Thursday, September 6

Blogging The First Professional Football Game Of The Season

8:30 p.m.: It's the NBC Sports chimes. We're invited to the following presentation of the National Football League.

8:31 p.m.: Is that Faith Hill, singing an opening night song to the tune of "I Hate Myself for Loving You" while lots of Sprint products are displayed prominently on screen? If so, why has she raided Lita Ford's closet?

8:32 p.m.: Welcome back, Al Michaels. You've been missed.

8:33 p.m.: John Madden appears for the first time. He is wearing more makeup than Tammy Faye Bakker wore in the 1980s. By that last sentence, I mean that he is wearing more makeup right now than all of the accumulated makeup that Bakker wore during that entire decade. I know (from firsthand experience) that people have to apply lots of makeup if they're appearing in front of an HD camera, but this is ridiculous! In Madden's case, the camera isn't adding 10 pounds tonight. The makeup is adding 10 pounds.

8:37 p.m.: Must Peyton Manning appear in every single commercial?

8:39 p.m.: The first play of the game isn't even over, and Michaels already tells us that Tony Dungy won the Super Bowl in Indianapolis after failing to do so in Tampa Bay.

8:42 p.m.: Stop talking, John Madden. Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up. I'm not listening to yooooouuuuuuuuuu.

8:44 p.m.: Now the Saints have the ball.

8:50 p.m.: Every syllable that falls from Madden's lips is like a symphony of fingernails across a chalkboard. Every word, the whine of a dozen rusty chainsaws. Every time he points out something that's painfully obvious, a puppy dies.

8:53 p.m.: The Saints miss a field goal. The score is still 0-0.

8:57 p.m.: Britt is eating a bowl of cereal.

8:58 p.m.: Britt, finished with his cereal, is now talking about some arcane rule of baseball statistics. Doesn't he realize I'm watching football? I can only process one sport at a time.

9 p.m.: Touchdown for Indianapolis (Marvin Harrison catch), plus the extra point. The score is 7-0.

9:02 p.m.: Bud Light ad shows two average joes trying to outsmart the elite by sneaking beers into the opera. The plan backfires, though, when a high note shatters the glass bottles. From the ad, I can't tell if I'm supposed to sympathize with these guys or laugh at them.

9:06 p.m. Commercials are over.

9:08 p.m.: Oh goody -- more commercials! Why does it look like the Lincoln MKX is in some kind of elevator? Wouldn't it make more sense for an SUV to travel horizontally, not vertically?

9:10 p.m.: Commercial break is over, but there's only 10 seconds left in the quarter, so we head right back into another commercial break.

9:12 p.m.: We're back. The NBC peacock looks like a big ol' gay pride rainbow!

9:15 p.m.: Turnover! The Saints' Jason David takes the ball away from the Colts, and runs it in for a touchdown. With the extra point, the game is now tied at 7-7.

9:17 p.m.: Can it be? A commercial starring Peyton Manning? Stop the presses!

9:20 p.m.: I'm impressed by a Radio Shack ad. Instead of touting what sort of stuff you can buy at Radio Shack, it shows what you can do with the stuff you buy at Radio Shack. It shows a family on a road trip. Their car is filled with the usual assortment of gadgets, but the family is going anywhere because their route is blocked by a large flock of sheep. The father can't chase away the sheep, so he uses his smartphone to download a video of a wolf, and uses that to scare them away. It's hardly a perfect ad -- it doesn't tell us why we should buy these things at Radio Shack instead of, say, Best Buy -- but it's light years ahead of having to watch Howie Long bicker with Teri Hatcher.

9:27 p.m.: Okay, I'm watching the football again. I think I missed a few plays and approximately 1,000 new commercials featuring Peyton Manning.

9:29 p.m.: Britt is eating some leftover chili.

9:31 p.m.: The Saints are up 10-7, having made a field goal.

9:32 p.m.: More commercials, of course. All these commercial interruptions makes one appreciate the ad-free action of soccer. (I grew up overseas, so I am allowed to make that claim.)

9:33 p.m.: I will not be going to NBCSports.com to track John Madden's journey from Indianapolis to Dallas.

9:35 p.m.: There is an entire ad dedicated to the shape of the Budweiser Select can. It's slimmer and sleeker! Because, you know, those things really make a difference in how the beer tastes.

9:36 p.m.: Temporary blackout.

9:40 p.m.: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones appears in a Diet Pepsi Max ad. Apparently, Jones doesn't have a problem with an ad that says his coaches and players are (literally) asleep at the wheel.

9:48 p.m.: I have tried meditation and mental discipline to block out John Madden's voice. It didn't work. That mute button looks so tempting right now.

9:49 p.m.: Archie Manning looks sad. Don't look so dejected, Archie. You're in a luxury box! You don't have to hang out with the scum in the cheap seats, drinking overpriced beers and eating stale nachos.

9:54 p.m.: C'mon, Colts. We all know you're going to kick a field goal now, tying the game right before halftime. Let's get it over with.

9:55 p.m.: A Colts field goal. The game is tied at 10-10. What a surprise.

9:56 p.m.: Britt, upon seeing an aerial shot of Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis: "That's a nice area of Indianapolis. At least it was when I was there, 11 years ago." I believe this is the new advertising tagline for the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

9:59 p.m.: Ten seconds to go.

10 p.m.: The second quarter is over. I don't have the energy to watch the halftime show, and I probably won't blog the second half. Goodnight.

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