From the sidelines: Minute-by-minute diary of Super Bowl 43

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February 3, 2009

12:02 AM

For the second year in a row, I’m riding the coattails of the ever-popular diary-style column (created and mastered by the one and only Bill Simmons) and presenting selected notes from watching the Super Bowl — the commercials, the halftime show and, of course, the game itself. Since I watched the game on a 40-minute delay on our DVR (a slightly maddening experience that required all of us in attendance to avoid reading text messages throughout the game), all times are approximate.

6:36 p.m. — The Steelers have marched down the field on their opening drive with little resistance from the Cardinals, exacerbating my biggest fear that the Steelers will roll to a blowout win. NBC then shows a stat that says Arizona’s defense has given up more touchdowns than any Super Bowl team in history. I am not encouraged. Somehow, the Cards hold Pittsburgh to a field goal.

6:49 — On the heels of the “snow globe thrown at somebody’s balls” Doritos commercial, there’s an ad for “Year One,” a prehistoric comedy starring Jack Black, Michael Cera and — wait for it — McLovin! I’d be excited if I wasn’t so pissed at the fact that Cera is single-handedly holding up production of the “Arrested Development” movie by demanding more money.

7:00 — An unbelievable escape job by Ben Roethlisberger results in a first down completion. It’s ridiculous how good he is at avoiding sacks. Or how bad Arizona’s front four are. John Madden: “That’s just Ben being Superman.”

7:07 — It’s official: There’s going to be a fourth “Fast and the Furious” movie. The only commercial I’d rather see less right now is the insufferable Subway Five-Dollar Footlong ad where they dress up actors like everyday people and make them pretend to mess up the song.

7:10 — Pittsburgh scores a touchdown to go up 10-0. Arizona better do something soon.

7:17 — There’s a shot of Matt Leinart on the sideline in which he appears to be listening to an iPod.

7:23 — A 45-yard catch-and-run by Anquan Boldin (my boy!) sets up a great TD catch by Ben Patrick (who bails Kurt Warner out for a poor throw), and the Cards are back in it, 10-7.

7:27 — Viewers are treated to a montage of clips of Warner tripping over his linemen at the line of scrimmage.

7:44 — In a Teleflora.com ad, a box of dead flowers tells their recipient: “No one wants to see you naked.”

7:55 — The first huge play of the game: James Harrison of the Steelers picks off Warner’s pass and takes it 100 yards for the touchdown as the first half expires. The game just went from potentially being 14-10 Cards to 17-7 Steelers. The halftime show awaits.

8:10 — Bruce Springsteen slams his crotch into America’s collective face during a painfully misjudged knee slide attempt. Rewatching the move (and his facial expressions) several times on our DVR recorder proves to be the most entertaining part of the night.

8:17 — The second half is about to start up. I’m doubting the Cards’s ability to come back in this one.

8:19 — Priceline Negotiator!

8:40 — NBC shows a shot of Cuba Gooding, Jr. in a luxury box. Even bearing in mind the obvious “Jerry Maguire” connection, you’ve got to think the Super Bowl must be lacking some star power if Cuba Gooding, Jr. is the biggest celebrity sighting.

9:07 — As the third quarter ends, we are all treated to the one-second Miller High Life ad. It doesn’t disappoint.

9:12 — Shout out for William and Mary! Well, kind of. Al Michaels explains how the Tribe was just a warm-up opponent for U.Va. back when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin ’95 was playing.

9:24 — Larry Fitzgerald makes an amazing TD catch on a fade pattern from Warner, and all of a sudden the Steelers’s lead is down to 20-14.

9:31 — MacGruber!

9:47 — After a safety brings them within 20-16, the Cardinals score on a 64-yard TD catch-and-run by Fitzgerald. With two minutes left, it’s 23-20 Cards, just one point away from my 24-20 prediction. I’m feelin’ good about this one.

10:03 — After an impressive drive by Big Ben, the Steelers take the lead on a TD catch by Santonio Holmes. I’m convinced his left foot doesn’t touch down while he has the ball in his hands, but there isn’t a camera angle clear enough to overturn the call. I think I’m just seeing what I want to see.

10:09 — It’s over. Steelers 27, Cardinals 23. The Pittsburgh players completely miss Tomlin on the attempted Gatorade shower, instead dumping it all over the camera guy there to shoot it.

10:16 – Even though I was pulling for the Cardinals, it’s great to see Tomlin soaking up the victory. He’ll soon give Jon Stewart ’84 a run for his money in the current-College-alum-most-frequently-mentioned category.

E-mail Jeff Dooley at [email protected]

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