His bowl runneth over

Kevin Cowherd

January 25, 1993|By Kevin Cowherd

Football fans everywhere are busy gearing up for the Super Bowl, that annual testimonial to wretched excess which causes even billionaire Arab oil sheiks to shake their heads at the TV and yell: "Abu, quick, you gotta see this!"

First things first: You want to know about the halftime entertainment extravaganza. Fair enough.

Picture this: 2,000 Trappist monks -- onto the floor of the Rose Bowl for a flashcard show entitled "Homelessness: Legitimate Social Problem or Massive Insurance Fraud?"

Shannen Doherty of the hit Fox drama "Beverly Hills 90210" serves as narrator.

This will be followed by an intricate dance routine featuring 500 Disney characters (Mickey, Goofy, Donald Duck, Snow White, etc.) along with the Up With People troupe, the Broadway cast of "Cats" and -- you might want to sit down for this one -- the ENTIRE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF!

Then as the music builds to a crescendo, 200 members of the Church of the Holy Rapture, an obscure cult in northern Idaho, will soak themselves with Sunoco 190 and set themselves on fire as everyone links arms and sings (except the Trappist monks, who have taken a vow of silence) "It's a Small World After All."

Hot damn! Don't even think about going to the bathroom or grabbing another beer, is what I'm saying.

Unfortunately, there are some killjoys out there who persist in whining that the Super Bowl halftime show is overlong, overblown and so schmaltzy as to be virtually unwatchable.

Oh, like everything else we do in this country is understated? Like the Clinton inauguration was a model of restraint and good taste?

What the hell was that deal they threw for Clinton at the Capital Centre? Barry Manilow, Michael Bolton, Barbra Streisand singing the terminally sappy "Evergreen" . . . can it get any worse than that?

I kept waiting for the Bee Gees to jump on stage and break into "Stayin' Alive" -- at which point I fully intended to jot down a few final thoughts, stick my head in the oven and turn on the gas.

Then there was creepy Michael Jackson, who is looking more and more like a young Lena Horne, prancing about and spewing some nonsense about how Clinton could heal the world.

Then (just as I began warming up the oven again) came the grand finale, featuring Bill Clinton, VP and future showroom mannequin Al Gore and their families on stage rocking out as Fleetwood Mac sang the supremely annoying "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)."

Lordy! So let's not hear any more nonsense about the halftime show being excessive.

Besides, the Super Bowl is supposed to be excessive, especially when it comes to bad taste.

Veteran sportswriters still talk about the time quarterback Jim Plunkett, then with the Oakland Raiders, was surrounded by a mob of TV and press people at a pre-Super Bowl interview session.

Most of the questions were typically banal, ranging from the what's-it-gonna-take-to-beat-the-other-team type to the what's-your-favorite-rock-group type.

Plunkett's eyes glazed over. For several minutes, he appeared to have entered a state of hyper-sleep.

Suddenly one of the writers, glancing at his notes, shouted: "Jim, help me out here. Is it your father who's blind and your mother who's deaf, or vice versa?"

Well. This was a new low, even for the media, many of whom are thought to have tiny horns growing out of the tops of their heads.

Plunkett's head snapped around until he found the offending boob who had asked the question.

Then, slowly and carefully, as if talking to a 2-year-old, he explained the disabilities of his parents.

Let's face it, you don't find that kind of sensitivity in every profession. Although it certainly isn't confined to sportswriters.

Don't tell me Larry King wouldn't have growled: "Jim, we're almost outta time. Your mom . . . deaf or blind?"

Don't tell me Sam Donaldson wouldn't demand of one of his "PrimeTime Live" guests: "Tell us again how that giant crane toppled over on your dad and squashed him flatter than a manhole cover . . ."

As for which team will actually win this Sunday, I'm taking the points and betting the Bills.

Therefore, if I were you, I would race to the bank, clean out the savings account and throw it all on the Cowboys.

Because the last time I won a bet, Woodward and Bernstein were popping champagne and Nixon was tearfully waving from a helicopter on the south lawn of the White House.

To tell you how long ago it was, Michael Jackson actually looked human.

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