Will it be the desert dwellers or the East coast fellers? Which nine-win team reigns supreme? This and much more Iron Chef-style prose to follow in the live blog, aprez le jump.
6:23 — All right then, I'm just gonna walk around in circles saying "wow" for about two weeks, but I'll see everyone in two weeks, right here, for the Super Bowl live blog. For the commenters, I'll see you all much sooner the first second I get a chance at slacking off from work.
6:21 — They've probably had that "We Are The Champions" song in their PA system for about 25 years, and finally got the right to push PLAY on it.
6:20 — THE BAND IS ON THE FIELD. THE BAND IS ON THE ... oh, "intercepted." And ... good God almighty, the Arizona Cardinals are a Super Bowl team.
6:19 — Well, how's about 93 yards in nine seconds? IT SEEMS POSSIBLE.
6:17 — Eep. Fourth down, and it all comes down to a punt return. If the Cardinals punter so much as kicks it in the same zip code as the returner, expect him to be waived.
6:16 — The last team, by the way, to play in the Super Bowl that went 9-7 in the regular season was the 1979 Rams. Expect that team to get calls from the Associated Press and have insight gleaned from them on what this Cardinals team is going through, since, y'know, they must know exactly what it's like for them.
6:12 — And ... I do believe I just heard my new editor scream in terror, and my old editor scream like a joyous belle.
6:09 — It's the two-minute warning, otherwise known as the Eagles' last chance at not losing another NFC Championship game. 4th and 10 yards that must look almost as long as, like, 26 yards.
6:09 — Crucial third down and .. what? We're not instructed to watch any shows on Fox?
6:06 — Celek hauls in the first down, and a checkdown to Westbrook gives the down marker guys more work, setting up another first down, just like the other one.
6:05 — Hell of a catch by Jackson on the sideline. (Remember, Jackson is hella skilled when catching the ball. It's just holding onto it near the end zone that gives him troubles.)
6:00 — Jehovah in a mason jar, that was probably the gutsiest screen pass in Arizona Cardinals history. Tim Hightower just barely fell into the end zone, and the 2-point toss to whats-his-face turns this back into a seven-point lead.
Wait, 32-25? What the hell kind of football score is that? Did we suddenly start playing by CFL rules?
5:58 — Yep, we're almost under three minutes to go. This suddenly became a game of who-has-it-last-wins. Although, maybe somebody shouldn't have given David Akers a Frank Caliendo CD before the game, because his Mike Vanderjagt impersonation for the last three quarters has been bang on.
5:56 — I'm not suggesting what the Arizona offense should do ... but there's probably too much time to do this, although with four minutes left, just run down as much clock as you can and kick a field goal. Well, Hightower just ran for a first down, setting up first and goal, so they're going to have to score this bitch for seven points. I'll shut up now.
5:56 — This just in (holds hand to ear): Larry Fitzgerald is good at catching footballs.
5:55 — Did ... Did Anquan Boldin just chew out his OC on the sidelines? Yeah, that'll go over well.
5:54 — It's an important football game, but what's more important is to have an in-game commercial for a new FOX crime drama. But see ... this lead character is just a misunderstood genius. It's not like the rest!
5:53 — Berman me: Tim "All Along The" Hightower finishes what he started on third down and the drive continues.
5:52 — After a couple solid chain-movin' plays, it's now 4th and inches at midfield. Yep, they have to go for it.
5:48 — This may not be the time to say it, but I think the Arizona Cardinals' helmet next year should mirror that of Otterbein University football's Cardinals logo:
5:47 — In more startling news, Joe Buck FINALLY beat a level of Minesweeper on Hard difficulty. Give him a round of applause!
5:45 — The 2-point play is both missed and penalized. No way was that going to count.
5:44 — I meant DeSean Jackson. I typed DeSean Jackson. YOU ALL SAW IT. My, what a jiggly juggling catch. I think my editor just had a DeSeangasm.
5:42 — Adrian Wilson just saved a touchdown from ... um ... touching down, by grabbing Jason Avant's leg and not letting go. Nonetheless, you can just sense the Eagles are probably going to get a touchdown on this drive, probably to Celek.
5:38 — Yeah, this'll do. Warner throws a ball perfectly equidistant between two Cardinals receivers. Now for a punt and a shot for Philly to take the (gasp) lead.
5:37 — All right, game. Be more interesting. Except for you, Joe Buck. You stay comatose. We don't want to have the slightest implication that you'd rather be playing FreeCell.
5:33 — Kurt Warner finds Kurt Warner wide open in the backfield for a three-yard reception. That'll bring us to the 75-cent mark of the football game. (Currency jokes, they absolutely KILL at bat mitzvahs.)
5:32 — So Philadelphia has scored 13 unanswered points. That's also Kurt Warner's number. What I'm trying to say is that the government is spying on you.
5:29 — Ohh. That Brent Celek. The vanilla to Kevin Curtis's whole milk, Celek runs like a competent bullet for his second touchdown. Oh, but David Akers dumps the PAT to the right. Troy Aikman confirms that yes, THE LACES WERE OUT.
5:27 — If anyone can call a series of plays to get Philly within four points, it's Marty Mornh ... Mornhinw ... Marty Morrrrrrrorororor ... sorry, I CAN'T SAY IT.
5:21 — Here's that "turn of momentum" I've been hearing so much about. Three fantastic defensive pass rushes force a punt. Down by 11 points and a whole quarter-and-a-quarter-of-a-quarter left, the Eagles are now back in the game.
5:16 — Why does Tom Cruise have to kill Hitler when we already commissioned Daffy Duck to do that very task? Also, BUY WAR BONDS.
5:13 — After all that, Brent Celek is found openly open for the touchdown. Also, this is probably as good a time as any to ask: who's Brent Celek?
5:12 — New rule for the 2009 NFL season: I don't care if linemen dance after sacks and TFLs, but please don't orchestrate sex moves. It's not necessary.
5:11 — Hot steak. Kevin Curtis is the target of another long play. Eagles fans, your fate rests in those milky white hands. Massage them if you get the chance.
5:10 — Another sack. At this point McNabb has to smell like topographically-out-of-place grass.
5:08 — Wait, Marty Mornhinweg is the OC for the Eagles? And Cam Cameron is on the Ravens coaching staff? Shit, I guess the secret to getting deep into the playoffs is to run a franchise into the ground, then parlay that into an assistant job for another team.
5:07 — I'm going to take a wild stab at this and say the Eagles will be passing, like, every time from here on out. Wherever Ron Jaworski is right now, he's having trouble standing up.
5:04 — So while the truck companies continue to beat each other up, Guy Fieri runs unopposed. I had no idea I lived in Venezuela. (Guy Fieri, when translated from American-Italian to Italian-American, means "flaming male.")
5:02 — Shucks, a break for the Eagles finally arrives as a totally wide open Cardinals wideout is overshot on third down. So, the turnover is converted into a clean, renewable three-and-out. The environmentalists will be pleased.
4:56 — Well, fack. McNabb drops back ... now he just drops ... and the Cardinals sack the again-hated-by-his-own-fans quarterback and recover the fumble on a sort of important third down.
4:53 — So after a miraculous scramble by McNabb who eventually threw the ball to his 15th choice, his fullback, who ran down the sideline for a first, a holding call eliminates the entire thing from the play-by-play and everyone's mind. Now, please, look into this light:
Halftime Entertainment Of How Not To Pull Your Car Out Of A Snowbank
I can't say I'm the guy to ask on how to properly get your car out of snowbanks, considering I sort of drove into one last week. (I blame the other guy. I can't be expected to talk on the cell phone AND eat a cheeseburger AND turn my car all at once!) But even I know this was probably an ill-conceived idea in getting a car free from the snowy depths of a mound of white stuff.
4:38 — Also, Jesus Christ the Cardinals are 30 minutes away from the Super Bowl. (That was true last year, but in proximity only.)
4:37 — Another how-is-he-not-covered pass to Boldin sets up a last-second first half field goal. From 49 yards, Rackers kicks well enough, don't you think?
4:35 — Good, they found footage of the Chicago Cardinals' home playoff game. I suddenly want to buy war bonds, and I don't know why.
4:34 — Uh, Eagles? You might still want to try and guard Larry Fitzgerald. Yeah, the game plan's still on. Don't mail it in just because Joe Buck is.
4:33 — On 3rd and 15 ... ah, no sweat, just throw a slant to Jerheme Urban and convert it. Wait ... Jerheme? That's not a name.
4:27 — Someone check that ball and Anquan Boldin's gloves for Velcro. That's simply mind-exploding that the ball tipped off the Eagles corner's hands and into Boldin's torso. Ah ... that's why. The ball actually hit the ground. This'll be called back, but still. For that catch to almost count astounds me and makes me wonder if I should start praying for my sports teams to start winning. Up to now I've only been using prayer to wish deformities on drivers who cut me off on the highway.
4:26 — With one point five minutes left, the Cardinals are not content on kneeling or even running this one out, despite having 85 yards in front of them to travel. Instead, it's a bubble screen that goes for two yards, turned to 17 with a roughing penalty.
4:21 — There, there's some intentional grounding to soothe the surprisingly fierce Arizona faithful. This is new for them; they're used to booing their own team.
4:19 — Cardinals fans are still steaming over that kickoff call. Cardinals fans also forgot about the 15-point lead, it seems.
4:17 — The ruling on the field is you cannot challenge the sacrosanct ruling of the referees. Also, we have a second half to play and we don't want our casual fans to flip over and watch some queer bowling tournament. Eagles ball. (Balled Eagles?)
4:15 — Fuckwillows. Did the Cardinals just recover that kickoff? Or did it go out of bounds? The replay looks like it was a perfectly untouched ball ... and an Arizona up-man recovered it. Perhaps it grazed Abiamiri's luscious pecks?
4:10 — After a P-I penalty on Asante Samuel, Warner throws the fade to Larry Fitzgerald. Hats for everyone!
4:08 — Many more happenings are going Arizona's way. It's now 1st and goal after that measurement. Oh, and now there's no illegal immigration problem in the state, and dehydration's a thing of the past.
4:05 — Did Joe Buck not recognize a drawing of Rodney Dangerfield?
4:04 — Kurt Warner sacrifices his body to hand the ball off to Edgerrin James. Seems that a lineman stepped on his foot, but maybe he was trying to chip block a rattlesnake.
4:02 — That seems ... out of place. John Turturro advertising for Heineken. I was kind of hoping they replaced him with Ralph Fiennes halfway through the commercial.
3:59 — Philadelphia bravely responds to that Cardinals touchdown by scoring less than half of a touchdown. If they keep this up they just might stay within the 28-point spread magically created in the heads of suddenly confident hardcore Cardinals fans.
3:55 — Ah, but defensive holding resuscitates the drive. Following that, Kevin Curtis runs by, well, everyone for about a 50-yard gain. Insert race joke here.
3:54 — Darnell Dockett sacks McNabb on 3rd and 1, and celebrates by ... hey, that's my move!
3:52 — Graphic montage of Chicagolouiszona Cardinals history: over 17 million fans have seen Cardinals games since their last championship home game. Well ... not 17 million different fans.
3:49 — Just so we're clear ... don't leave Fitzgerald out on single coverage. But, fantastic trick play by the Cardinals to isolate No. 11 downfield. The deception was the Cardinals looked like they were going to lose about five yards on the play. Also, Warner draws a 15-yard roughing-the-disciple penalty, which'll be added to the kickoff, like it matters.
3:46 — With Brent Celek unable to jump 10 feet in the air over Cardinals linebackers, Akers lines up for a field goal and does his finest Edward Longshanks impression. Cardinals football.
3:41 — At the end of the first quarter, Correll Buckhalter runs for a first down. Buckhalter was also Henry Paulson's nickname in college. True story.
3:38 — On the very next play, Greg Lewis tries to catch the ball but he tumbles and the ball falls through his legs for an incompletion. The bad news is it's 2nd and 10 for the Eagles and that could've been first and goal. The good news is that the Flyers are now interested in making him their new goalie.
3:37 — Oh, that might be my favorite play in football. An interception returned, fumbled, and given back to the offense. In all, it creates a new set of downs and pushes the Eagles back a few yards. Just knocking it down would have resulted in a punt.
3:35 — McNabb throws behind DeSean Jackson. Clearly that quarterback needs to be benched and then traded.
3:32 — Larry Fitzgerald, in stark contrast to recent legend, cannot escape five tacklers on third down. This leads to a ... a ... three and out?
3:29 — These futuristic Yellow Book commercials bother me. Apparently in ten years all our keyboards will be replaced with sign language. All bloggers will be deaf-mutes. And waving at someone in public could accidentally pull up a porn site in your web browser.
3:28 — Would anyone mind terribly if I ended this live blog right now so I could buy a Dodge truck?
3:26 — I was wondering how they were going to get a mention of the Manning brothers in the NFL playoffs. An Oreo commercial! Of course. But, levity! A pink blimp collapses on the Manning brothers and Williams sisters. Hey, I guess a championship can end tied.
3:24 — On third down, the Cardinals roll out their new technological invention, the Deflect-O-Bot X3000. McNabb's pass falls to the ground, and David Akers, one of seven octogenarian kickers still in the league, trims the lead to four with a field goal of medium proportions.
3:21 — Meanwhile, in actual football updates, the Eagles got a generous gift from area concierge Neil Rackers, whose out-of-bounds kickoff put them at the 40, and with a little love and a couple completions, they're already in or around the red zone.
3:19 — I still don't know what truck to buy. Hopefully these commercials will show me the light.
3:14 — So, if you remember Larry Fitzgerald from last week, the lesson is to cover him. In theory, that's a great idea. In practice, Larry Fitzgerald was left open and bounced off a tackling dummy in an Eagles uniform, and hops into the end zone, putting 'Zona into the lead with 9:20 left in the game. Any of the following songs began playing: "Song 2" by Blur (the "woo-hoo!" song), "Bang On The Drum All Day," or any number of 60s feel-good Motown tunes.
3:09 — Two minutes in, and the Cardinals are passing the ball rather well — they're past midfield. Anquan Boldin appears to have two functional legs, which is bad news for the Eagles secondary.
3:05 — I know they keep saying the Cardinals haven't hosted a championship game since the '40s. But that was two cities ago. I think the history for a team should burst into flames it wasn't at least one relocation ago. Else you'll get stats like, "The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't won 12 games in a row since 1784 when they were known as the Yorktown Landowners."
3:03 — Our first pickup-truck advertisement political ad comes courtesy of the Ford F-150, and Denis Leary approves this message.
3:00 — So, Jordin Sparks. I still don't know who she is. Right, she was on American Idol. Fact: half of America has been on that show. But no ... who is she?
Right, so after one honest attempt at live blogging in a new way, we're taking an Apple II 1984-style sledgehammer to the machine, and returning to the old method of liveblogging whose limitations I've already fallen in love with: one page, many updates, and even more refresh buttons.
Anyways, to the game. Know what this NFC Championship needs? Either Kurt Warner or Donovan McNabb to suffer a nonlethal injury, bringing in Matt Leinart or Kevin Kolb to pinch-throw in this game. I don't know, something tells me this game needs a dash of Leinart to solidify it as the craziest NFL playoff game in the Technicolor™ era of sports.
The question is how this injury will come about. An oncoming blitz resulting into a hard tackle seems to be a safe bet. Then, of course, there is the sleek, sexy "throwing hand hitting a helmet" occurrence. For this injury to truly cement itself into NFL Films lore, we need a truly stupefying boo-boo. How about food poisoning? Somebody ate a bad taco before the game and the quarterback keeps upchucking on the sidelines. Yeah, that'll work. Here's hoping.