Much like the prom or New Year's Eve, Super Bowl Sunday is a day that almost can't help but fall short of the hype. And there was plenty of hype: two weeks' worth of build up, six and a half hours (or VI and I/II hours in Super Bowl math) of pregame programming, expensive commercials, a glitzy halftime show, and a game. Despite consistently unmet expectations, I wouldn't have my Super Bowl any other way. OK. Enough chitchat. On to the game. Since my limited writing ability won't allow me to be more creative, I will now discuss the game in chronological order.

Pregame: I admit that I did not watch all of the pregame festivities, but I did see the Cirque du Soleil performance. With bright colors that could cause seizures in the blind, strange, mashed up animals that make the platypus seem reasonable and Gloria Estefan, I believe I now know what it's like to take acid. This couldn't be too far from what Hunter S. Thompson saw when he blinked. This is what causes circus clowns to divorce. OK, I'll stop. Now I realize the NFL wants something that reflects Miami's culture, but they really needed to consider who is watching. This is what networks program opposite football games to draw other viewers. But what do I know? Like I said, I missed most of the pregame, so maybe this is exactly what a lot of other people want. I still think they should just have four hours of demolition derby with WWE drivers before every Super Bowl.

National anthem: Being a young kid when Billy Joel ruled the airwaves, there's still a part of me that hopes maybe he can put it all back together and salvage his career. This part of me also drives around in a Chevy Malibu and frequently gets beaten up by the part of me that likes The Clash. Still, it's jarring to see that he now looks more like the mask on the cover of The Stranger album than himself. I was glad to hear him do a good job with the anthem, though. And there needs to be jets streaking across at the end of more things - the State of the Union Address, the closing of the Dow Jones, when I leave work for the day.

Coin toss: Went off without a hitch. It didn't land on its side. Rumors that Billy Joel was seen looking for that quarter at midfield are completely false.

First quarter: Coming into this game, I was convinced that the Bears were going to win. Everyone wanted the Colts to win, everyone thought they should win, and it was starting to smell like the perfect recipe for the Bears to come in and shock everyone. The first three minutes of the game didn't dissuade me from thinking this way.
The Devin Hester return for a touchdown was the one thing the Colts absolutely couldn't let happen to begin the game, and yet it happened. That's what good players do.

The Colts followed this with two false starts and an interception. It really was the worst way they could have started the game, and if I was a betting man, I would have guaranteed the Bears were going to cruise to a win. This is exactly why I'm not a betting man. I have awful instincts, and it really helps my ego that these blogs come after games, not before with predictions.

The Colts and Peyton Manning eventually settled down, but it quickly became apparent that the weather was going to be a huge factor as the opening quarter featured multiple turnovers. While Indianapolis seemed to regain their poise, Chicago (and specifically Rex Grossman) looked like they came to play, too. Grossman made a nice quick pass to Muhsin Muhammad for a TD to regain the lead, and at the end of the first they were ahead 14 to 6.

Commercial Highlights (Part 1): They need to be a part of any Super Bowl discussion.

Bud Light Rock, Paper, Scissors commercial: Appropriately, this was the first commercial shown after kickoff. It featured both aspects of American culture - beer and violence.

Sierra Mist Beard Combover: Loved it. Gaffigan. Combover. Jean shorts. Rollerskates. 'Nuff said. Yikes. After cutting open mattresses and breaking piggy banks to afford this spot, they realized "Crap! We don't have enough to actually produce a quality commercial!" Poor guys. The mouse that tried to roar, but let out a yawn.

FedEx Moon Office: Amusing enough. Who doesn't like to see someone hit with a comet? And the use of Europe's "The Final Countdown" was a nice touch. They need the royalties.

Snickers Mechanic Kiss: Yeah, I'm probably going to stay away from chocolate for a little while. No, really. I'm good.

Letterman and Oprah: Possibly the best of them all. Just a nice surprise, and it's always good to see Dave.

Second quarter: This was the quarter the Colts moved into the driver's seat. The Bears offense could do absolutely nothing except keep their punter busy. Meanwhile, the Colts were finding their groove. The backfield duo of Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes was giving the Bears defense fits both running and catching. I know the Bears' complete lack of offense didn't help things, but I was surprised to see the defense play so poorly. I never expected them to let the Colts run over them so much. Going into halftime, they were lucky to only be down 16 to 14.

Commercial Highlights (Part 2):

Garmin Maposaurus: I loved the Ultraman reference! Unfortunately, I am one of about seven dorks in this country who got it. I'm sure this commercial tested well in Japan.

Doritos Checkout Girl: "I'm gonna need a cleanup on register six." These words, like my student loans, will haunt me for a long, long time.

GM Robot Commercial: Very cute. Here's a twist for the next time you see it - imagine the robot is a human.

Halftime: Prince was possibly the best halftime act ever. There. I said it. To put it another way: when I die, and if I go to heaven, I hope God is Prince and that the welcoming ceremony goes something like that halftime show. Everything about it (from the headwear that was a touching ode to Hattie McDaniel to his song selection) was a slam dunk.

Third Quarter: Whatever Bears coach Lovie Smith said to his team at halftime, it had nothing to do with football. The offense came out looking mostly overwhelmed - especially on their first drive, where Grossman was sacked for a big loss, then fumbled the ball on the next play. Someone should have just led him to the end of the bench and thrown a sheet over him at that point. And the Bears defense still couldn't stop Addai or Rhodes.
They were lucky to hold Indianapolis to two FGs and get one of their own (thanks to some help from a penalty), as they were trailing 22 to 17 going into the final quarter.

Commercial Highlights (Part 3):

Nationwide/Kevin Federline: It aired! I thought it had been pulled? Don't yell at me for not following this story more closely.

Fourth quarter: And then the wheels came off for the Bears. When Grossman threw the interception that was returned for a TD, it was clear he could no longer rest on the laurels of that pass he threw in the first quarter to Muhammad. He appeared to know he needed to make something happen, but it was unclear if he understood that making the punter appear after three plays did not count as "making something happen." Maybe if he'd had more time, he could have put together a FG. Another three quarters, perhaps? More? We'll never know. But the game ended, and Manning and coach Tony Dungy shared a hug that must have been part joy and part relief after many years of trying to win the big one.

Commercial Highlights (Part 4):

Survivor: Fiji: Another one? Already? Doesn't Jeff Probst need a nap?

Norbit: Proof that Eddie Murphy's love of himself has reached disturbing levels.

Budweiser Shula vs. Jay-Z: So Jay-Z out-coaches Don Shula in some sort of virtual game? If this is the future, I want no part of it.

And so, Super Bowl XLI is over. Yes, there was a lot of hype. It's part of the game. Yes, the game wasn't nearly as exciting and well played as everyone hoped. That, too, is a common part of the game. But every year we enjoy every minute of hoping both will be on equally high levels. Congrats to the Indianapolis Colts! Take care.