Super Bowl XLIV may have earned record TV ratings, but that has to be of little consolation to the more than 1,600 NFL players who learned this week that they will be without jobs until September 2010 at the earliest in just the latest sign the U.S. economy has yet to recover.
"We wish we could tell them to all to show up on Sunday and play games, but it's not something that's possible right now," said commissioner Roger Goodell. "We'll reevaluate things in the coming months and see where we are come fall. That's all we can promise right now."
Many NFL players say they saw this coming and have socked away some of their income so they can make ends while being unemployed, but other, dumber players have been caught off guard.
"No football? Not even a Pro Bowl?" said Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco. "I just bought a semi. And launched a new news network. I'm screwed."
Collegiate stars who were hoping to step right in to the NFL and earn huge salaries are also feeling the pinch and have had to resort to looking for alternate employment options. Collegiate legend Tim Tebow is reportedly even considering going over the border to play in the Canadian Football League. The Arena Football League is no longer an option, as it suspended operations in August 2009 due to bankruptcy.
Goodell hopes that's not in the future for the NFL.
"It's just our offseason," he said. "Relax. We're loaded. I'm actually erecting a Scrooge McDuck-style, gold-filled silo in my office."
Picture Not necessarily.
With a long, grueling NFL season at a close, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has decided to take a rare break from football so he can clear his mind, relax and reenergize for next season. And so he has dived into film of people relaxing.
"I'm not really a normal human being," said Manning. "I don't quite know how to relax or 'chill out' as I've heard teammates refer to it. But it's something I want to do. A goal. And I know that no one accomplishes their goals without hard work. And that's what I am prepared to do."
Since arriving back in Indianapolis late Sunday night following the Super Bowl, Manning has been breaking down tape of people enjoy many different kinds of relaxation napping, laying on the beach, reading books, hiking, getting massages, surfing.
"What I do when I watch film is I look for tendencies," said Manning. "Do people stand or sit a certain way when they relax? Is there an expression they make or thing that they say? It can be any little thing. But what I've learned from football is that the littlest things make the biggest impact."
Manning has enlisted the help of Colts receivers Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. The three of them have been showing up at the team's practice facilities at 6:00 a.m. to go through relaxation reps.
"You know what would be relaxing?" said Garcon. "Staying in bed. Why do you make us come out here?"
"We can rest when we get this relaxation RIGHT," said Manning. "Not until then. I won't stop working until I am relaxed. And I expect the same from everyone else. Do you want to have fun and be carefree or not?"
More than 106 million people watched the Saints and Colts play in Super Bowl XLIV the largest audience for a TV program in U.S. history.
Who were the people who did and did not watch the game? Here's what Nielsen tells us.
Colts backers (residents of the City of Indianapolis, including some people in surrounding Marion County)
Saints backers (residents of Earth not living in Indianapolis proper)
the few remaining living fans of The Who
former FEMA chief Michael Brown (but not until late in the game)
families of players
secret families of players
the understandably proud parents of those talking E-Trade babies
people with a mole fetish
Brett Favre (BWAAAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!)
those legitimately trying to find out who dat
non-sports fans who couldn't find the remote
WHO DIDN'T WATCH
Cooper Manning (couldn't get out of shift at Red Lobster)
Eli Manning (couldn't find his way out of ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese)
dumber Saints fans who have yet to find their way out of their paper bags
THE GODDAMN REFS HOW THE FK IS THAT NOT A HOLDING PENALTY?!?!?!
Drew Brees' son (napping)
The Who (napping)
those furiously masturbating to a tape of the Lingerie Bowl
those furiously masturbating to the Puppy Bowl
remaining living Who fans whose outdated TVs never underwent the digital conversion
sports fans who couldn't find the remote
For the first time in decades, your grandfather is fiddling around with some of his old instruments.
"I'm going to play the Super Bowl!" exclaimed your grandad, 82. "Me and Norm. You remember him from the 50th anniversary party. He had his hip replaced last year. We'd have a bigger band, but everyone else has passed."
Grandpa can play the trombone and a little bit of violin, while ol' Norm will handle vocals.
"He has a nice voice. A real nice voice. I would never tell the bugger to his face, but he does. That's the truth," said grandpa. "He sang in a barbershop quartet in Korea. He's got a voice that will make a Chinaman's eyes round."
With no other elderly bands left to perform with Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and The Who all having played halftime in recent years, grandpa is hoping the NFL will turn to him and Norm.
"Oooh, boy. Just to see the look on your grandmother's face when she looks up at the TV and sees me and Norm performing at the Super Bowl," said grandpa. "She'll say: 'That rascal! Him and Norm always up to no good!'"
The duo has yet to decide on a name yet Norm is partial to Stars And Stripes Forever but grandpa says they will be surprisingly modern.
"Things haven't passed me by just yet. We'll be a lot like Glenn Miller and his band," he said. "But we'll play some new stuff like Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis, too."
Grandpa is also looking to indulge in the life afforded a modern music star.
"I know about all the free and easy drugs. And I could use some for my blood pressure and arthritis. Drug prices are going through the roof with this Kenyan we've got as president."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly is close to announcing your grandpa and Norm as next year's Super Bowl hallftime performers, and will push them to admit David Bowie to their band.
Picture You Know How I Know You're Gay?
You didn't win the Super Bowl.
We all know the score. But who really won and lost this week?
1. Tracy Porter The Saints defensive back intercepted Brett Favre at the end of the NFC Championship Game and he intercepted Peyton Manning at the end of the Super Bowl. Why is this man intent on breaking the hearts of our nation's most revered quarterbacking heroes? And when will he complete the trifecta by spilling wine on Tom Brady's favorite Dolce & Gabbana ascot?
2. CBS cameramen Vegas set the over/under on camera shots of Archie Manning during the game at 4.5. The over/under on camera shots of Kim Kardashian was 2.5. Finally tally? One shot of Mr. Manning, zero of Kim Kardashian. It's obvious the CBS crew put money on the under. They should be prosecuted for conspiracy and sent to jail. And then the person responsible for scheduling The Who should be executed.
3. Ringo Starr You are the oldest living "rocker" who has yet to perform at the Super Bowl. Now don't go dying on us before next year's Super Bowl. (Not as though that would prevent you from outperforming The Who.)
4. Google Best ad of the Super Bowl? It's at least up there.
Can't wait to see the extended version when he Googles "cures for gonorrhea", "DNA tests for babies", "How to prove you're being cheated on", and finally: "Hit men for hire in Paris".
5. college basketball Football is over. Now the casual sports fan can start paying more attention to college hoops. Hey, is defending national champion North Carolina ranked No. 1 this year again? Really? They lost by 21? To Maryland? And they've lost to NINE other schools?! Including the College of Charleston? Okay, now you're just making stuff up.
1. my friend Kevin He doesn't follow football. He came to my Super Bowl party. I came up with the idea for a drinking game that required him to take a shot every time the name "Pierre" was mentioned during the broadcast. A few Pierre Thomas runs and Pierre Garcon catches later, he was in bad shape. He did not make it to work today.
2. old people Colts kicker Matt Stover, the oldest player to ever play in a Super Bowl at age 42, missed a crucial field goal. And then there was The Who. Yikes. If this was The Who that Horton heard, he would have dropped the clover on the ground, crushed it with his elephant weight, then eaten it, digested it, defecated it back onto the ground and then crushed it again just to make sure they never made another sound.
3. Peyton Manning It's a good thing Peyton Manning has that one Super Bowl victory or he would be looked at as perhaps the biggest choker in sports history. It's also a good thing the United State has that World War II victory or we would all be speaking German right now. And just think how much meaner it would sound if we were yelling "YOU ARE A CHOKER!" at Peyton Manning in German. "SIE SIND STEHKRAGEN!"
4. San Diego Chargers Former Chargers draft pick Eli Manning has a Super Bowl title. Former Chargers quarterback Drew Brees has a Super Bowl title. The road to the Super Bowl truly goes through San Diego.
5. non-Saints fans This looks like quite a good time. SHOW US YOUR TITleS!
Sunday nights are usually a great night for television. But last night everyone watched the Super Bowl instead. Wondering what you missed around the dial? Wonder no more.
“The Biggest Loser” on NBC– The contestant who lost the most weight earned a cash prize. The contestant who stayed the fattest earned a much larger cash prize in the form of an NFL contract to play offensive line for the Saints.
“America’s Funniest Home Videos” on ABC– This week’s episode features hilarious football bloopers and interceptions caught on home video of the Manning boys growing up.
“The Simpsons” on FOX– Not sure what the episode was about. But it had to be less disappointing than the Coca-Cola ad starring Mr. Burns that ran during the Super Bowl.
“CSI: Miami” on A&E– The Super Bowl was played in Miami. Celebrities and professional athletes have been there for two weeks. No doubt there is a lot of crime to investigate.
“Dances With Wolves” on AMC– Kevin Costner delivers the worst acting job of the night (excluding that guy who tried to play the Colts’ head coach).
“Puppy Bowl VI” on Animal Planet– This game also ended when a pure bred threw a terrible interception.
“Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself” on Comedy Central– Featuring his best wooden dummy: Eli Manning.
“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” on E!– Kim Kardashian was at the Super Bowl, but this was the show to watch if you wanted conversations even more vapid than the stuff football announcers say to each other.
poker on ESPN2– Probably with this scrolling at the bottom of the screen: “… WTF is wrong with you? … Seriously …The Super Bowl is on …”
“Big Love” on HBO– Bill holds a Super Bowl party and invites only family. More than 300 people show up, it’s raided by the Feds, a dead body is found in the punch and Margene gets pregnant. Pretty tame for a "Big Love" episode. You missed nothing.
“To Catch a Predator” on MSNBC– Umm, he’s right there. Just turn the channel to the Super Bowl. There’s Pete Townshend. Grab him.
“I Love Lucy” on Hallmark– This was scheduled for the dozen or so living viewers so old they can’t even enjoy The Who.
“Law & Order” on TNT– Of course it was.
“Titanic” on TBS– If only they had put a Colts logo on the ship, it would have been quite a metaphor.
A scientific survey conducted after Tim Tebow's anti-abortion ad aired during the Super Bowl showed that the spot was remarkably convincing to male viewers. In fact, 99-percent of males said it convinced them to never have an abortion.
"No way. That's a human life. A human life that could grow into a star quarterback," said one survey respondent. "I don't care what a doctor said or how inconvenient it might be, I would give birth to my baby. And then I would find a great woman to raise it."
Prior to the ad airing, most male viewers said they were mixed on the issue of abortion, with a majority saying "it wasn't really up to them." But by the time the 30-second spot ended, those viewpoints had drastically changed.
"I don't know. They made some good points," said a survey participant. "And since we don't really know exactly when life begins, shouldn't we err on the side of preventing abortions. Also, who wouldn't want to have a baby with Tim Tebow's mom? She was pretty hot for an older lady."
Only one male viewer who was surveyed said the ad made them support abortion.
"I'm a dude. If I had a baby in me, I would want to cut it out ASAP," he said. "That's freaky. Why would I keep it? Gross, man. I'd get rid of it before the government started doing all kinds of weird tests on me."
The survey also found that the Tebow commercial had zero impact on female viewers.