The stage is set for what figures to be the most riveting Super Bowl in history... or the exact opposite. The Steelers-Cardinals matchup is about as exciting as shopping for fine China, but at least we are in good company. There are five of us in our apartment, my fiance (MK), my buddy (CG), his girlfriend (KMo), me, and the fifth wheel (BigMac). [Note: BigMac isn't actually the fifth wheel, but I will take it upon myself to make him feel as awkward as Sally Hawkins during her Golden Globes acceptance speech for the next four hours.]
My wallet could certainly use a Steelers victory of somewhere between one and six points. My official pick for the game: Steelers 27, Cards 24. BigMac took Santonio Holmes (12-1) to win MVP.
5:59PM ET: Matt Millen just picked the Cardinals. I feel good about my chances.
6:08: Our first shot of Anquan Boldin. He looks disgruntled already.
6:13: No matter what happens during the game, we can all take solace in the fact that pitchers and catchers report in two weeks.
6:18: BigMac suggests "Sully" could have landed the plane at the Teterboro Airport but figured if he pulled off a successful water landing, he and his crew get field-level seats at the Super Bowl. Everyone nods in agreement.
6:20: Both females in attendance agree the Steelers look more "ghetto." Ghetto wins Super Bowls.
6:38: An impressive five minute drive to get the game started. 7-0. High fives all around. [Note: We snuck in an over 46.5 right before kickoff.]
6:41: On second thought, the play and are high fives are reversed. 3-0 after a field goal by Jeff Reed, whose hair is a joke. He must have boy band tryouts after the game.
6:52: Early lead in the "I Can't Believe My Company Wasted $3m on That" Race: Toyota.
6:53: First catch by Santonio Holmes gets Big Mac excited. 25-yarder.
6:55: Big Ben badly underthrows Nate Washington. Should be 14-0.
6:56: Holmes' second catch of the night actually brings BigMac out of his seat. 5-yard gain. He's now singing San-san-san-ton-io to the tune of No-no-no-to-ri-us. Good times all around.
7:06: Doritos, the early leader for advertiser of the day.
7:09: Steelers continue their march down the field and take a 10-0 lead.
7:22: Huge pass play from Kurt Warner to Boldin followed by a great catch by Delaware alum Ben Patrick makes the score 10-7. Back on a good pace for the over.
7:50: As one of the most boring first halves in Super Bowl history is coming to an end, Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison returns an interception 100 yards for a score. Steelers lead 17-7. It certainly should have been 14-10 Cards. An incredible play... which also happens to put us on pace for the over.
8:00: Early leader for Super Bowl MVP: James Harrison. Best commercial of the day: Doritos snow globe.
8:09: Beijing-esque fireworks, Max Weinberg on drums, and Paul Schaeffer on the piano. Everyone's confused, but The Boss is looking great.
8:18: Good move: The Boss reworking the worst lyrics of all time (throw that "speedball" by you)
8:19: Bad move: The Boss letting Steve Van Zandt speak to a national audience.
8:30: Kurt Warner comes back out for the second half.. still wearing his patented throwing hand glove.
9:08: We're back after some technical difficulties directly related to buffalo chicken strips being served. Steelers lead 20-7.
9:14: Omar Epps is younger than Kurt Warner. Cool fact.
9:17: If I needed a car, I'd get a Hyundai.
9:17: Cash4Gold commercial brings down the house. Doesn't top the snow globe but anytime Ed McMahon and M.C. Hammer star in the same commercial, people take notice.
9:22: Arizona threatening to get back in the game. Warner is currently 7-7 on the drive.
9:26: Arizona storms back. Warner throws a fade to Larry Fitzgerald who was very quiet until now. The Cards are hanging around like a bad rash. 20-14. 7:33 left in the 4th. Over not looking so good.
9:27: Brenda Warner is a LOT more attractive than I remember from a few years back. Amazing what hair can do for you.
9:52: The teams trade possessions and the Cards pin the Steelers at their own 1-yard line.
9:53: NBC commercials encouraging fans to vote for the game's MVP. None of the eight contenders is named Santonio or Holmes.
9:57: Holding in the endzone. Safety. 20-16. All the momentum swinging towards the Cards.
10:00: Two plays later, a quick strike from Warner to Fitzgerald (the new MVP favorite), 64-yards to the house. Cards lead 23-20 with 2:37 to play. The only good part about this is that the Steelers have plenty of time to mount a drive and send the game to OT. Buckle up.
10:03: Steelers commit another holding penalty and face 1st and 20 from their own 12-yard line with the season and Lombardi Trophy on the line.
10:05: Big Ben to San-san-san-ton-io, 14 yards.
10:07: Big Ben to Holmes, 13 yards. BigMac getting excited again.
10:11: Three plays later, it's Big Ben to Holmes again for a 40-yard completion. Forget OT. The Steelers might win this in regulation.
10:14: After a touchdown slips through Holmes' hands on 1st and Goal, Holmes hauls in a 6-yard reception by dotting the i's and maintaining possession. What we once thought was impossible (Holmes for MVP), is looking like a sure thing. Best of all, we hit the over, the Steelers lead by between one ond six points, and the score is looking eerily similar to my pregame prediction. Steelers lead 27-23.
10:22: A valiant comeback attempt falls short as Warner fumbles the game and season away. Steelers win 27-23. Now we wait for the MVP to be named.
10:30: As NBC comes back from commercial, the camera zooms in on Big Ben, Mike Tomlin, Dan Rooney and Dan Patrick on the platform. No Santonio in sight.
10:32: Joe Namath hands the Steelers the Lombardi Trophy.
10:35: NBC goes to commercial; BigMac unthinkably decides to leave. The four of us remain in stunned silence.
10:38: Dan Patrick announces that Santonio Holmes has in fact won the MVP Award for Super Bowl 43.
10:44: We sit back and agree that the game and evening could not have gone any better. Our wallets agree.
10:45: We make plans to watch the Pro Bowl on Sunday.
10:45:01: We come to our senses...and realize no one actually watches the Pro Bowl.