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Football entertains from Grossman to gridiron

Tae Andrews | Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Once my favorite NFL team has been eliminated from contention, all I ask for the remainder of the playoffs is that I’m entertained. So as I watched this past weekend’s conference championship games, unable to rattle off my signature J-E-T-S chant in support of Gang Green, my challenge to the the football gods was this: entertain me.

To their credit, the football gods answered my prayers. The first game, featuring the New Orleans Saints at the Chicago Bears, had it all: a bleak, blustery day at Soldier Field, a howling den of bloodthirsty Bears fans and a voracious Chicago defense, pawing and clawing at the Saints and forcing them to cough up three fumbles.

Reggie Bush did his part, slipping and sliding on the frozen tundra before ultimately taking it to the house on an electric 88-yard catch, but unfortunately for the Saints, they had a tough time marching against the Bears’ defense. Although they weren’t quite the “Aints,” they did look quaint (and buttery of fingers) at times, and in the end, their Super Bowl hopes were faint against a dominating defense.

On the other side of the ball, the Bears trotted out the worst quarterback to be in the Super Bowl since Trent Dilfer. Fortunately, he’s hilarious. Rex Grossman’s name sounds like a combination of a porn star alter ego and something one Illini dorm monkey would say to the other after yet another disgusting/horrible throw, as in, “That’s gross, man.”

Is it just me or should the Bears organization run a promotion where they offer all male fans free coconut bras and grass skirts so they can hula hip-shimmy and serenade opposing teams with chants of, “Daaaaaaaaa Bears Da Bears Da Bears Da Bears Da Bears ” ad nauseam? Chris Farley, where have you gone?

After watching the Bears reign supreme, it was on to the Patriots at the Colts. I always love this somewhat perennial matchup for two reasons. Firstly, for the Patriots, playing the Colts is a lot like beating up your little brother. For a year, all you hear about is how much better the “new and improved” Colts are, then you come home from school and powerbomb the upstart little man into the family sofa for half an hour until he admits defeat or your mom yells at you. Sure, you might toy with the young fella a little bit, make him think he has a watermelon Jolly Rancher slushy’s chance in hell of beating you, but ultimately the outcome is never in doubt.

The other reason I love watching Pats-Colts is the annual tradition of Peyton Manning crumpling like a piece of toilet paper, and the accompanying crinkling of his features into facial expressions of frustration, pain and general cowardice.

Sure enough, it looked like business as usual in the first half, as the Patriots generally put on a clinic in football hustle and flow, slapping the Colts around in their own home as all of Indiana winced and prepared for the inevitable. Peyton Manning was doing his part, throwing picks and shrugging his shoulders in his typical look of, “Well, what do you want from me?”

But lo and behold, the little brother grew up, and Manning’s Colts pulled off a Tom Brady and the Patriots-esque comeback, finally tearing the monkey off their backs, slaying their dragon and all other fantasy-related sports metaphors about defeating people you normally can’t.

Even better, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, replete with his customary sweatshirt-cut-off-at-the-elbows outfit, looked as though someone had peed in his cereal. Talk about sour grapes. I’ve never seen a worse sore loser. I also loved the “agony of defeat” shot of Tom Brady, looking stunned after the Patriot loss. What’ll he do in the offseason? Well, he’ll probably go somewhere exotic and play golf with his consolation prize, stunning supermodel girlfriend Giselle Bündchen. As for the rest of us? Well, we get to tune in to the Super Bowl in Miami.

Fortunately, this year the Steelers aren’t in it, so the rest of us won’t have to deal with the stupid towel-flapping of a year ago. Even if the Super Bowl is a bust, at least for the time being, I have one thing to say to the NFL: Thank you.

Contact Tae Andrews at tandrew1@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.