Seven days. A mere 10,080 minutes or 604,800 seconds, that's all that separates us from the annual Sportstacular Blowout otherwise known as The Super Bowl. Are you ready?
The Superbaugh. Certainly the game promises to be a thrill ride between two powerhouses in the great season-ending showcase for the collosus of all sports, the mighty NFL. For the first time in its relatively short history, however, the final conflict of the season will be decided in a brotherly match with older brother John of the Baltimore Ravens and little Jim of the San Francisco 49ers. And they sure know how to ruin a good party!
The circus that surrounds the climatic, sudden-death-ending of one of the best seasons ever had its knees taken out in a twist of fate to forever be known as The Fling. With forty-one seconds left in the game, the Ravens trailed behind the favoured Denver Broncos by seven points. A desperation heave by Baltimore's field general Joe Flacco, seemed to hang forever in the freezing Colorado air.
It appeared destined to be intercepted by the stalking Bronco safety.
It seemed hopelessly out of reach for Ravens' receiver Jacoby Jones.
And then the miracle happened.
The safety misjudged his leap – the ball descended as if on a string into Jones' outstreched arms as he skipped into the endzone, tying the game. An interception by Manning early into overtime, followed by the winning field goal to a 38-35 game, and Coach John Harbaugh landed one game away to lead his Ravens to the promised land. Their next game, a mere technicality win against the New England Patriots.
And so you have it. East Coast versus the West, hard-core defence against high flying offense – and the hardhat crew is to play Hollywood's gang in next week's Superbaugh. That's right, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
But on this – the grandest of sports stages – these polar opposites are supposed to keep the promise of hijinx and shenanigans of biblical proportions. The seven short days leading up to the main event is to be guaranteed of being more of a showcase than about the game itself. A whole week of interviews, media annoucements, buffets and testosterone-fed nervous anxiety, a controversy usually spins out of control sooner rather than later. A player eventually loses their cool to give the media what they thirst – a juicy quote!
Amidst the fireworks, the accusations, the rebuttals, and the denials – this was all so close, so tantalizing and within drooling reach. Holding our breaths, we waited to see who and what would snap first. Which player, the pressure or the anticipation? The wait at the edge of our seats became unbearable, and then... it was as if someone sucked all the oxygen out of the circus tent. The fireworks fizzled out, the pinata shattered and, to our shock, there was nothing there to calm the built-up testosterone but two brothers. And then their mother who promised to wear white for the big game.
How refreshing for a sport so grounded in barely controlled violence... What happened? And who will be the first to break into the 'we are family' speech? Even with Ray Lewis' retirement tour, Lewis himself the pinnacle of brash controversy – he's playing nice too? Seriously, this is football, isn 't it?
But we have a whole week. What are we going to talk about? The game? Oh yeah, the game. Should be a good one – can't wait – but we can all admit that we're going to miss the circus just a little.
Hey, Ray! The 49rs say you've got nothing left in the tank! Any comments? •
Jock Talk With Jake the Snake
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