8:05 PM CST, January 30, 2013
Bums me out that San Francisco stands poised to be a world champion in yet another sport. I was up there recently and it seemed to be mostly falling down. There are no right angles in that decaying city, and termites eat better than the tourists. Meanwhile, the teetering populace treats each night like Caligula's birthday.
If California has the equivalent to Anchorage, it is San Francisco. Notice how they put all the taverns at the top of the hills, so at the end of the night everyone just rolls home. In San Francisco, that's what passes for urban planning.
Most San Franciscans are among the nation's artsy unemployed, so I guess we should be happy for our Bay Area brothers and sisters. First they won it all in baseball; now they're about to win it all in our grandest sport, football. At least they have something to hang on to besides each other.
Point is, damp, dippy San Francisco seems the most unlikely great sports town in America. Brawny Baltimore? Sure. Fierce New York? Of course.
But San Fan Cisco? Not in Kafka's worst nightmare.
Here's my story line for Sunday's game:
Colin Kaepernick get hurts and Alex Smith comes off the bench to lead the Niners to victory.
And at halftime, Lance Armstrong confesses that he was really Manti Te'o's secret girlfriend.
The 49ers are a four-point favorite in Sunday's game, but oddsmakers say 60% of the public is currently on the side of Baltimore's Ravens.
More interested in the spectacle than the outcome? Here are some entertaining novelty bets, courtesy of Bovada, an online sports book (note, odds are subject to change):
•How long will it take Alicia Keys to sing the national anthem?
Over/under: 2 minutes 10 seconds.
•Will Keys forget or omit at least one word?
•Will Beyonce's hair be curly/crimped or straight at the beginning of the halftime show?
•How long will the postgame handshake/hug last between Jim and John Harbaugh?
Over/under: Seven seconds.
•Will a Baltimore or San Francisco player be arrested before the game?
•What color will the Gatorade (or equivalent liquid) be that is dumped on the head coach of the winning team?
•Whom will the most valuable player of the Super Bowl thank first?
No one: 9-4.
Deer antler spray? Now I know what I want for Valentine's Day.
According to Sports Illustrated, Ray Lewis squirted the stuff under his tongue every two hours while rushing to recover from a torn triceps.
Call it Bambi-gate.
SI quoted Christopher Key, one of the owners of a company that makes the stuff, as telling Alabama players before last year's Bowl Championship Series title game:
"We have deer that we harvest in New Zealand. Their antlers are the fastest-growing substance on planet Earth … because of the high concentration of IGF-1. We've been able to freeze dry that out, extract it, put it in a sublingual spray that you shake 20 seconds and then spray three [times] under your tongue. The stuff has been around for almost 1,000 years, this is stuff from the Chinese."
He had me at "sublingual spray."
Measure my life not by birthdays, or even in the chalk marks on my cellblock wall. Measure it in football seasons.
When a season ends, as this one is about to, it leaves me a little sad and aimless. Seven months is too long between seasons.
Life is all about anticipation, and since August, there has always been something to look forward to each weekend.
Now all the networks have to pimp is the next golf tournament, which is to football what Nicki Minaj is to Audrey Hepburn, what cold rain is to hot gumbo, what grape Jell-O is to fine wine.
Till then, we have this Super Bowl, a national celebration second only to Christmas.
Here's my novelty bet: The over-under on the number of chicken wings you'll eat is 20. (I like to dip mine in antler spray.)
Go ahead and party up Sunday, because the next time you'll see many of these people — friends, family, barmaids, your arresting officer — will be late summer.
The end of football season is like the start of our sports Lent. After Sunday, Americans all head off to remodel their basements.
Which is, I'll wager, still far better than watching golf.
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