montana, Bradshaw, Starr and the long legacy of Super Bowl quarterbacks ...|
I think I heard the same type of blather before Hands Across America back in '86.
It's like what my eighth-grade teacher wrote in my yearbook on graduation day, when I asked him to sign while wearing my rented suit: "To Brian: Just
remember, a monkey in a tuxedo is still a monkey."
Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Super Bowl XXXV. The only reasons worth heading to Tampa? A Bacchanalian night at Bern's Steakhouse (on the company
dime, of course); a night of ornithology at Mons Venus; and the possibility of Florida resident O.J. Simpson making a cameo in Ray Lewis' limo.
And yeah, I saw that Wellington Mara acceptance speech. The one that said how all us media-types were the ones who said the Giants were the worst team
to win home-field advantage, and the worst team to make the NFC title game, and how he said they were now the worst team to win the NFC, and would try
to be the worst team ever to win the Super Bowl.
Yo, Wellie: I got your irony right here, pal. You know what? Take that tongue out of your cheek. You are the worst team to ever make a Super Bowl. You are the worst team to try to win the big prize. There ain't no changing that.
And it's not funny. We're the ones who have to watch Kerry Collins and Trent Dilfer. And N'Sync at halftime. And a pregame show that starts -- when? --
And you know what?
We won't miss a play of it.
That's how hypnotized we are, Mr. Commissioner. You own us. Take us to your leader. Enjoy the macabre nature of it all, and please -- pretty please? --
get us a couple of great teams in the show next year?
With that, dear reader, our List of Five from Championship Sunday, the best day in sports, save perhaps for the day of XFL cheerleader tryouts:
1. An open letter to Raider fans
|... and so will Trent Dilfer.|
Dear Raider fan,
Ah, you know what? I can't even do it. I was so tempted, too. After all, I took a well-deserved vacation to Europe over the New Year and used one of
those cyber-cafes to check e-mail only to find, amid the splendor and magnificence of Paris, the City of Lights, one of the most foul, profane and
insulting missives a man could hope to receive from one of your minions who shall go nameless. The language was so foul, I could almost hear the
mouth-breathing; the grammar and punctuation so poor, I could almost smell the face paint.
And you know what? I've covered the Raiders. I like Jon Gruden. I like Rich Gannon. They're good guys. They deserve good things. You, sir, on the other hand, deserve what you got and, what I might add, I confidently predicted as far back as Halloween: Inestimable January heartbreak. Let's repeat that, for the sheer pettiness of it all: In-est-i-ma-ble Jan-u-ar-y heart-break.
As for the rest of you Raiders fans? Great year. You should enjoy it. That's my message to you, people. Life is too short to not enjoy it. And see you in training camp for more not-so-good-natured banter. Except for you, Neanderthal Man.
2. Tony Siragusa, a k a Minister of Death
If Tony Siragusa fell on me the way he fell on Rich Gannon, I'd have simply died, bought it, ate it, right there on the 10-yard line.
Seriously. Just bury me in my cleats, right there with that 400-pound extraterrestrial on top of me. That Gannon even got up, and that Gannon
even played again is testament to a physical courage that is almost beyond description. I'm going to have nightmares tonight, and they will be of Tony
Siragusa, bursting into my room, skying into the air, and driving me into my mattress, where I will be lost in a world of feathers forever.
3. Straight up, the Modell thing Is a bummer
|When Tony Siragusa falls, you don't want to be the guy he lands on.|
Cleveland, I feel your pain. I'm even sending a shout-out to my man Big Dawg. To all the fine, partying folk of The Flats, to all the good Ohioans who cheer Chief Wahoo in the summer, and pray at the shrine of Jim Brown in the winter, I say to you that Art Modell making the Super Bowl sucks.
4. Jim Fassel: He's still mean
Man, that whole Fassel Got Mean thing worked out OK, huh? Blew off reporters, guaranteed glory for his boys, blew off more reporters, and
guaranteed more glory. I think, though, the man should crack a cold one and smile a little bit for a week. Otherwise, I'll be scared of him like I am of
Tony Siragusa, a k a Minister of Death.
5. Trent Dilfer? I'll give it up for the guy
I am flat-out taking credit for the Ravens' stirring win. My boy, Mike, who writes for a famous weekly sports magazine, called me up on Saturday and
said he was taking Trent Dilfer to sushi somewhere in the Bay Area on Saturday and wanted a recommendation. Now, for a guy who had just spent
three weeks in Ireland and France, where they know nothing of American football other than to fear Tony Siragusa, there could have been no more
hilarious re-entry into U.S. culture: "Dude," my SoCal-raised boy said, "I'm taking Trent Dilfer for sushi. Any ideas?" That is some funny stuff.
So, I hooked them up with a place in San Mateo with solid fish. Got a message from my boy saying all went well. Next thing I knew, Dilfer was hooking up
with Shannon Sharpe for a 96-yard TD.
God freaking bless America, people.
Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle is a regular contributor to Page 2.