It was going to be a coronation. After the greatest season ever, he’d be crowned the greatest quarterback ever. All that remained was a win in the Super Bowl, a mere formality. Inevitability was never more predestined. Press coverage was 110 percent unanimous, capped by a pre-game piece on how annoying the player’s perfectionism was to all his teammates and coaches, so superior he was to each and every one of them, individually, collectively, and as a franchise. Not that they didn’t all worship at his quick-moving feet.
OK, S-B Sunday turned out not to be his day. Or night.
If it’s the ultimate game how come they’re playing it again next year, Duane Thomas profoundly asked after competing in Super Bowl VI, XLII years ago. Since he was the running star of that game, everybody thought it rather churlish of him to turn into Jean-Paul Sartre. No one yet knew that his question was in part inspired by his legalization of cannabis for himself. Nor could anyone in 1972 have guessed that the answer to his query wouldn’t become clear until 2014: Specifically, so that Peyton Manning can try again next year.
That might improve that national mood, though not really. It assumes the country will recover from a very bad case of petulance that saw most every fan denounce last Sunday’s game as “boring,” “disappointing,” “deflating,” “a snooze,” “a joke,” “a travesty,” “a national disgrace,” “a violation of human rights,” “a friggin’ waste of time.” The brilliance underlying Denver’s defeat at the hands of Seattle was of no interest to the seat cushion and beer mug throwing mob.
To be fair, perhaps the nation had been misled. A few hours before the game, Americans had heard their president promise the game would be too close to call. “I can’t make a prediction,” he said. “These guys are too evenly matched. I think it is going to be 24-21, but I don’t know who’s going to be… 24 and I don’t know who’s going to be 21.”
So it ended 43-8. Which wasn’t that far off. Besides, he said it on Fox, and everyone knows the lengths to which that network goes to stretch the meaning of fair and balanced.
Conservatives owe Bill O’Reilly an apology. His pre-Super Bowl grilling of the president was as one-sided as the game turned out to be. Especially the second half, which unfortunately wasn’t aired until the next day. But just listen to some of the questions he threw at the president. What other reporter or TV clown has ever grilled him like that — and all this on top of Sunday’s rough-edged questions about Obamacare, the IRS, and Benghazi that no one’s asking even when the president is not within earshot:
But 72 percent of babies in African-American community are born out of wedlock.…Why isn’t there a campaign by you and the first lady to address that problem very explicitly… Would you say it’s been a hallmark of your administration to make that issue, because I don’t believe it has.…
Why do you oppose school vouchers when it would give poor people a chance to go to better schools?…
All right. Keystone pipeline, new study comes in, environmental impact, negligible. Forty-two thousand jobs. You’re gonna okay it, I assume.…
Okay. I’ll take that as a yes. Little Sisters of the Poor, come on, give them the little waiver.…
By now he had his man on the ropes and there was no referee around to stop the fight. “Do you think I’m being unfair to you, do you think I’ve been giving you [a hard time],” he asked. Provoking this reply. “Absolutely. Of course you have, Bill. But, I like you anyway, Bill.” Ooh, that was almost as bad as saying he’s likable.
O’Reilly continued to press his advantage. “Give me how I’m unfair. Come on, you can’t make that accusation without telling me.” By now the president was losing his composure. Unteleprompted, he mumbled, “Here — here — here’s what I would say. I think regardless of whether it’s fair or not, uh, it has, uh, it has made FOX News very successful.” Then he injected some optimism into the discussion, a look to the future, a sense of vision: “Here’s what — here’s the thing you guys — here’s what you guys are gonna have to figure out is what are — what are you gonna do when I’m gone?”
What are we going to do when he’s gone?
Are you kidding? We know full well what. We’ll cry and cry and cry some more. Then start an Obama fan club. Build him a presidential museum. Buy him a lifetime membership at miniature golf course. Seahawk him in a game of H-O-R-S-E. Ghost his memoirs. Send him autographed copies of Bill O’Reilly’s latest bestsellers. And take him on a pilgrimage to Yorba Linda. How so?
We knew Bill O’Reilly was running up the score when he asked him, “Are you the most liberal President in U.S. History?” and he replied by comparing himself to Richard Nixon.
Is it unfair for a broken man to win another EOW crown just days after a Super Bowl disaster? We contort, you decide.