The following is a historical account of what it’s like to have your heart ripped out of your chest in real time. As Bryan Holt might say, “I hate New Orleans and I hate Kanye West.”
Jim Caldwell is in the Super Bowl, everybody!
Vikes-Saints. Save me, Brett.
15:00: In a clutch pre-game interview, sideline reporter Pam Oliver asks Saints head coach Shaun Payton what it will take for his team to win. Payton says win the turnover battle. I’m sorry, we were looking for “Score more points.” In other pregame news, the Saints paraded out American Idol winner Kris Allen to sing the national anthem. Bad move. Are you telling me they couldn’t find some doo-wop street corner singers/Katrina victims and bang out the Star Bangled Banner with a dose of saxophone? Would’ve been deafening.
9:35: Let me recap the Viking’s masterful first drive for you. Seven pass plays – six completed – a sneaky, 8-yard up-the-gut run from Percy “What Headache?” Harvin, and a 19-yard TD run on an All-Day Peterson draw play when the Saints linebackers were looking for pass. They call these things “clinical.” No truth to the rumor that Mike Leach replaced Brad Childress as the Minnesota shot caller. In fact, Childress is the guy that looks like he locked someone in his closet. 7-0, Vikings.
6:30: The Battle of the Pierres is in full swing. Pierre Thomas makes a Bush-like cut up the sidelines, turning a little dump pass into a 38-yard TD. Earlier today, the Colts’ Garcon caught an AFC Championship record 11 balls for 151 yards in the biggest coming out party since Cruise in “Risky Business.” One more time America: “Thomas! Garcon! It’s the French Connection on CBS!” The network heads are licking their chops. 7-7, Saints.
5:27: Saints D-end Bobby McCray de-cleats his second quarterback in two weeks. This time Favre gets up. Three plays later, Darren “No Hard Feelings, We’re Boyz Brett” Sharper clocks the Minnesota QB again.
2:11: Out of the shotgun formation, Favre connects with Sydney Rice for 5 yards and a Minnesota touchdown. The Vikes O-line looks like a cross between Swiss cheese and a hula hoop, but Favre is in Sly Stallone Mode circa “Rocky III.” The guy just keeps getting up. 14-7, Vikings.
15:00: The DVR just went into catatonic shock. I’ve inexplicably jumped into live time, bypassing five prime minutes of commercial skipping action. Go to hell, Cox.
14:01: Apparently it’s 102 decibels in the Super Dome, but I have no idea what this means. What does my alarm clock pull? Fifty decibels? A thousand decibels? One second… (*Googling*) The internets say we’re 61 dB away from glass breaking, problematic since Greg Oden is on the Saints sideline.
13:21: Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey lines up nose to nose with Minnesota DE Jared Allen. When’s the last time two people with this much hair squared off against each other? Or rather, when’s the last time Joaquin Phoenix squared off against anyone?
10:30: Drew Brees finds wideout Devery Henderson for 9 yards in the corner of the end zone on a broken play. Touchdown, Saints. 14-14. This feels like it could it be one of those “last possession” type shootouts. And I’m just telling you right now that if Jay Feely ruins this game for me, I’m throwing my laptop through a window.
6:19: Minnesota pretty boy punter Chris Kluwe looks like he just got out of Mouseketeers practice when Fox flashes his profile on the screen. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Kris Allen sneaks in for a fake punt?
4:15: Deanna Favre sighting. And she’s got a friend. I, for one, am a huge fan of the entire Favre family. Any chance of Brett adopting Wes Welker’s girlfriend?
3:17: Jeremy Shockey comes up like Eight Belles (too soon?) after an 8 yard completion. The hobbled Saints tight end yanks himself from the game. Last week, Moose Johnston and Tony Siragusa had Shockey pegged at between 50 and 80 percent. Now Shockey’s got a deep knee bruise and a broken toe. I’d say he’s about 40 decibels.
1:44: Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma shoots up the sideline and levels Adrian Peterson. Eric Crouch is at a used car dealership spazzing into violent flashbacks of the 2002 Rose Bowl. In case you weren’t sure, Vilma went to The “U.” 14-14.
1:13: You cannot advance a muffed punt. The ground can’t cause the fumble. And Reggie Bush can’t seem to capitalize on any of his considerable talents. Kim Kardashian’s leading man flubs the Kluwe punt. And while Kluwe is signing a contract with Lou Pearlman, Bush is making a face I haven’t seen since his ill-advised I’m-just-gonna-chuck-it-over-my-head-and-see-what-happens ’06 Rose Bowl moment. Two Rose Bowl references down, only 93 to go.
1:00: The Vikings Peterson coughs it up inside the Saints 10. Bush looks like a booster just bought him a car. Still 14-14.
12:56: After a 61-yard kickoff return by Courtney “I Once Rocked a Mohawk” Roby and a “The Other” Dave Thomas reception, Pierre Thomas does his pounding dirty work, polishing off the touchdown drive with three punishing runs. 21-14, Saints, as France debates where its Super Bowl allegiance lies.
8:20: Visanthe Shiancoe caches three 20-plus yard darts from a suddenly pistol-whipping Favre. Shiancoe caught the last one inside the five with three fingers. I’d say he’s the Vikings’ Mordecai Brown. And if we ever have an all-time team for black guys who have the names of Siberian warlords, I think we’ve found our tight end.
7:35: AP pounds it in from the two after getting his hands wrapped in Velcro on the sidelines. We’re 22 minutes away from a Favre Super Bowl. My keyboard is shaking, and not from the caffeine. 21-21.
5:38: Joe Buck: “Adrian Peterson lost it again!” Not only that, this time he chucked it forward 10 yards. You’ve heard of “projectile vomiting”? That was a “projectile fumble.” Miraculously, still Vikes’ ball. Chester Taylor, your move. Still all square.
3:37: Saints DT Anthony Hargrove pile-drives the Minnesota quarterback a la Bill Goldberg, and two plays later the rest of the Saints D-line looks like they might have finished the deal. Favre’s left leg collapses in a heap of twisted limbs as Vilma picks off a low-flying duck. Brett hobbles off the field with the help of the Vikes’ training staff, lifts up his shirt and proceeds to show all of America the cyborg living underneath him.
14:10: Saints tackle Remi Ayodele (great name) scoops up Percy Harvin’s second fumble of the drive. It’s really not fair that the Saints get to play offense with a football and Minnesota is stuck with Flubber. Drew Brees connects with Bush three plays later on a little four-yard out. 28-21, Saints as Hell begins to ice over.
12:39: A Bryan Holt text message I just opened after a feverish bout of typing: “That was the most brutal spear I’ve seen since Goldberg was WCW Heavyweight Champion.” Great minds, people. Great minds.
11:05: Favre connects with Bernard Berrian for 30 yards on third and long. Berrian, who has 7 big catches for 83 yards today, had me thinking that he’d played possum the entire season just to so he could surprise the Saints during the biggest game of the year. He then fumbled on his very next reception confirming that, no, he just sucks. Saints ball as Vikings cough up football number six. Somebody get these guys some Robitussin. This is embarrassing. Saints ball. 28-21.
7:50: Adrian “Fumble All Day” Peterson picks up four on a delayed handoff. Amazingly, still Vikings ball.
7:00: Favre finds Shiancoe on a crucial third and six after the massive target abuses Roman Harper off the ball and then finishes him off with a stiff arm after the catch. Shiancoe then turned to the Saints bench and yelled, “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?” and flung his sword in disgust.
4:58: After a “We Really Want Brett in the Super Bowl” pass interference call at the Saints goal line, Peterson follows big Phil Loadholt into the end zone a couple plays later on two-yard run. Two yards? I like when you can measure the length of a run in Harvin fumbles. Inexplicably, 28-28, as the football gods look down on Favre and say, “You are my child.”
3:11: Brees rifles a 16-yard strike to Henderson who comes up just six feet short on third and a mile. No more jokes at this point. I’m nervous as hell.
2:27: How is Minnesota still in this game? “Because of the turnovers by Arizona,” says walking concussion Troy Aikman. Ok, one more joke.
1:52: The Vikings are still feeding Adrian Peterson, swatting at a hornets nest, and sticking their fingers in an electrical socket, you know, just to see what happens.
1:42: Favre throws an 8-yard strike to Berrian who jukes out a defender and picks up a first down on the biggest play/third down of the game. Says Berrian after the catch, “Vindication, Hilson! VINDICATION!” Favre again. Frozen rope to Syd Rice up the seam for 20. Then Chester “Not Adrian Peterson” Taylor rips off 14. Minnesota reaches the Saints 36 as kicker Ryan Longwell pulls a brick out of his pants.
:07: Bryan via text: “Vintage Favre.” It’s a gene. It has to be. Number Four, flushed out of the pocket, flings a limp biscuit across his body. Interception, Tracy Porter. Neither of these teams is in control anymore. This is just a giant clash of failed histories and gridiron destiny.
15:00: Shaun Payton elects to put Pierre Thomas – who fielded one kick all regular season – back on the return. Good move. Thomas finds a gaping hole for 40.
13:12: Brees finds Henderson on third and 10 from the Saints 48, but Henderson juggles the ball and comes up a foot short. Crucial review coming… Quick question: did anybody catch that Colts fan with the “D-Fence” sign? It didn’t have the little picket fence, it just said “D-Fence?” These are the things that delight me to no end. Oh, and Pierre Thomas may or may not have converted a 4 and 1. Review pending… First down, Saints.
11:50: Vikings linebacker Been Leber, the gentleman that he is, does not lay a hand on TE Dave Thomas. And yet he’s flagged for pass interference anyway. Leber’s heated. He swallows Reggie Bush on an ill-advised sweep. I’m still writing. That means it’s still tied.
10:24: If I said the combined over/under of fumbles + INT + reviews was 14, would you have taken the over? Saints field goal attempt coming.
10:19: I’m trying to say something that will adequately convey the magnitude of this moment, but words are failing. Garret “Ice Cold” Hartley bangs home a 40-yard field goal sending the Super Dome into a euphoric bender. I feel sick. Not as sick as Brett Favre. But sick. 31-28, as I run for the Pepto-Bismol.