Page 2 columnist
Editor's Note: The Sports Guy is writing a running blog from Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, and he will be updating it a couple of times each day.
HOUSTON -- For the average media member or fan who doesn't care about either team, this could be the worst Super Bowl Week ever. There's nothing to hype: One team has already been here, the other team doesn't have a visible star, and there haven't been any scandals or anything (at least not yet). And everyone is depressed because we're in Houston -- the city is sprawling and confusing, and the weather has been reprehensible. It's all very strange. I've only been to one other Super Bowl -- Pats 20, Rams 17, N'Awlins -- and the vibe that week felt totally different. Maybe things will change this weekend ... but I doubt it. Thank God the Pats are here ... I can't imagine what this week would be like if you didn't have a vested interest in the game. More football-related thoughts from the past two weeks:
I think the Eagles are one season away from reaching that point. If not for the injuries to Brian Westbrook and Carlos Emmons -- which damaged the cause more than many realized at the time -- that housecleaning could have happened this spring. But now they'll talk themselves into stuff like "We just need to be healthy in January" and "We just need to surround McNabb with better receivers." And those wounds from the Carolina game will heal, and everyone will jump back on the bandwagon for one last run.And if things fall apart next January again? Then, the QB needs to go or the coach needs to go. And that's that. Again, there's no other way.
Supposedly, Clyde Drexler, Moses Malone, Jeff Bagwell, Yanni, Bobby Labonte, and Marcus Allen and even the Hilton Sisters will be involved. It all seems too good to be true. If I end up making it to the final three with Moses Malone and Paris Hilton, on the night before the Pats play in the Super Bowl ... I mean ... I can't ... no words ... unable ... can't ... trying ... no explain ... babbling ... feeling dizzy again ...
We're now officially moving into blog-style format for the rest of the weekend. There will be no rhyme or reason to when anything gets posted. Everything will be mini-columns until Monday. Click here to check out my chat Friday morning on ESPN.com. Friday is looking like one of the nicer days of the week here: Gloomy skies, heavy fog, basically the kind of weather that makes you contemplate suicide. On Thursday night, I stopped by the EA Sports "Madden Bowl," which was my favorite party in New Orleans two years ago. This time? My editor KJ and I took a $25 cab ride out to the Galleria area ... and stayed for about 25 minutes. I'm not blaming the EA Sports people -- they just picked the wrong place (The Roxy Club). Way too big. You couldn't see any of the TVs. And there were too many people. And they wouldn't let me play. One highlight was when Willis McGahee whipped Ahman Green something like 104-7. That's not a misprint. He definitely topped 100 points. Maybe he was frustrated from not playing all season. (Be worried Packers fans ... Ahman was last seen asking people, "Does anyone know how I can get to Main Street so I can jump in front of the light rail?") From what I could gather -- and believe me, it was impossible to figure out anything in this place -- McGahee and Dante Hall were playing in the finals. Even though the drinks were free, KJ and I decided to leave after KJ looked around, then said confidently, "This seems like the kind of place where you could get shot." When we were leaving, we saw Rick Reilly, who seemed very pleased with himself. I didn't know whether I wanted to introduce myself to him or trash-talk him. Finally, KJ pulled me out of there. Still, "ESPN Columnist Fights S.I. Columnist" could have been the greatest Super Bowl Week story since Eugene Robinson needed to unwind on a Saturday night. Maybe next year.
From there we headed to the "Barbershop 2" premiere, held at my favorite place (Icon). We ended up in the upstairs lounge, where I finally got to meet Jim Rome, who was wearing a white turtleneck sweater from the Alan Thicke Collection. Good guy, though. You never know with some of these media guys who become successful -- they can go either way when it happens. Also, Thea Andrews from Cold Pizza was there. I'm not allowed to comment on her because the Sports Gal was angry Thursday when I called someone "cute." Instead, I'm going to use the word "personable" for the rest of the week.Jerry Jones showed up, and that was a big deal. Looks like he still has the same wife from when he became rich. I always like when that happens. Then esteemed Hollywood agent James "Baby Doll" Dixon showed up, and that's when the party really took off. Some people can just light up a room. Within minutes, Baby was ordering everyone drinks and shots. Of course, it was an open bar and everything was complimentary. We didn't have the heart to tell him. From there, the party started heating up: Michael Strahan, Deion Sanders, Dave Navarro, all the stars from the movie, accompanied by some women who seemed very personable ... they were coming in one after the other. The Rock showed up with an entourage, including bodyguards with those little earpieces in their ear so they look more professional. Even Pat O'Brien was there, dressed like a white person this time. As I've said many times, I hate talking to celebrities or athletes because it always ends up being disappointing, and you don't like them as much afterward. So, I usually avoid them, with Rome being an exception last night. Talking to agents and PR people and other people in the business is always much more fun, mainly because you can find out good celebrity stories that way, none of which I can print. One of my favorite conversations was with Stephen Davis' agent, David Canter, just because I got to bust his chops about how Jake Delhomme was going to blow the Super Bowl for his client Sunday. Deep down, he knew. My other favorite conversation was every time I introduced Baby Doll as "Baby," then people would actually say things to him like, "So, Baby, how long have you been in town?" All in all, it ended up being a fun night and I'm giving give the "Barbershop 2" party a 10 out of 10, finishing a whopping eight points higher than the EA Sports party (and easily covering the line of 1½). Special thanks to the PR people running the party (Alisha, Jessica, Amy, Scott and everyone else). Friday night's schedule include: A.) Jimmy's first-ever "on-location" show, coming from the Moutra family's house in Houston. Guests include Nick Lachey, Warren Sapp, Adam Carolla, Shelby Lynne and, hopefully, some celebrity cameos. B) The Maxim party and the ESPN party. C) The Baby Doll Dixon party, held at a Subway on Main Street at 3:30 a.m. Has anyone ever been struck by the Light Rail while holding a meatball sandwich? It could happen Friday night. Back to the game ...
Since we need a semblance of football talk this morning, here are two other Patriots-related subplots that have been mildly intriguing this season. 1. Adam Vinatieri has been relatively shaky all season -- for him, anyway. Turns out he has been battling mysterious back problems. Before the playoffs, he was looming as an X-factor -- with a new snapper and just enough botched kicks to make Pats fans nervous.
Even when he was lining up to make that incredible 46-yarder in zero-degree weather against the Titans, after all the big kicks he's made over the years, some Pats fans (like myself) couldn't imagine that he would come through. He just hadn't been kicking well. But he made it. He's a borderline deity in New England at this point. If they win another Super Bowl, and he does something great again, he's right up there with Paul Revere and Sam Malone.Which raises the question ... After what happened during the first Super Bowl season, did Vinatieri earn permanent immunity with Pats fans? In other words, could anyone complain this Sunday if he misses a kick and costs the team a second title? I say no. You win a Super Bowl, you make two of the biggest kicks in football history ... and nobody can say anything after that. You just can't. That's like winning the lottery, then complaining because the convenience store where you bought the ticket hasn't had a winner since. But it's an interesting argument. And I hope we never have to find out the answer. 2. You remember my theory about championships: If your team wins it all, you have a five-year grace period where, in theory, you shouldn't be able to complain about anything. After all, the goal is to win the title, isn't it? Everything else over the next few years should be gravy, right? That raises three additional questions... Q: If the Pats blow the Super Bowl, obviously I'll be disappointed, but can I really complain after Super Bowl XXXVI? A: Probably not. Q: If they lose the game in devastating fashion, will it erase what happened two years ago? A: Again, no. A ring is a ring. Everything else is gravy. It's like making an Academy Award-winning movie ... you can't complain because your next one got nominated and didn't win. Unless a few years pass. Then you can get riled up. Q: If it's a five-year grace period, and the Pats win their second title, how many more years get added on to the grace period? A: My buddy Gus and I argue about this all the time -- he maintains that you add the periods together; and since he's a Broncos fan, everything's gravy for him until 2008. I disagree. I think the second grace period wipes out the first one. So if the Pats beat the Panthers again, I start fresh and enter my Gravy Phase for another five years. And that's just the way it is. See, these are the things you end up thinking about when you're waiting two weeks for the Super Bowl. Can we just play the game? Please? Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine, as well as one of the writers for "Jimmy Kimmel Live." He'll be updating his Super Blog two or three times per day from Houston.