It is particularly generous of the NFL to give everyone a bye week before the Superbowl so that players can rest, coaches can hone their strategies, overzealous mayors can work out inane bets, and bookies' henchmen can order new bats. The weekend paves the way for the NFL hype juggernaut in an attempt to ruin football to the point where our desire to spike things or pour icy gatorade on each other seems pointless. Even if an opposing ballcarrier were to brazenly run through our homes or places of businesses, we become less inclined to stop them with a bone-crunching helmet-to-helmet hit.
Although they existed for centuries as part of the the Rath Yatra, juggernauts today form
only the second deadliest parade vehicle
Needless to say, the Bears will not be in the Superbowl this year. The Bears did not even make the playoffs thanks to a truly horrific showing by the defense. I admit that I have no football coaching experience, and I have never played in a football game that did not end with a hapless participant limping off the field shouting "my valve!" or suffering compound nerd fracture, but from my layman's perspective, the something about the defensive scheme seemed off.
Bob Babich's "Cover 2" zone defense
Instead, it will of course be the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa Bay. The mayors are already at it, with the mayor of Glendale putting up a cactus, deftly finding a crappy gift that grows indigenously. My favorite part is that it's the mayor of Glendale stepping up. If the Bears had moved to Gary, I guess that the Gary mayor would have had to offer up an extraneous Jackson.
Even though the Bears have not won a Super Bowl since 1985, their legacy of terrible rap videos lives on. No doubt everyone has already seen the original, although I do want to call attention to Steve Fuller, who's inexplicable presence and terrible rapping often escape the attention and analysis he truly deserves. First of all, why does the backup quarterback get an entire verse? The Superbowl Shuffle already goes on far longer than humans should be able to endure, and includes an unnecessary saxophone solo. This would be like the 2008 Bears giving Rex Grossman his own verse, except that Steve Fuller was probably not at the time the funniest person in all of professional football.
Grossman lost his job in the preseason when a
pass attempt somehow ended with him throwing
a bucket full of glitter all over a confused Desmond
Fuller's verses from the Shuffle include the lyrics:
They say Jimmy is our man
If Jimmy can't do it, I sure can
We're not here to feathers ruffle
Mercifully, whatever twisted soul composed the Super Bowl Shuffle must have already passed up lyrics such as "we're not here to root for truffle" or "we're not here to cause kerfuffle."
The Shuffle lyrics were heavily inspired by an obscure
Sir Walter Raleigh poem where he compares settling
Roanoake to "making romance," boasts to "bring
on the Papists, bring on the Spanish, this one 'tis for the
Queen, tho' she doth look mannish," and declaring that
"I'm just here to sport this ruffle"
The Bears Super Bowl created a template in the NFL for winning which included a suffocating defense, a possession offense geared around a hall-of-fame caliber running back, and an abysmal rap video. Taking this to heart, both the L.A. Raiders and the L.A. Rams released rap videos in an unprecedented rap video arms race that ended with Al Davis pounding his shoes on the table in Paul Tagliabue's office, claiming that our grandchildren will wear spiked shoulder pades. The Raiders' video is most notable for the random Matt Millen appearance, while the Rams' questionably titled "Ram It" blows all the other videos away with solid Pointer Sisters dance moves. Unquestionably, the only way for the Rams to have improved on their choreography would have been to add elements of the boogaloo and camel walk as demonstrated by an expert:
My favorite part of the video is James Brown's semi-deranged grin as he randomly throws out dance moves off the top of his head while listening to James Brown. The video cuts off before we see him leaving the room, but I'd like to think that James Brown could not successfully leave a building without Bobby Byrd appearing out of nowhere to drape him in a cape as he finishes writing a check at the grocery store or returning some James Brown DVDs or leaving a drug-addled TV interview where he keeps shouting the names of his own songs.
The video craze seemed to have died in the early '90s when the Miami Dolphins' "Can't Touch Us" ended with half the roster out with strained zubaz. But the problem has extended beyond football. Recently, the Bradley basketball team came out with their shuffle for the 2008-9 season. More disturbingly, non-sports related enterprises unleashed horrifying shuffle attempts, such as this effort by the Southern Food Brokerage. Before we all laugh at these unluckily recorded people, let's remember that this is clearly the result of a hostage situation where a maniac forced the southern, mulleted, and elderly to rap for his amusement or else he would flood the market with generic Teddy Grahams and dunkaroos.
FEATHER STATUS: RUFFLED
On the basketball front, Northwestern notched perhaps the programs' greatest victory last Wednesday on the road in Sparta, thanks to a miraculous ability to hit 30-footers. The Mantis led the Wildcats with 31 points against #7 Michigan State, and the 1-3-1 zone defense forced 18 turnovers. Unfortunately, the 'Cats were unable to build on that momentum, dropping a tough one to the hated Wolverines in Ann Arbor, and falling to 2-5 in a surprisingly tough Big Ten. With home games against Indiana, a struggling Wisconsin, and Chicago State, the 'Cats still have a chance to make a push to the NIT.
Should the 'Cats make a postseason, I expect a proper NIT shuffle by the Bill Carmody Rhythm Galaxy.