- Bob Dylan
As the president said in his recent State of the Union address, America is addicted to football, which is often imported from unsavory parts of the world, such as Pittsburgh. And it must stop this weekend.
So put down the chips and step away from the La-Z-Boy. This is an intervention.
The NFL has wisely determined that the best way to break this addiction is by traveling to the sober city of Detroit, Michigan, home of the Betty Ford Center for Football Addicts - helping Lions fans go cold turkey for decades. In fact, the football version of the cold turkey is the superb owl. Think about it. Lions' fans can't.
Like all good Americans, I took an alternative fuel pilgrimage (I ate beans and used wind power) to Detroit, but when I got there, the city was locked. Yet I craved the juice - hype and inane quotes - so I banged on the door. No one answered, though I heard Rolling Stones' music.
So I called Jerome Bettis, who has a key to the city, but he was already on the inside eating a grocery store. He wouldn't even answer his fork-phone.
Then I called the only other guy who has a key to Detroit - Saddam Hussein. Turns out he was practicing a courtroom rant and posing in his underwear. He said he's always been a Steelers' fan, and, in fact, claimed credit for the name, The Terrible Towel. I expressed doubt. He wished me slow death and then hung up - just like a Steelers' fan would.
I have heard of Seattle but I don't know what country it is in. Someone once told me it is between Jakarta and Brisbane but when I went there I spent all my money on a double mocha espresso and an umbrella, so I couldn't afford a map.
Still, who knew that the NFL had teams in other countries? Who even knew there were other countries? Forty Super Bowls later and now we find out? Next thing, someone is going to tell me that France isn't a state.
PREGAME - The hype started just after Christopher Columbus discovered that he didn't discover America. Records show that in his successful PR blitz to claim credit, Chris hired agent Drew Rosenhaus, who agreed but only if Chris would hype up Super Bowl XL. Rosenhaus secretly envisioned his client, Terrell Owens, as star of this game. But he should have read Columbus' 1492 diary: "T.O. is not worth the trouble." It was the only true statement in there.
COIN FLIP - The preposterous theory that the NFL is trying to push photogenic coaches is refuted during the coin flip when cameras show a human donut on one sideline and a creation worthy of Doctor Frankenstein on the other. The Seahawks win the flip, and the stress causes Bill Cowher's chin to grow. That's why he has a healthy heart.
FIRST QUARTER - The Steelers attempt an onside kick to start the game, and it works! Then, the first play from scrimmage is a gadget play involving Antwaan Randle El, Hines Ward, Ben Roethlisberger, and the Pittsburgh ballet and after further review there is not irrefutable evidence that the ballet play isn't legal, so it is. Nothing else happens in the quarter except that someone on the Seattle sideline smiles, and Jerome Bettis' Mom is on TV more than the actual football. Steelers 7, Seahawks 0
SECOND QUARTER - Deciding it is now or never, Mike Holmgren orders bald-headed quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to wear a clear helmet so that the glare off of his head confuses Joey Porter. When running back Shaun Alexander dons the same type headgear, referees are blinded and Troy Polamalu uses the two helmets as mirrors in which to style his hair. Yes, that's why he's always around the ball and hardly ever penalized. Still, Hasselbeck is efficient and unflappable - finding Joe Jurevicius in the end zone while Polamalu is applying conditioner. And later, Hasselbeck runs in for a second score. At the end of the half, a Hines Ward reception sets up a Steelers' 30-yard field goal. Seahawks 14, Steelers 10
HALFTIME - Years later, this will be remembered as the Rolling Stones' "Sinatra moment" - the last show they ever play that Mick remembers all the words to three straight songs. After this all bets are off - except of course the standard one about Keith Richards' strange ability not to die. Bet the farm on that.
COMMERCIALS - At $2.5 million every 30 seconds, I expect Citizen Kane meets Caddyshack, and so do you.
THIRD QUARTER - This, finally, is when the hype ends and the football game begins. For a while, it looks like Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Shaun Alexander runs left into Joey Porter and Jerome Bettis runs straight up the middle into Lofa Tatupu (Lofa's father's name is Mosi - one lazy family). Adjustments are made and countered. Bill Cowher tries to panic but his staff is smart this year and tells him his chin is on fire to distract him. Near the end of the quarter Ben Roethlisberger engineers an 80-yard drive, capping it with a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller. Steelers 17, Seahawks 14
FOURTH QUARTER - Tense. Bill Cowher's chin stretches by now to Toledo. Yes, holy Toledo. On the other sideline, Mike Holmgren calmly calls plays named after his favorite donuts, and Matt Hasselbeck starts to confuse the Pittsburgh defense by instead yelling out the names of ice cream flavors. Hasselbeck later says the team has plays in five different food languages. He calls the famed Blitzburgh attack "Blissburg" because "it put me in a perfect position." The young man is confident, and a good eater. But so is his counterpart Big Ben. They each throw touchdown passes, Hasselbeck to Jurevicius again, and Roethlisberger to, of course, the energizer bunny, Hines Ward. And then the clock ticks and Joey Porter screams and Troy Polamalu comes flying through the line but young Hasselbeck is again unflappable, finding Jeramy Stevens in the end zone as time runs out. Seahawks 28, Steelers 24.
I now admit I was a little bit wrong. But I have a legitimate government excuse. I had bad intelligence. Well, I still do.
This column is sponsored by baseball.