By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

Congratulations to the Steelers and Seahawks for reaching the Super Bowl. Each team is clearly the class of its conference.

I wish they played this coming Sunday, though, and not 13 days from now. Two weeks of Super Bowl buildup is hard to take no matter how big a football fan you are. And it gets worse every year. For instance, the pregame show for Super Bowl XL already started. Seriously. We're already a good 12 hours into it.

Here's what you've missed so far:

Midnight-2 a.m.: "Great Moments in Super Bowl Pregame Show History."

2 a.m.-3 a.m.: "Ford Field Weather Report." Meteorologists try to predict what the weather will be like at game time for the Super Bowl.

3 a.m.-4 a.m.: "NFL Films Presents: John Facenda Orders Drive-Thru." Look and listen as the late NFL Films icon makes ordering a cheeseburger value meal -- no onion, no ketchup -- sound like the work of a poet laureate.

4 a.m.-5 a.m.: "Great Moments in Seattle Seahawks History." (Most of the hour filled with advertising.)

5 a.m.-6 a.m.: "Where Are They Now?" A look at Janet Jackson's breasts since the Super Bowl XXXVIII controversy.

6 a.m.-7 a.m.: "Say It, Don't Spray It." An interview with Pittsburgh head coach Bill Cowher.

7 a.m.-8 a.m.: "Great Moments in Our Great Moments in Super Bowl Pregame Show History Segment"

8 a.m.-9 a.m.: "The Wild Speculation Hour." Analysts yell and make insane predictions in a transparent attempt to grab ratings.

9 a.m.-11 a.m.: Jerome Bettis' Mom vs. Donovan McNabb's Mom: 12 rounds to determine the new Chunky Soup spokesperson

11 a.m.-Noon: "Feats of Strength with Ed Hochuli."

Headlines That Are Probably in Newspapers This Morning ...

Pittsburgh: "Steelers send Larry Foote home for Super Bowl; Backup running back also a Detroit native"

Seattle: "Seahawks reach Super Bowl! Full Apocalypse coverage beginning tomorrow"

Denver: "Under-the-radar Broncos now completely off the radar"

Carolina: "UNC wins on heels of Duke's upset loss; See NFL coverage on Page C32"

Detroit: "City braces for onslaught of negative articles from fully comped football writers"

Arizona: "Denver somehow shocked by Plummer's poor play"

International: "Latest Bin Laden tape predicts death to infidels, Steelers to cover spread"

Ten Things I Thought I Thought While Proposing Marriage to an Espresso Machine...

1. I'm wondering whether Bears head coach Lovie Smith called his defensive coordinator, Ron Rivera, at any point during yesterday's Seahawks-Panthers game.

"Hey, Ron. It's Lovie. You watching this?"

"Yep. It's really interesting."

"I know. Looks like the Seahawks decided to put their best cornerback on Steve Smith instead of their worst one like we did. Strange approach, but it seems to be working."

"Yeah, I noticed. Weird. And not only that, but sometimes they're using double or even triple coverage on him. I don't know how they ever conceived of such a wild concept as that, but hats off to them. I guess sometimes even the craziest ideas end up panning out."

"Too bad we didn't think of that, huh?"

"Yeah, too bad."

"Well, I guess I'll get going. Talk to you later."

"OK. I love you, Lovie."

"Uh ... OK, Ron. I really have to go now. Bye."

2. The Seahawks are to be commended. For winning the NFC championship, yes, but even more because they didn't give Mike Holmgren a Gatorade shower at the end of the game. I'm hopeful this will put a stop to the played-out NFL tradition of dousing the head coach after each and every remotely meaningful victory. But if it does continue, there should at least be some consistency with it. Win a big game? Fine, dump a cooler of water on your coach. But if you lose, the coach should get tasered or hit in the back with a metal chair or at the very least have toilet water dumped on him. Not only would it provide some consistency to the practice and raise TV ratings, but more importantly it would increase the level of coaching in the NFL -- because no head coach would want to risk the ceremonial end-of-game tasering.

3. Seattle's victory is still just hours old and we're already hearing how it means all of Mike Holmgren's detractors have been proven wrong. You know, those detractors who said Holmgren wouldn't have any success in Seattle until he gave up control of player personnel so he could focus exclusively on coaching. Apparently they've been proven wrong somehow now that Holmgren has had success after giving up control of player personnel so he could focus exclusively on coaching. I know, I know -- I don't get it, either. But I've found it's easier to just drink the Kool-Aid when it comes to stuff like this. So drink it in deep. And if you happen to have a massive, Holmgren-esque 'stache, be sure to wipe off the Kool-Aid so it doesn't drip down onto your shirt.

4. I don't want to pin the Panthers' loss on Jake Delhomme because the guy gives it all he has and by no means was it all his fault, but I sincerely hope he left an enormous tip in his hotel room for the cleaning ladies yesterday. You know, since he, um ... how to say this on a family-friendly Web site ... since he "went No. 2" in the bed.

5. And same goes for Jake Plummer -- he played terribly, committing four turnovers, but Pittsburgh was the better team and Denver would have lost regardless of how well Plummer played. That said, it's fitting that the Bronco on Plummer's helmet looks like it's choking on something. Can't say I've ever really understand why Denver chose a team logo in which its mascot appears to be dry heaving. Personally, I would have gone with a non-vomiting team logo, but maybe that's why I don't make the big bucks running an NFL franchise.

6. Mike Shanahan's many doubters in Denver are probably going to start up again after that poor showing yesterday. But I don't think that's fair. Not only did he put to bed the criticism about never winning a playoff game without John Elway this year, but in doing so he won a playoff game with Jake Plummer. In my book, winning a playoff game with Plummer is far more impressive than winning two Super Bowls, with or without Elway. The man deserves a raise, not criticism.

7. You have to credit the Denver Broncos cheerleaders for wearing cowgirl cheerleaders uniforms that have long leather tassels hanging all over them. I think it's a smart move for them to get used to tassels now so they'll be more adept at using them in their future career endeavors. If only they can somehow get a pole installed on the sideline for next year, they'll be pretrained and ready to go.

8. I love how Ben Roethlisberger showed up at the postgame press conference in his AFC champions hat and his AFC champions T-shirt, but then he topped it all off by wearing his suit jacket to class it up a little bit. Then with his nasty beard added to that hat, T-shirt, suit-coat combo, he looked like he was from a lost episode of "Miami Vice" in which Crockett went undercover at a truck stop in Kentucky. (Tubbs, of course, would be Jerome Bettis in this little role play, as no man has ever better fit the name "Tubbs.")

9. Great moment on the NFL Network last night when analyst Jim Mora Sr. was asked who he thinks is the most underrated Steelers player. In his answer he twice said "Adam Smith" while -- presumably -- speaking about defensive end Aaron Smith. Which, in a way, proves Mora's point that Smith is underrated since Mora doesn't even know his name. Although maybe I'm being too hard on Mora. Perhaps he misheard the question and thought it was: "Name the most underrated 18th Century economist and philosopher." In that case, Adam Smith is an excellent answer and a surprisingly astute response for an NFL analyst.

10. I wonder what Bill Cowher said to his team at halftime yesterday. Probably something like: "Fellas, our backs are really against the wall right now. We have 30 minutes to turn this game around or we're going home. I need everything you have in the second half for us to have any chance of coming back." And then one of his assistants probably came up to him and whispered in his ear about how the Steelers were actually winning this year at halftime of the conference title game, so his usual speech wouldn't work. After that who knows what happened. Maybe he asked his players whether they were aware that Jerome Bettis is from Detroit. You know, since that's a little known fact that's not getting any play in the media.

DJ Gallo is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine, as well as the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also contributes headlines to "The Onion."




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