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Friday, February 4, 2005
Updated: May 31, 2:29 PM ET
OK, now for game

By Bill Simmons
Page 2

Editor's Note: Page 2's Bill Simmons is filing round-the-clock reports from Jacksonville, Fla., in Super Blog II. Check back throughout the day for updates. Here are all his entries from Day 5:

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7

  • Did you miss Media Day? What's wrong with you?

    Posted, Friday, Feb. 4, 2005 -- 8:25 p.m.

    Here was my last-ditch attempt to check out the NFL Experience: It took me 20 minutes on I-95, followed by bumper-to-bumper traffic coming off the exit. The surrounding parking lots were full. And I would have had to wait for about 45 minutes to reach the main parking lot -- where I would have spent like $35 for parking -- had I wanted to continue my journey. So rolled the dice and tried a side street, hoping to catch an empty lot somewhere. Bad idea. Three right turns later, I was right back where I started, only I was further back in line. Finally I gave up and came back to my hotel, where I've been slowly killing everyone else on my floor, then stockpiling the bodies in my bathroom. By the time they start to stink, I'll be long gone.

    Anyway, that got me thinking how they could salvage Super Bowl Week in Jacksonville: Make a "Grand Theft Auto: Jacksonville" video game about it. One mission would be to find a taxi cab downtown when there's only one for every 1,000 visitors. Another would be to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Or you could try to find a destination downtown with 80 of the 90 streets closed down. And that would be the whole game -- just these mundane missions that slowly make you lose the will to live.

    (Would you buy "Grand Theft Auto: Jacksonville"? Of course you wouldn't. So try to imagine how I'm feeling trying to come up with stuff for this Super Bowl Blog.)

    Anyway, I was complaining to Philbrick (my editor) about this stuff and he made a great suggestion: "Screw Jacksonville, why don't you just start writing about Sunday's game early?"

    So that's what I'm going to do. Here are thoughts on four smaller pieces of Super Bowl Week that weren't quite deserving enough of their own column:

    1. The Terrell Owens thing
    On Wednesday night, I ran into God (Owens' doctor) outside the Hilton, and God told me that T.O. has been making some serious progress over these last few days. I think that means that he's playing. But that raises a bigger question: Will he have an impact?

    Not that I needed an excuse to bring Larry Bird into this column, but the situation reminds me of the Celtics-Cavs series in 1992. Bird's back was totally shot at that point; he ended up costing Boston a pivotal Game 4, then sat out Game 5 before coming back for a do-or-die Game 6 at a chaotic Garden. The Celtics smartly stuck Bird at the top of the key, then he picked Cleveland's defense apart with his passing, as the crowd carried him to another level. By halftime, Bird had something like 11 assists, the Celts were up by 20, the Garden was swaying, and that was that. When Game 7 rolled around, the Cavs adjusted and pressured Bird every time he had the ball ... and since he was too banged up to drive past anybody, that was that. Cleveland won the series.

    Here's why I'm telling you this: If Belichick had been coaching the Cavs, he would have pressured Bird in Game 6, not Game 7. That's why I'm siding with Peter King, Bryan Cox and others on this one -- I think that's what the Patriots will do to Owens. Sure, it's easy to run around in those non-contact drills, but try pushing off a bum ankle when d-backs and linebackers are chipping you at the line. The Patriots won't let him breathe, not for a second. They know that, if he stays out there long enough, his adrenaline will take over and he could singlehandedly change the course of the game. No way they take the chance. I see him playing 10 plays, taking a hellacious amount of punishment and calling it quits.

    (With that said, I think it's admirable that he worked so hard to come back, and it's inexplicable why certain writers and talk show hosts would bash him for trying to play. Are you KIDDING me? The guy puts his career on the line for one game and it's a bad thing? How would people be reacting if Brett Favre was trying to do this? Imagine that scenario? I'm not playing the race card, just pointing out how certain football players can get away with anything, and others can't seem to get a fair shake no matter what they're doing. Although I can't stand Terrell Owens. So I guess I have no point.)

    2. The Adam Vinatieri thing
    While discussing the Steelers-Pats game with Paul Raff at Media Day, we both agreed that Vinatieri's field goal was the defining moment of that game. Nobody makes field goals over 45 in Heinz Field, but Vinatieri belted a 48-yarder right down the middle for the first score. So much for a homefield advantage; it was one of those "The champ is here!" Ali moments. And I don't think the crowd was ever quite the same that night.

    "You know who he is?" Paul said. "He's your Mo Rivera. Vinatieri is like having a closer for your kicker."

    And he's right. Vinatieri has always been the unsung hero of this Belichick-Brady run, the one Patriot who was guaranteed to be more reliable than his counterpart on the other sideline. There's no way they beat the 2002 Raiders without him. Super Bowl XXXVI probably goes into overtime without him. During the second Super Bowl run last winter, he crushed the go-ahead kick against the Titans in minus-10 weather, when the ball weighed like 200 pounds. He nailed another famous game-winner against the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. And that boot in Heinz Field was right up there with any of them -- not so much that he made it, but how it affected the rest of the game. Like Rivera in his prime, Vinatieri has reached that rare state where it's SHOCKING if he doesn't come through. Like, you almost gasp out loud.

    I also think he affects the confidence of his team in general. For instance, at the end of both Super Bowls, the Pats knew they only needed to reach the 35 and they were winning the game. Against Pittsburgh, Belichick could afford the risk of giving the Steelers good field position, because he knew Vinatieri wouldn't shank that 48 yarder. And so on. It's an attitude, a state of mind. That's what you see with the great teams, no matter what the sport. For instance, the Bulls won two championships on plays where MJ gave up the ball to someone else -- Paxson's jumper in Phoenix, and Kerr's jumper in Chicago. Was there any chance that either guy would miss those shots? Of course not. The great teams always rise to the occasion when it matters. Always. And nobody defines that quite like Vinatieri. You call him the kicker; I call him the closer.

    Either way, he's headed to the Hall of Fame some day. Just like Mariano Rivera.

    3. The happy-to-be-there thing
    When I mentioned how the Eagles seemed happy-to-be-there on Tuesday, a few readers e-mailed me asking how I could possibly tell such a thing. After all, there's no way to truly tell. It's a judgment call, a gut feeling. And the best way I can describe it is like this:

    Have you ever played pool in a bar, at one of those tables where you have to stick quarters up to play the winners? Most of the time, when a good player rules the table, they play it up too much -- exagerrated reactions if they miss a shot, chalking their stick a little too long, pretending to be upset when they don't knock anything in off the break, taking their sweet time when they know people are watching, going out of their way for the Demeaning Handshake after they win, and so on. These people can beat just about anybody. And they know it.

    But there's one guy they can't beat: The guy who doesn't say much, the guy who isn't there to show off. He just likes playing pool. When he shows up, he sticks his quarters up, stands off to the side, milks a bottle of Miller Lite and takes everything in. When it's his turn to play, there's absolutely no indication that he's any good. And then he gets to shoot ... and it's like watching Tom Cruise in "Collateral". Boom. Boom. Boom. No time wasted, no posturing, no effort at all. He's almost clinical. After that third straight shot goes in, suddenly the other guy isn't smiling anymore. He knows. It's too late. Within two minutes, they're shaking hands, and the other guy is headed back to his buddies with the Brett Favre "I just self-destructed in another big game" Face going. Meanwhile, the assassin coolly chalks his stick and waits for another victim. He's going to be there for the next three hours. And only like two people in the bar realize it yet.

    What does this have to do with Media Day? When the Pats followed a gregarious Philly team that had been soaking up the attention, they reminded me of the pool assassin -- all business, completely serious, almost bored by the whole thing, just biding their time until they could run the table.

    Maybe it didn't mean anything. Then again, maybe it did.

    4. The AFC/NFC thing
    Without tipping too much of Sunday's column, I'm always amazed when the conferences aren't the single biggest variable for anyone picking a Super Bowl winner. Think of it like a game of "Madden." If I spend four months playing at the "Madden" level, and you spend four months playing at the All-Pro level, who has a bigger advantage when we finally go head-to-head? Here's a hint: It's not you.

    Cruise through past Super Bowls and you won't find too many seasons where the Weaker Conference Team prevailed against the Stronger Conference Team. This season was more skewed than most -- week after week, AFC teams were kicking the crap out of NFC teams. Here was the NFC's final record against the AFC ...

    (Drumroll please ... )

    20-44.

    That's not a misprint.

    Twenty-four games under .500! Just for kicks, the record of the six AFC playoff teams against the NFC was 21-3, and the record of the three 9-7 teams in the AFC (Buffalo, Jacksonville and Baltimore) against the NFC was 10-2. So you had nine teams with winning records in the AFC, and they finished a combined 31-5 against the NFC. Those aren't just stats, those are cries for help. Philly didn't just play in a weaker conference, it was a significantly weaker conference.

    Compare their schedule against the Pats. Philly played one good team on the road -- Pittsburgh -- and got smoked. They beat four decent teams at home (Minnesota twice, Baltimore once, Green Bay once), and handled one good team (Atlanta) at home in the title game. And that was it. In nearly five months of football, they were only tested six times, five of those at home, and only twice by a team that could even be considered "good."

    Now look at the Pats. In 18 games, they beat one decent team (Baltimore) at home and two more (St. Louis and KC) on the road. They swept the home-and-homes with one good team (Buffalo) and one very good team (the Jets). They beat an excellent team (Indy) twice at home. They lost to the first 15-1 team in AFC history (Pittsburgh) on the road, then exacted revenge on them in the AFC Championship game. In nearly five months of football, they were tested a whopping 11 times, against some of the better teams in the league. Eight of those 11 games weren't even close. Only two of them came down to the final minute.

    Just looking at those numbers, wouldn't you conclude that the Patriots are significantly more battle-prepared for this game than the Eagles? And before you make the "It's not Philly's fault that they played in the NFC" argument, that's not the point. They DID play in the NFC. That's why the Courtney Thorne-Smith Corollary applies here. She played Alison on "Melrose Place," and once upon a time, she could actually act. When Billy was torn between Alison and Amanda in the first season, her emotional speech about how hard it is to find a connection in life had to be, hands down, the best acting moment in the history of Fox. Although that's not saying much.

    Anyway, during those first two seasons, she spent most of her time in scenes with Billy -- first her roommate, then her boyfriend, then her fiancee (until the wedding was called off because she remembered that her Dad used to molest her). Unfortunately for Courtney Thorne-Smith, Billy was played by Andrew Shue, one of the worst actors in the history of modern television, as well as a Hall of Famer on my Unintentional Comedy Scale. And she was in too many scenes with him, and her acting started to slip, and that was that. Now she rolls her eyes at Jim Belushi every Tuesday night. No actress, no matter how good, could survive that many scenes with Shue without being adversely affected. You can't bounce back.

    And I guess what I'm trying to say is this: If the Eagles were Courtney Thorne-Smith, then the NFC was Andrew Shue, and the first 20 weeks of the NFL season was like the first two seasons of "Melrose Place." In other words, the damage was done. And there's no going back.

    (By the way, Alison spent most of Season 3 in rehab. I shouldn't know these things.)

    Posted, Friday, Feb. 4, 2005 -- 3:12 p.m.

    Most common e-mail this morning: Stop complaining about Jacksonville and go write about what's happening at the Super Bowl, like you did in Houston last year.

    You know what? I would love to do that. I would love to pass along celebrity sightings, tell you about the NFL Experience, hang out in hotel bars until 4 a.m., all that stuff. But you can't get around in this city. You just can't.

    Last night, I wanted to check out the "Madden Bowl 2005," EA Sports' annual Super Bowl party, the one where NFL players play each other in "Madden." Unfortunately, there was a massive accident on the highway Thursday night, with no sign that the traffic would improve ... so when I had to make a decision on going, I was banking on a two-hour cab ride to get downtown, with no guarantee that I had a ride back at the end of the night (you know, the cab shortage thing). What would you have done? I ended up skipping the event and headed to Dave & Buster's for dinner, along with three friends that were staying at a Best Western right down the street from me (or as they call it, "The Worst Western"). We ended up playing video games until 10:00 p.m., then I headed back to my room and watched Cavs-Heat and Spurs-Lakers on TNT. The end.

    On the bright side, the sun finally came out today -- yee-hah!!!!!!!!! -- and I have access to an actual car with four wheels, thanks to my friend Lewis. So something might actually happen to me today. Keep your fingers crossed.

    In the mean time, here's Part Two of the "Emergency Filler Column That I Never Thought I would Actually Have To Run Before the Weekend," the game where I try to remember what happened in every Super Bowl. In Part One, I did a little better than I thought -- only mixed up two of the games (Super Bowls 17 and 18) and came pretty close on most of the scores. Since I'm obviously going to be more successful in Part Two, I tried to concentrate more on the personal recollections.

    Here's what transpired:

    SUPER BOWL XXI
    N.Y. Giants 42, Denver 10 (MVP: Phil Simms)

    Some good comedy on this Giants team: Parcells' goofy body, a coked-up LT, McConkey's mutant cleft in his chin, Bavaro's Tarzan routine, the disturbing resemblance between Harry Carson and Glenn Close ... the list went on and on.

    One interesting subplot from the two Giants Super Bowls, which I was arguing about earlier this week with Peter King: Does Belichick's emergence as the most dominant coach in football taint Parcells' accomplishments at all? Back in the day, we thought Parcells was the genius, and that still might be the case, to some degree. But he also had a younger assistant who turned out to be the defining coach of his generation, someone who clearly had an impact on Super Bowls XXI and XXV. To borrow a Hollywood comparison, it would be like Coppola making Godfather 1 and 2 with Scorcese as the assistant director, then never approaching either of those films again once Scorcese started directing his own movies. Would you think less of Coppola? Maybe.

    Anyway, Peter is a Parcells guy -- he thinks Belichick signifies that Parcells was smart enough to surround himself with talented people, and that it shouldn't put an unfair asterisk on Parcells' career. I couldn't agree more -- for just about any leader, surrounding yourself with the right people is 80 percent of the battle. At the same time, Belichick has had such an impact with the Patriots, and Parcells has done just poorly enough with the Cowboys -- his first coaching stint without Belichick, by the way -- that it makes me wonder a little. Interesting debate.

    Correct answer: N.Y. Giants 39, Denver 20 (MVP: Phil Simms)

    SUPER BOWL XXII
    Washington 45, Denver 17 (MVP: Doug Williams)

    Two things I remember:

    1. "How does it feel to be a black quarterback, Doug?"

    2. Timmy Smith moving into the Buddy Biancalana Pantheon of "Guys who came out of nowhere for a team that won the title."

    Correct answer; Washington 42, Denver 10 (MVP: Doug Williams)

    SUPER BOWL XXIII
    San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16 (MVP: Joe Montana)

    Did both of these SF-Cincy games end up 20-16? I can't remember. This was the one with Montana-to-Taylor, and thank God, because nobody would be more insufferable than Boomer Esiason with a Super Bowl ring. By the way, this was the last Super Bowl that I didn't gamble on. Do you ever feel cheated that there were so many games to gamble on when you were growing up, only you didn't know about gambling yet?

    (Umm ... me neither.)

    Correct answer: San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16 (MVP: Jerry Rice)

    SUPER BOWL XXIV
    San Francisco 230, Denver 13 (MVP: Rice)

    Yep, I lost my Super Bowl cherry with San Fran and the over. Ka-ching, ka-ching. A career of degenerate gambling was born. We forget this now, but this was the Super Bowl when Montana moved into Bird-Magic-MJ territory, which was the only time that happened for an NFL player in my lifetime. Then he struggled (just a little) in Kansas City and lost a little of his luster, which was compounded by Steve Young succeeding as his replacement. Now he gets lumped in with Marino and Elway in the "Great Q's of the past 30 years" discussion. Doesn't seem fair. Back in the day, it wasn't an argument.

    Correct answer: San Francisco 55, Denver 10 (MVP: Montana)

    SUPER BOWL XXV
    N.Y. Giants 17, Buffalo 16 (MVP: Jeff Hostetler)

    My favorite non-Patriots Super Bowl game: Tons of emotion with the Star-Spangled Banner (because of the Kuwait invasion), remarkable game plan from Parcells and Belichick, incredible drama, heart-wrenching ending. Also, I was a junior in college and we threw a keg party for this game. And I hit with the Giants. Good times all around, although it wasn't nearly as fun as our Royal Rumble party two weeks before.

    (Bonus points here because this game led to a plot of "Buffalo 66," which did well enough for Vincent Gallo that he was able to make "Brown Bunny," which had the famous Chloe Sevigny scene that caused Roger Ebert to bash the movie, followed by Gallo saying that he hoped Ebert would get cancer, and then Ebert actually getting cancer, not to mention Sevigny getting pretty much blackballed in Hollywood for her "performance" in this movie, to the point that even Us Weekly's "Fashion Police" avoids running photos of her. Just an amazing domino effect.)

    Correct answer: N.Y. Giants 20, Buffalo 19 (MVP: Ottis Anderson)

    SUPER BOWL XXVI
    Washington 45, Buffalo 17 (MVP: Mark Rypien)

    This was the crazy Mark Rypien season -- for four months, he could throw the deep ball like nobody's business. The following season, he went right back to sucking again. And nobody ever really questioned it. See, these are the events that deserve "SportsCentury and Beyond" episodes.

    Correct answer: Washington 37, Buffalo 24 (MVP: Mark Rypien)

    SUPER BOWL XXVII
    Dallas 48, Buffalo 21 (MVP: Troy Aikman)

    Now I'm getting confused. Was this the Leon Lett game, or was that the following season? And wasn't this game close for a half? Those last three Bills losses blend into one horrific mess. I never thought Jim Kelly got enough credit for those defeats, either -- he was my favorite big-name QB to bet against in the '90s, like a poor man's version of Peyton Manning (great stats, shaky in big games). One more thing: Remember all the dormant Cowboys fans creeping out of the woodwork this season? Where were they for 10 years? Say what you want about Yankee fans, but at least they don't go into hiding like he Unabomber.

    Correct answer: Dallas 52, Buffalo 17 (MVP: Aikman; yes, this was the Leon Lett game)

    SUPER BOWL XXVIII
    Dallas 55, Buffalo 27 (MVP: Emmitt Smith)

    That's an outright guess. Eleven years ago and I can't even remember what happened. The lesson, as always: Don't smoke marijuana.

    Correct answer: Dallas 30, Buffalo 13 (MVP: Emmitt Smith)

    SUPER BOWL XXIX
    San Francisco 49, San Diego 26 (MVP: Steve Young)

    I don't think I have ever felt more confident about the outcome of a football game, with the possible exception of the last 15 minutes of "Varsity Blues." This was also the first time I ever made the "Face" joke -- for the Stan Humphries Face during this game. You knew it was over from the moment they showed him -- it looked like he was trying to swallow his own tongue. And maybe he was. Will you ever forget the Stan Humphries Face?

    (Great year for Greenwich's own Steve Young, by the way, even if he pulled a Deborah Norville on Montana. The Football Gods responded by inflicting at least 20 concussions on him.)

    Correct answer: San Francisco 49, San Diego 26 (MVP: Young)

    SUPER BOWL XXX
    Dallas 24, Pittsburgh 14 (MVP: Larry Brown)

    Strangely dissatisfying game. There hasn't been nearly enough made about the fact that Barry Switzer coached a Super Bowl champion -- I wouldn't have allowed that guy to pick my three offensive audibles in a game of "Madden." Just goes to show you how great that Dallas nucleus was. And yes, I distinctly remember losing money on the Steelers, then creating my "Never bet on a bad QB in a big game" rule for the eventual Playoff Manifesto (thank you, Neil O'Donnell!).

    (Bonus points here because this Steelers' Super Bowl run eventually led to O'Donnell getting signed by the Jets and his "I was brought here to win games" speech to the New York press, which remains the Funny Press Conference by which all other Funny Press Conferences should be measured. I was brought here to win games ... I'm a winnah ... Mr. Hess is a winnah ... )

    Correct answer: Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 17 (MVP: Brown)

    SUPER BOWL XXXI
    Green Bay 34, New England 24 (MVP: Brett Favre)

    This should have been Denver's spot, but Brunell went into Mile High and pulled a Buster Douglas. Suddenly the upstart Pats were playing Favre and Reggie in the Super Bowl, which screwed everything up -- they should have peaked the following season, which was their most loaded team. Instead, Parcells and Kraft had a falling out, Parcells tried to sabotage the game by leaking that he was leaving during Super Bowl Week, Pete Carroll was lurking, and that budding Bledsoe-Martin dynasty never ended up happening. My head is still spinning. But you forget, they had the Pack on the ropes in that game -- remember Reggie White huffing and puffing on the sidelines?

    (Note: I watched this game at Brother Frank's house with the J-Bug ... I can still see that kickoff to Howard hanging in the air as we said, "Wait, they didn't just kick that down the middle of the field, did they?" Some things you just don't forget. Eight years later, I was introduced to Howard in Houston during Super Bowl Week, and that was the first thing I said to him, and he replied with something like, "Every time I met a New England fan, that's the first thing they mention." I wonder why.)

    Correct answer: Green Bay 35, New England 24 (MVP: Desmond Howard)

    SUPER BOWL XXXII
    Denver 34, Green Bay 31 (MVP: John Elway)

    When you consider how exciting the entire game was, as well as the sheer star power involved, the dramatic ending, Elway getting over the hump, and Pat Bowlen accepting the trophy to go along with his trophy wife, this probably gets my vote for "Best Non-Patriots Super Bowl Ever." This one delivered the goods from start to finish. Of course, somehow I can't remember the final score or the MVP. Great Broncos team, by the way. If they had taken care of business against the Jags in '96, they would have won three straight. They were LOADED.

    Correct answer: Denver 31, Green Bay 24 (MVP: Terrell Davis)

    SUPER BOWL XXXIII
    Denver 38, Atlanta 17 (MVP: Davis)

    Remember when we thought Mike Shanahan was a genius? Seems like a million years ago. I actually kept a running diary of this game on my old Web site -- I just remember making like 380 Eugene Robinson jokes. Any time there's a distraction like that before the game, the team always ends up losing. Think about it: Robinson, Stanley Wilson, Barret Robbins, the Parcells-Kraft fallout, everyone on the Steelers remembering that Neil O'Donnell was their QB ... it never fails. We can only hope that Freddie Mitchell pops an Ecstacy tablet at a bikini contest this weekend.

    Correct answer: Denver 34, Atlanta 19 (MVP: Elway)

    SUPER BOWL XXXIV
    St. Louis 27, Tennessee 21 (MVP: Kurt Warner)

    The year when Warner sold his soul to Satan. What a goofy Super Bowl matchup this was -- remember that season? The Rams rolled through the NFC and ended up never having to play a big game outside. Meanwhile, the Titans needed the Music City Miracle game to beat the Bills, then they shocked the Colts in Indy, the day I learned a valuable gambling lesson: "It's not a good idea to wager on Peyton Manning in a big game." And we ended up with two teams that had just recently moved into their cities, which was like the ultimate insult for Eagles fans, Jets fans, Seahawks fans and everyone else. I remember wanting to hate this game because of the teams involved ... and it ended up having the most remarkable ending of any of them. Seriously, do you think we'll ever see a Super Bowl game end with someone stretching for the game-winning touchdown and missing by two feet?

    Correct answer: St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16 (MVP: Warner)

    SUPER BOWL XXXV
    Baltimore 37, N.Y. Giants 16 (MVP: Ray Lewis)

    It's pretty sad that I can't remember the final score of my greatest gambling day ever: I nailed the Ravens, the over, a parlay, even a "Who will score the first TD?" wager (the field, thanks to Brandon Stokely). This also led to one of my favorite random Super Bowl moments -- Ray Lewis winning the MVP, but Trent Dilfer getting the "I'm going to Disney World!" spot because Lewis's Q-rating was about two points above O.J. Simpson's at the time. Of course, thanks to dozens of NFL Films appearances where he was miked up, as well as his "These is my minks" episode of MTV Cribs, everyone loves him again. It's a sweet story.

    Correct answer: Baltimore 34, N.Y. Giants 7 (MVP: Lewis)

    SUPER BOWL XXXVI
    New England 20, St. Louis 17 (MVP: Tom Brady)

    One of the five greatest nights of my life. I remember celebrating on Bourbon Street and thinking, "The only way this will ever be topped is if the Red Sox win the World Series, and that's never happening, so I need to enjoy this one."

    Correct answer: New England 20, St. Louis 17 (MVP: Brady)

    SUPER BOWL XXXVII
    Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 17 (MVP: Brad Johnson)

    This one was the lost Super Bowl for me -- we were launching "Jimmy Kimmel Live" that night, so I missed out on all the Super Bowl hype and only caught bits and pieces of the game. But I do have three memories:

    1. We drove down to San Diego that weekend to promote the show and film an MTV Super Bowl Bash segment, so we ended up staying at the W Hotel, which was funny for two reasons: A) with the place jamming with celebs and groupies on Friday night, my buddy Hench logged onto the concierge's computer to make sure the pitchers on his whatifsports.com fantasy teams weren't tired; and B) at about 2:00 a.m., we saw two bodyguards holding Tara Reid up and helping her to the elevators, with her legs dangling to the ground and her feet dragging behind her. I just remember thinking, "Wow, these things actually DO happen in Hollywood."

    2. Driving back to Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, Jimmy was about six hours away from launching a live talk show in front of like five million people, with the Super Bowl as a lead-in ... and we stopped at Carl's Jr. for a hamburger. I just remember him eating that hamburger and seeming strangely calm. I would have been throwing up in the bathroom.

    3. We were watching the second half in our offices, which were right on Hollywood Boulevard ... and suddenly Coldplay started rehearshing the song "Clocks." They must have played it four times. And we had a birds-eye view of them on the stage. Every time I hear that song, I always think back to being in that office, a few hours away from launching the show, and thinking to myself, "My God, we're actually here, this thing is actually happening ..."

    Correct answer: Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21 (MVP: Dexter Jackson)

    SUPER BOWL XXXVIII
    New England 32, Carolina 29 (MVP: Brady)

    Does it make me sound greedy that I'm still secretly ticked that they didn't sack Delhomme in the end zone in the second quarter, which would have opened the floodgates and resulted in a score like "Pats 40, Panthers 10"?

    (All right, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that out loud.)

    Correct answer: New England 32, Carolina 29 (MVP: Brady)

    SUPER BOWL XXXIX
    New England 23, Philadelphia 13 (MVP: Corey Dillon)

    Just wanted to see how it would look in print.

    FINAL TALLY:
    Winners: 36 of 38
    Score: 10 of 38
    MVP: 24 of 38

    Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His Sports Guy's World site is updated every day Monday through Friday.