The Big Game

The two-minute warning has sounded and you can almost smell relief approaching like a cheese pretzel from two sections of drunken Raider fans away. They always string it out, but this year our "get it over with already" meter is deep in the red as the NFL season mercifully comes to an end on Sunday.

When the Indianapolis Colts take the field as seven-point favorites against the Chicago Bears, in what is being called the I-65 Showdown, named for the 160 miles of freeway that separate the two cities and not the average IQ of anybody who still gives a rat's ass after two long weeks of empty hype.

Do we really need to analyze the coaches' horoscopes down to the moon signs? Throw in six and a half hours of pregame coverage yet to come, and we're talking PR OD.

Super Bowl XLI, fancy Roman numeral language for 41, is being held in Miami, the same city planning to host a "Hooray, Fidel Castro Has Assumed Room Temperature" party, as soon as the khaki-clad Cuban shuffles off his mortal coil, which could be any day now. But I, like CBS, pray the bearded one will have the good grace to hang on until Monday, sparing South Floridians from having to decide which supreme sporting event to celebrate.

Personally, I'm rooting for Fidel to dodge the reaper's summons and to continue to afflict U.S. presidents with his mere presence for another II or III decades.

The Colts are fronted by Peyton Manning, VII-time Pro Bowler, who finally shot the "can't make it to the big game" monkey off his back with the same rifle arm he used to knock down the New England Patriots way back II weeks ago when people still cared.

The Bears are led by the lieutenant of lackluster, quarterback Rex Grossman, an ineffectual leader who has lucked out being associated with a finely tuned defensive machine. An athlete the White House can relate to.

But whatever you do, don't you dare go calling it the Super Bowl. Only the NFL and carefully chosen advertisers (anybody silly enough to pony up $II.VI million for XXX seconds of airtime) get to call it that. You and me and other mere mortals trying to sell TVs or corn chips or attract customers to a bar to watch the game have to use euphemisms like "the Big Game" or "the You-Know-What- Bowl" or "the deal with those guys at that place with the thing" or risk having our butts sued off by lawyers with really expensive tassels on their loafers and MMM kilowatt smiles that scare sharks.

So, yeah, I'll watch, mostly for the commercials, and will probably fix up a bowl of guacamole and some quesadillas, because to me, Mexican food shouts Super Bowl. And since neither the Packers nor the IXers are involved, I'll root for the Colts, as their fair city has never won ... anything ... ever, except the record for auto accidents over Memorial Day weekend.

Also because even though they're the favorites, they're still the underdogs, if you know what I mean. But the best part about Sunday is right after Jim Nance and Prince put away their makeup and some VIIth of a ton, no neck, piece of premium beef walks off the field raising a finger to the sky talking about Disneyland, only X days remain before pitchers and catchers report. And baseball season starts. And all will be right with the world.

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