Evidence of a Clogged Blog …
Sometime Sunday between 10 p.m. and midnight — depending on how long Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers play at intermission, and if TV can milk another 47 commercials or so out of The Big Cash Cow that is the Super Bowl — a mold will be broken.
At stake is the title of The Most Miserable Man on Earth, a title shared by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin.
One of them, drenched in Gatorade, will crack a smile. Not much of one, mind you, but it will be there. You’ll have to watch for it closely.
When this half-smile occurs, wax will run in rivulets down the man’s face, thereby breaking the molded cast of miserableness that this face has been encased in for time immemorial.
The loser of the game will, of course, retain the title of The Most Miserable Man on Earth — and will no longer have to share this crown.
Coughlin — a.k.a. Father Coughlin — last smiled when he was an altar boy and took a sip of red wine once in the sacristy before High Mass. He was 11 years old. He was caught, thrashed and forced to say The Stations of the Cross on his knees. Ever since, he has worn the same expression of utter pain and penance on his face.
In the NFC championship game in Green Bay that face was turned into hamburger (somewhere between raw chuck and turkey burger) in the biting cold. No man has ever endured such exquisite pain. Was a stunning upset his Giants pulled off. Also, Father Coughlin got to suffer through it in full view of a national TV audience.
Oh, the pain, the joy! He came close to smiling, Father Coughlin did, but the mold held.
When the game ended, a friend of mine who lives in Manhattan e-mailed the following: “Tickled pink about Jints, but I guess this means we’ll have to put up with Father Tom for a few more years.”
This pretty much was the prevailing sentiment in the Big Apple (and in Joisey) regarding The Most Miserable Man on Earth.
As for Belichick’s rotten personality and his coaching success in New England: We’ve all been there, done that. Like the man himself: bor-riiing.
As George Costanza might say to Belichick: “I went to the Jerk Store and they were all out of you.”
Belichick’s jerkness actually caused one local sportswriter to quit the Browns beat back when Belichick coached here.
“The man’s a (bleep),” the quitting sportswriter said. “I don’t have to put up with that.”
But let’s get back to Father Coughlin. Seems he’s changed some. A miracle, of sorts, occurred during summer training camp, his players say. Doesn’t rank up there with The Miracle of Fatima or anything, but close enough.
Suddenly Father Tom — a screamer, a yeller, a tyrant, a my-way-or-the-highway kind of cranky despot who could have had run a small banana republic if he wasn’t busy ruling the Jints with his Fist of Death — mellowed. Well, just a bit.
A reporter asked Michael Strahan the other day if the old Father Coughlin — the ranter and the despot — could have taken the Giants to the Super Bowl. Replied the veteran Strahan: “I don’t think so. He changed some. He’s more human. It made everyone more comfortable. Everybody feels like we’re family now. Truthfully, I’ve never seen anything like it before, where a coach changed that much.”
“It meant a lot to the players,” added Justin Tuck. “It kind of made him look more like a human being than a tyrant.”
Kind of. As in “sort of; a reasonable facsimile thereof.”
So there you have it: Playing Sunday on your hi-def, wide screen is the double feature, “The Miracle of Father Coughlin,” followed by “The Transformation of Eli Manning, The Other Brother.”
Alas, it’s New England 42, the Jints 10.
Super Super Bowls
And now, just becuz no one asked, my Favorite Super Bowls:
1. Super Bowl MLVXIII
2. Super Bowl LMIIXV
Just spoofing. Here they are:
• Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10 in 1967, the first Super Bowl. (Loved the Packers!)
• N.Y. Jets 16, Colts 7 in 1969, Super Bowl III. (Loved Broadway Joe, hated the Colts.)
• Steelers 35, Rams 31 in 1978, Super Bowl X111. (Swann’s miraculous catches.)
4, 5 & 6. The other three Steeler Super Bowl wins. (Loved those Pittsburgh teams.)
7. 49ers 20, Bengals 16 in1989, Super Bowl XXIII. (Just a great comeback win by Montana and Rice, even though I was rooting madly for the Bengals.)
8. Denver 31, Green Bay 24 in 1999 Super Bowl XXXII. (The great Elway finally gets his ring!)
9. That one where Marcus Allen reverses his field and runs 80 yards against the Redskins.
10. (Tie) Giants 20, Bills 19 in Super Bowl XXV (Scott Norwood yanks a chip shot wide left!) and Puppy Bowl III.
Also-ran: Rams-Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV (Dyson reaching for the goal line and falling short) misses the cut because no one gave a whit about this game and I mostly didn’t watch.
NOTE: If Giants win Sunday it automatically becomes No. 1 on this list. It will also render The Miracle of Fatima obsolete.
Say your prayers tonight.
Contact Doug Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.