In the old days, before children and the workaday world, Superbowl Sunday rarely had a chance to be boring. If there wasn't a keg iced down on the back porch or in the garage, there were several cases of beer in a cooler next to a table of food fit for a king's feast.
These days, though, when one has to keep an eye on the drooling kid, avoid stepping on the pre-schoolers who zip around the room like spilled mercury, and do one's best not to go into work hopelessly hungover, a Superbowl has a damned good chance of being boring. Especially if the Pats look bored and the Eagles look...well, how the Eagles looked (sorry, CJ).
Of, course, there's only one thing that can keep two UFP junkies from falling asleep in their man-chairs.
The whole Otis clan took leave of Mt. Otis Sunday afternoon and headed over to Casa de G-Rob. As we discussed the Poker Superstars Invitational that had just aired on NBC and Gus Hansen's infuriating style of play, G-Rob and I settled in to sip beers and hope for an interesting game.
"You know," I said, feeling out the situation, "we should've come here with a stack of singles and just bet on what the next play was going to be."
I could see the spark in G-Rob's eye. All it took was the suggestion. Within a few seconds, he'd run to a drawer and pulled out a notepad and pen.
"Next play a pass or run?" he said.
"Absolutely a run," I answered.
Thank you, Andy. There's my run.
We started out with manageable stakes. A quarter a bet. And we started out with your usual bets. Will the next pass be to the right, the left, or over the middle? Over/under on the number of yards of the next runback. Which team will kick the next field goal (incidentally, I made this bet for a dollar in the first quarter and picked the Eagles; the bet lasted until the fourth quarter when the Pats finally kicked a field goal...bastards).
By and by, Uncle Ted and Marc came in to watch with us while the wives and kids cooed about wife and kid things. It was sometime around the second quarter when the bets started degenerating in football significance and increasing monetarily.
Before we knew it we were betting on the following things:
* Which head coach will be the next sideline close-up?
* Will the next bump shot coming back from break be a cheerleader or an ugly view of Jacksonville?
* Will the next commercial be for a consumable or a car?
* Will the next commercial have a celebrity in it?
* Over/under on number of real-time minutes it takes to finish the first half from the point of the two minute warning (I crushed this one with my over bet on the line set by both Uncle Ted and G-Rob)
*Over/under on the duration of the halftime break (I set the line on the this one at 45 minutes and everybody took the over...silly boys).
We would also combine them. For instance.
*For Otis to win the next commercial must be for a non-food and contain a celeb.
I started going downhill when I suggested we pick in advance the college football conference of the next player to be featured in a full-screen graphic. I went with my old conference, the Big 12, thinking the number of schools alone upped my chances. Uncle Ted took the Big Ten, G-Rob the SEC. The first player up was from the Pac-10. Nobody won, so we all stuck firm to our choices. The next player up was from LSU.
Tenatively, I suggested, "Um...that's not in the SEC."
The room, including the women, shot me down with looks of disdain and G-Rob took home another dollar.
So, I gave up the Big 12 and went to the PAC-10. G-Rob took over the Big 12 and sure enough, the next player came from Colorado.
Bah. I suck at this game.
Just before the halftime break, G-Rob proposed we all pick the song that Paul McCartney would use to open his show. I took the obvious, "Come Together." In this day and age, I thought "Come Together" was a lock and rockin' enough to open a show. G-Rob and Uncle Ted went all mushy, picking "Hey Jude" and "Let it Be" respectively.
Paul decided to surprise everybody by starting with "Drive My Car" leading someone to ask if a car company was sponsoring the halftime show. G-Rob suggested we keep the bet running and let our original picks run throughout the show. I still thought "Come Together" was a lock, but I was a bit worried about "Hey Jude."
Of course, Paul went on to put on one of the best halftime shows in recent memory (and if you disagree, I'm ready to fight on this one). And, of course, that's when my luck turned even worse and Paul closed with "Hey Jude" and put another buck in G-Rob's pocket.
Alright, I thought, back to my bread and butter.
"Alright, beer or no beer in the next commercial," I proposed.
"Beer." G-Rob said.
As we hit the next break, we saw one of the best commercials of the Superbowl (admittedly, they all sorta sucked): An international airport terminal where the crowd started to clap for a line of disembarking members of the military. G-Rob scratched a dollar for me on the notepad and we all sat back and marvelled at the effectiveness of the ad.
I stood to go get a beer to celebrate my win and stole a glance at the end of the commercial. As it ended, a full-screen slate popped up with two simple words...
I literally collapsed on the floor as the room exploded in cheers for G-Rob. I pounded my hands on the carpet, screaming, "No! No! No!" paying no attention to the fact that the kids had all gone to sleep.
When I looked up, G-Rob was in full Phil Laak dance celebration.
And then he said it.
"I rivered you."
That, friends, is how you make Superbowl XXXIX interesting.