Super Bowl blog: first half

4:01 – First pre-game montage, with Thomas’ Jones extended family,
Cooper Manning, and a bunch of other people I missed while writing an
email.

4:03 – “In reality, it’s even better than you dreamed.” Hype it up a little more, Phil. Just a little. Eatin’ time.

4:12 – Sandwich is ready- Solomon Wilcots’ mike cuts out right as he asks Urlacher a question. Outstanding start.

4:21 – Sandwich has been consumed. Ham, pepperoni and melted cheese. Mmm.

Billy Joel did a passable job on the anthem. Dennis actually timed it, guessing he’d be at 1:30. Actual time: 1:34. I’m not sure whether to be impressed or scared.

Now they’re at the coin toss, introducing the captains. Three for the Colts, and four for the Bears, which is less than I expected. I seem to remember Seahawks/Steelers as being about eight a side.

Dan Marino as an honorary captain. In Miami? Really?

4:24 – Bears win the toss, and elect to recieve. Devin Hester gets a chance to show his stuff early.

Jim Nantz mentions that the NFC has won the last ten coin tosses in Super Bowls (wow) but lost seven of the last nine (not as cool)

4:26 – Phil Simms makes a good point- might almost be better to start on defense, with the nerves being what they are. You always elect to kick in Madden football, but video game strategy is different from real game strategy.

4:27 – And Hester runs back the first kick for a touchdown, giving the Bears a lead before Grossman gets a chance to throw away the ball. That Colts pick is looking really good now.

4:30 – After a solid return by Terrence Wilkins (a former Stampeder), Peyton Manning’s first pass is tipped. It’s a good thing the Colts aren’t a team that panics, but the Super Bowl does weird things to even the most unflappable teams.

4:34 – 3rd and long, and Manning is picked off. This is about as bad a start as the Colts could have envisioned.

4:37 – Nantz says the first pass by the Bears went for seven, but it comes up 2nd and five. Nice eyes, Jim.

4:39 – Three and out for the Bears- Nantz mentions that while there has been many kickoffs returned for touchdowns, there has never been a punt return for a touchdown.

4:44 – The Colts aren’t taking many chances after that pick. Everything’s underneath the coverage, and they’re mixing in some runs and draw plays. Manning will take that all night.

4:46 – How was Reggie Wayne that open? Touchdown, Colts, on that ‘big play’ that Simms said they were trying to avoid. Tie game.

4:47 – No, really, how was he that open? Phil Simms, can you break that down for us?

They missed the extra point- so much for that tie game. Wow. 7-6 Bears. And we go to commercial.

4:49 – Between Romo’s and this one, field goal/extra point holders are becoming more important. So why are teams using punters and starting QBs in that spot? The Eagles had this figured out- they signed Koy Detmer just to hold on field goals. Andy Reid’s a smart man, even if he can’t manage a clock to save his life.

4:50 – Hester fumbles the kickoff, which was a squib- do the Colts have it?

Didn’t I say he might fumble? I believe I did. It’s so good to be right.

4:51 – And Addai gives it back on the next play. Wow.

Though he never really had it. That defense was in the backfield almost before Manning had finished that handoff. That’s unfair.

4:52 – Thomas Jones runs it down to the five- not getting in might cost Chicago here. They’ve had trouble inside the ten.

4:54 – Nice catch by Muhammed. I thought he dropped it initially. This rain is playing tricks on me.

4:57 – Nantz mentions that there hasn’t been a 1st quarter touchdown in the last five Super Bowls. There’s been three so far. What a start.

5:00 – NOW Simms mentions how Wayne got open for the touchdown. You’re about one score late, Phil.

Still says the Bears are  being conservative. Manning’s gotta be able to work that eventually.

5:03 – Nantz announces the catch as the referee are saying ‘no catch’ right on the screen.  A couple of replays proves Nantz correct- Berrian was pushed out, and I agree with him.

5:04 – Hachi machi, did Cedric Benson just get popped. Colts get the ball back again.

5:07 – Colts go three and out- is somebody going to catch the ball for that team?

Manning seems jittery. He’s been off this whole playoff.

Penalty flag- did they just draw the Bears offside, or is it another false start?

5:08 – Bears were offside, but the Colts still elect to punt, despite it being fourth and short. Not a bad idea, as it was a long field goal, and you probably don’t want to give them momentum this early.

And it’s downed inside the five. Well done.

5:11 – First injury worries- Cedric Benson and John Tait both down. Looks like they’re ok, though.

5:15 – Cut to commercial, as the first quarter ended. As Simms predicted, the offenses aren’t quite right in the early going, with a couple of big plays accounting for all the scoring. The defenses have been making all the plays, and it’s a shame neither offense has really taken advantage of them and opened up a lead.

The Colts weathered a terrible start, though, and are still only one score down. If their offense can finish some drives, they can still take this.

5:22 – Indy’s drive stalls inside the 20- I keep wondering when Nantz mentioning Adam Vinatieri’s perfect record on field goals will jinx him. They’re moving the ball, though, which is more than Chicago’s offense can say so far, save for the big run by Jones.

5:28 – Bathroom break, as I realize we will need the cheese grater for our god fearing plate of halftime nachos, and put it in the dishwasher. Dennis mentions that Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis’ defensive ends, will have a field day if they’re allowed to get as deep in the backfield as they have so far. With Tait getting banged up earlier (still playing), I would agree.

5:30 – I’ve been doing this too long. It’s only now that I realize that rain in Miami is strange.

5:31 – The Colts recievers have been getting open against this defense. They’re down five, but the Colts have all the momentum right now.

5:33 – Urlacher seems to be around the ball on every play. What speed.

Good second effort by Dominic Rhodes to get the first down.

5:34 – Touchdown, Colts. Dennis called pass, I called run. See, I learned from the conference championship. I thought Manning was going to throw then, but Addai ran it.

Made the extra point this time. Manning wanted to go for two, I think, but it’s too early to worry about that. You give them momentum if you miss.

5:35 – I think they want us to watch this Canadian “Deal or No Deal”.

Trying to explain the premise of “Deal or No Deal” to Dennis, and I don’t think I did very well. It doesn’t sound all that exciting to me, and didn’t really to him either. You could do worse than Howie Mandel as a host.

5:38 – It looks weird when someone has their entire name on their jersey. And the type is really small.

5:40 – Joining Boston Pizza in the annoying commercials pantheon: Bombardier. Somebody have their marketing guy removed.  “That’s my train!” Yeah, no one cares.

5:41 – Dennis mentions again the pressure that Freeney and Mathis have been getting on Grossman as Chicago goes three and out again. He also thinks that Indy can put it away with a score here. Too early for that, but Chicago hasn’t done a lot since the Muhammed touchdown.

5:44 – Indy always seems to be getting just enough to move the chains, and taking what a surprisingly coservative Chicago defense is giving them. Manning struggled early, but he’s dissecting them now.

And they flash some stats just as I mention it to Dennis. 1/4 with an INT on the first drive, and 13/17 for 192 yards and a touchdown since.

5:48 – Simms mentions that Chicago needs to tackle better. Funny, that’s usually Indy’s problem, but they’ve been
stopping da Bears today.

And the Colts still getting just enough- Addai gets two yards when they need one.

5:49 – Another fumble by Indianapolis, and the Bears recover. They needed that.

5:50 – A Bears fumble on the next play, and the Colts get it back. Unbelievable.

That’s twice they’ve had back-to-back turnovers, and six in the game. That’s unheard of. What a back and forth game.

5:52 – Manning scrambles, and flips it to Rhodes. Was he in front of the line of scrimmage? No challenge, so apparently not.

5:55 – Colts attempting a field goal. The Bears call timeout to freeze the kicker. Does this ever work? And against Adam Vinatieri, one of the most clutch kickers of his generation?

5:56 – And sure enough, he missed it. Good snap, good hold, but Vinatieri just pulled it. Now Nantz mentions that Vinatieri missed a couple of field goals in his first Super Bowl with New England before making the game winner. How has this never come up before now?

Halftime came earlier than I thought- the dishwasher isn’t done yet.

Boston Pizza commercial is on again. Cripes, I hoped we could avoid that.

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