CBS SportsLine.com national columnist Gregg Doyel blogs his impressions from the Super Bowl. Check back often for updates through the end of Sunday's game. All times ET.
9:58 p.m. -- Colts get it done
MIAMI -- Lovie Smith left in Rex Grossman too long. Rex Grossman played like Rex Grossman too long. Fumbles didn't help the Bears, either in the Colts' 29-17 victory.
|Tony Dungy receives the victor's shower. (AP)|
The Colts won this game. The Bears didn't lose it. The Bears didn't give it away. The Colts took it, claimed it, won it. Peyton Manning is the best player in football because in the biggest game of the season -- of his life -- he put in a Pro Bowl performance despite the nasty conditions.
It started raining before kickoff and steadily got worse as the game went on. And still he put up huge passing numbers.
The Bears defense was awful though. Holy cow. Whatever blame Grossman gets, the defense better get an equal amount. Terrible. Just terrible. Manning is going to get his yards, but Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes looked like Lenny Moore and Lydell Mitchell.
I know me some football. Don't kid yourself.
9:32 p.m. -- Did I tell ya?
MIAMI -- For the love of God, Lovie Smith, pull Rex Grossman.
He's bad and getting worse. The game is all but over. Yank him.
For the record, I predicted this would happen today. Said Lovie Smith would be the goat because of this very situation. I am so smart, it's sort of scary.
Plus handsome, virile and deceptively tall.
Bob Sanders by the way is the cutest little garden gnome of a safety I've ever seen. And what a pick.
9:14 p.m. -- Colts close to wrapping it up
MIAMI -- Three quarters down, and it's as simple as this:
|Is Peyton a quarter away from a Super Bowl ring? (US Presswire)|
One more field goal, and it's in the books. And this will go down as one of the more bizarre Super Bowl games ever.
• Still raining hard. The field looks great though. The turf was driven into town from the Florida panhandle, which is about 500 miles away, and installed fairly recently. Great job, turf people.
• I know. The turf people aren't reading my blog.
9 p.m. -- Peyton's fired up
MIAMI -- Peyton Manning is getting angry.
Dallas Clark dropped that pass on the possession that led to a 22-14 Colts lead, and Manning yelled at him -- twice -- "Come on, Dal!"
I think it's cute, he calls Dallas "Dal."
After handing to Dominic Rhodes on third-and-goal from midfield, and watching him get tackled short of the end zone, Manning threw a temper tantrum off-camera. He jumped up and down, stomping his feet and yelling at the sideline for making such a silly call.
And then he yelled at Dallas Clark again.
• That personal-foul facemask call on Bears safety Danieal Manning was absolutely rancid. Yes, Manning got a handful of Dominic Rhodes' facemask. Call it five yards and move on.
Remember how I said officials are people, too? They are.
The call didn't help really, since the Colts were already in field-goal range and stayed there, settling for the 3-pointer and a 22-14 lead.
8:48 p.m. -- Something to sneeze at
MIAMI -- Booger McFarland just picked a fine time to get his first sack after tripping the snot out of Rex Grossman.
|Booger McFarland sacks Rex Grossman. (AP)|
• Next play, Grossman fumbles the snap. Here we go. I'm checking the Bears sideline now to see if Brian Griese is warming up.
Nope. Not yet.
• I just caught the tail end of a stadium promo for the plays of the year. The first player I saw highlighted was Chad Johnson of the Bengals, who was questioned this week about a Miami murder. The second player was Steve Smith of the Panthers, who once punched out a teammate during a film session.
No idea what other players were highlighted. I presume they were Tank Johnson, Albert Haynesworth and Bill Romanowski.
The NFL is so much fun. To make fun of.
8:38 p.m. -- One, two, three ...
MIAMI -- In the easiest replay challenge of all time, the Colts just challenged the ruling on the field that there were more than 11 players on the field. Or was that the Bears challenging? Somebody challenged, and that's all you need to know. The officials will now spend seven minutes counting to 11.
Sorry. Officials are human too.
8:32 p.m. -- Chicago's hopes on track
MIAMI -- The first half went as well as the Bears could have reasonably hoped.
Rex Grossman only had to throw eight passes -- completing six for 32 yards and a TD -- and the Bears trail by just two, 16-14. They're in striking range.
And the rain just got harder.
If Cedric Benson can come back, the Bears might just win this thing.
Then again, that Bears defense gave up 257 yards in the first half, and the Colts are driving to start the third quarter.
Great game. Turnovers and all.
|Prince is one heck of an entertainer. (AP)|
• Still raining.
• Apparently it's going to rain all game. After seven beautiful days. South Florida, you can kiss my ---.
8 p.m. -- Nothing special about kicking team
MIAMI -- The Colts' kicking operation is lousy. So is the word "operation" to describe that thing, as if a field goal is so hi-tech or important that it deserves to be called an "operation."
|Adam Vinatieri and the Indy kicking game is stinking it up. (Getty Images)|
Adam Vinatieri just missed a gimme field goal, the kind of thing I convert all the time back in Cincinnati after a few beers. Earlier the Colts bumbled the snap-hold part of the "operation."
So they can't snap, can't hold and can't kick. That's not an operation. That's malpractice.
At halftime it's 16-14, quacks in the lead.
I'm taking a break. Please come back in the second half.
7:52 p.m. -- Preparing for Prince
MIAMI -- Oh my gosh. They're teaching the crowd how to play along with the halftime show.
The loudspeakers play, "We will, we will, rock you."
And then the crowd answers with something too fast and unintelligible to understand. After one minute of "practice," the loudspeaker voice said "good job" and proceeded with more instructions.
Clearly the voice was a tape recording. Because there was no good job. The crowd had no idea what to say or when to say it. The guy on loudspeakers sounds like the same dude who tells you not to get on the airport shuttle, because the doors are trying to close.
• From my seat, the Bears look like they're wearing ruby slippers. A Chicago player makes a play and rolls on the field, and something red and shiny bursts before my eyes. Maybe I'm tired from all these late nights on South Beach.
That was off the record by the way.
• Remember how I called ESPN's Sal Paolantonio something between "aggressive" and "felonious" as a basketball player? I think he's mad at me. I just got the evil eye and a wincing hello.
Well, if he wasn't mad then, he is now. Don't be mad, Sal. I do like you. But I like poking you, and everyone else, with a stick just a little bit more.
• Nice game. Six turnovers in the first half. If the Heat were playing downtown, I'd leave.
7:37 p.m. -- Who loves me?
MIAMI -- The stadium scoreboard just showed a tribute to former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who did great things for his league but is loathed by the media. Not by me, understand. I don't know the guy. But the media here? They hate him.
Why? Because Tagliabue is boring.
The media also hates Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin. Who are not boring.
Who does the media not hate? Me. Everyone loves me.
That's a joke, actually. I met an NFL writer this week who told me, "Dude, everybody hates you."
Tell me something I don't know.
• Super Bowl in Miami. In the rain. Great idea.
• Then again, it's raining here and Manning is getting better. His passes are crisper, his receivers are hanging onto everything, and the running backs' feet are holding in the turf.
Plus, the Bears fans have quieted down. The rain has taken the life out of them. Manning is able to make his calls at the line of scrimmage. Bears fans really aren't very smart. They spent $1,000 or more to sit here in the rain and make no noise. Brilliant.
7:24 p.m. -- I need a bucket
MIAMI -- Personal note here. The rain isn't getting in the way at this outside media box, but there's a pipe right over my head that's dripping. It's hitting me with fat drops, fat like an army of Tarantula suicide jumpers. Splat! Splat!
It's sort of gross. And wreaking havoc with my jacket.
That almost rhymed.
• I really think Deadspin readers might like me. I'm snarky like Will Leitch. Just saying. Or I can look up every last one of them and poke fun, though let's be honest: A Duke fencer? Material gets no better than that.
Until I start nosing around.
• I hope the halftime singer has been practicing in the shower.
• You know how the referees overruled themselves earlier on that Grossman pass that eventually was considered complete?
Here's my theory:
Officials huddle to kill time while an official in the press box studies the replay. The correct call is then cell-phoned or something to the guys on the field. We have instant replay more than we think. That's my theory.
7:08 p.m. -- Bench Peyton, play Sorgi
MIAMI -- All this rain and the ball gets slippery!
|Jim Sorgi (12) is ready to step in. (AP)|
You know what I liked, though? I liked how Rex Grossman dived into the pile for the loose ball on Cedric Benson's fumble, the fourth turnover of the first quarter. That's the kind of play a quarterback can get hurt on, but it showed guts and leadership ... and the kind of silly decision-making that gets Grossman-the-passer into so much trouble.
• Peyton Manning is the worst future Hall of Fame quarterback I've ever seen. Except for the TD to Wayne, he has thrown nothing but interceptions, near interceptions or dump-off passes.
Let's see what Jim Sorgi has.
• Marvin Harrison and Ben Utecht and holder Hunter Smith need to practice their catching at halftime.
6:52 p.m. -- I'm back in business
MIAMI -- Peyton Manning and his happy feet make me sick, but the guy can play football.
|Reggie Wayne dances after his TD. (AP)|
Question to the Bears: What is Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne doing alone down the field?
The Colts' snapper stinks.
And it's raining really, really hard.
• Will Leitch, you are much classier than I am. I accept.
(And it was never personal, promise.)
• Fumble? Fumble! My prediction is back in business baby.
6:34 p.m. -- It's over; My prediction stinks
MIAMI -- Devin Hester just went for a touchdown, and this game is over. Bears win. Here's why:
|Devin Hester opens with a bang. (AP)|
Which is fine with me, except my entire reputation is staked to (A) him sucking today and (B) the Bears losing big.
• Manning's first pass stunk. Brian Urlacher can jump. Almost had that thing. My prediction stinks.
• By the way. The crowd here is incredibly loud for being semi-neutral. That's not good for the Colts, who like to call their plays at the line of scrimmage. Crowd noise negates some of that Peyton Manning edge.
My prediction stinks bad.
6:25 p.m. -- It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
MIAMI -- Listen. I've heard hundreds of national anthems. This was the best.
|Billy is the Man! (AP)|
By the way, the delay between live and what you're seeing on television was 10 or 15 seconds at least. Maybe they wanted a long head's up in case Joel decided to pull a Janet Jackson and expose his ... never mind.
And then the fighter jets flew over the stadium, carving a path right over my head. I mean, right over it. It's like they were aiming for the bald spot in Section 251. Row 5. Seat 2.
Freeman's in Seat 3. Ain't that sweet?
• More fans are here for Chicago, judging from the introduction of the team captains. From a pure noise perspective, I'm saying it's 60-40, Bears fans.
• And it's raining. Sideways. Shoot me.
6:13 p.m. -- Bring it on!
MIAMI -- Awww. I think they're mad at me over at Deadspin. Go check it out. This is cross-marketing at its best.
Understand: I didn't start this little battle between me and Deadspin. I'm aware Deadspin readers have the propensity to finish it by gumming up our message boards, but in the meantime ...
Here's the background:
You know how Hate Mail is the coolest thing on the face of the earth, read by millions, loved and admired by all? Deadspin doesn't like it. Here's what they said about it a few months back, triggering a typical "fire Doyel" response from the lemmings on SportsJournalists.com:
"When you openly mock the people who read your work, it is not funny or cute or knowing: You just kind of look like a d---. And when you start researching their lives and ripping on them for perceived gain, it's just, well, mean."
I feel bad.
• So on the message boards at Deadspin, a reader who identifies himself as "MDT" tells Leitch: "Have fun, and if you see Gregg Doyel, punch him in the scrotum."
So I looked up MDT. He's Matt DeTura, a former Duke fencer. Just what I would expect from a Duke fencer: Asking someone else to punch another man below the belt.
• On those same message boards, a Deadspin reader asks Leitch to do him a favor:
"If you happen to see him, tell Pete Prisco that Arkansas Fred thinks he's a real j---off."
Whole lot of penis commentary over there at Deadspin.
6:02 p.m. -- I'd rather see Janet's, um ...
MIAMI -- This is ridiculous.
I'm watching guys on a swingset and drummers in Colts uniforms battling drummers in Bears uniforms. The biggest inflatable swimming-pool alligator in the world. Two of them actually. Actors waving huge colorful pieces of fabric.
What is this?
Whoever choreographs this stuff needs to understand something: This stuff reeks. It's embarrassing. Just wheel out Janet Jackson and let us see her boob. Pay the fine and be done with it.
Oh, and Gloria Estefan? It's over. I'd rather listen to One Shining Moment than this whole "one game, one dream, one schlock" you just sang. And One Shining Moment, even if it is on CBS, gives me the creeps.
But your outfit was lovely.
• National anthem coming. Billy Joel grumped about it this week, calling it an overrated song. He's funny, Billy Joel.
5:49 p.m. -- Taking the stage ...
MIAMI -- The players have been chased from the field so this elaborate pregame show can be set up. Inflatable palm trees 50 feet tall, a swingset and lots of children holding yellow banners.
Who's the headliner, Michael Jackson?
• Just went to the loo and passed Ron Livingston, who played one of Carrie's boyfriends -- Berger -- in Sex and the City.
That's the kind of luck I have. A regular from Sex and the City brushes past me, and it's Berger.
Picture me shaking my fist at the sky.
• Humorist Dave Barry also is here. Just saw him. You know who he looks like? NFL coach Norv Turner. And you know who Norv Turner looks like? Al Gore.
Only one of them is really good at his job.
• Gotta go. Cirque de Soleil is about to go on. This job is important, but not that important.
5:29 p.m. -- Warming up
MIAMI -- Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson has been warming up on the field for almost 30 minutes, and he has not been raided once by a SWAT team. However, I do not have a view of the Bears locker room. No telling what's going on down there.
Ricky Manning Jr. is also warming up and he just ran 40 yards down the sideline for a pass, catching it with one hand. He's very good, Ricky Manning Jr. Obviously. You think the Bears would let the thug play if he weren't great?
• More weather. It's raining again. Miami kills me. No wonder baseball is dying down here. Every day at the exact time people are debating whether to go to the game, it's raining somewhere in South Florida and looking like rain everywhere else.
|Peyton Manning 'looks like a dork.' (AP)|
Pretty inspirational, except for the part where Manning looks like a dork. Long neck, baby face, 1954 haircut. Has there ever been a bigger star with less coolness?
• Bears tight end Desmond Clark just dropped a pass in the warmups. That means something.
Quarterback Rex Grossman just threw 10 perfect passes in warmups. Means nothing.
5:13 p.m. -- Checking the radar
MIAMI -- Rex Grossman just jogged out of the locker room and onto the field. Half the fans here seem to be cheering. They're wearing Colts jerseys.
Bears fans look sick.
• Look at me. Reduced to a weatherman. But here it is, about 100 minutes before kickoff, and the skies are clearing.
|Does this Bears fan look sick? (Getty Images)|
But if the weather's nice and the Colts can throw the ball, the Bears have no chance. But you knew that.
• Oh no. They're playing that Jay-Z song that debuted on Monday Night Football earlier this season. I'm a rap fan, and enjoy some Jay-Z, but that song blows. It's just terrible. And it's piped into Dolphin Stadium like Agent Orange.
• The referees just walked onto the field. The roughly 15,000 fans inside the stadium are booing them. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is shaking every official's hand, and now has them gathered in a circle around him. If they'd turn down this Jay-Z sludge, I could hear Goodell.
Here's what I think he is saying:
Gentlemen, if you mess up my first Super Bowl I will personally send Tank Johnson to each of your houses.
• The NFL has some serious cash. This here auxiliary press box has been carved out of eight rows of seats, roughly 50 seats per row, in the lower level. Do the math. That's 400 tickets the NFL could have sold, at about $1,000 per seat. That's ...
A lot of money.
I feel honored.
Best of all, the bathroom is right behind my seat. And the media lounge -- with free water, soda, hot dogs and M&M's -- is down the hall. If I could move in here, I would.
But then I'd be stuck in Miami. I cannot stand Miami. Sorry, Chris. Corie told me you asked me to let up on Miami. Tell you what: You get rid of the panhandlers, the gangs, the humidity and Wayne Huizenga, and I'll think about it.
4:44 p.m. -- About that guest glogger ...
MIAMI -- And now, a personal aside. As opposed to the hard-core football you've been reading up to this point.
Every now and then over the past few months, honorary CBS SportsLine.com glogger Will Leitch has used his Deadspin forum to flog me. Which is fine. Deadspin makes fun of any and everything. Being in there once is a rite of passage. Being in there multiple times is sort of silly, but whatever. Will Leitch doesn't like me? Big deal.
Then along comes today. SportsLine.com has put me up against Will Leitch. So guess what I'm gonna do? Push back.
Starting now. Gently.
First of all, one of Leitch's Deadspin parrotheads needs to set their cyber-God straight. In his mealy explanation to his readers a few days ago, he apologized for going mainstream and agreeing to work today for SportsLine.com. He wrote, "... in a move we'll probably end up regretting, we have accepted an invitation to do the live blog of the game for CBS Sportsline."
First of all, it's SportsLine, not Sportsline. And SportsLine.com, technically.
Second of all, get your articles -- a, an, the -- straight. You, Mr. Leitch, are not doing "the" live blog of the game. You are doing "a" live blog of the game. And technically, you're doing a "glog."
Details matter, Bill.
3:56 p.m. -- Weather working in Bears' favor
MIAMI -- Can a brother get a mulligan on his prediction?
All week I've been Bandwagon Boy for the Colts, predicting among other things that Indianapolis will win by 70 points and that Rex Grossman will smear his pants by halftime.
I stand by the Grossman skid mark.
But about that game prediction ...
After a week of sun and atmospherical perfection, the weather at the moment is pro-Chicago, which isn't fair to the Colts or to anyone who predicted the Colts in a blowout. It's not cold -- this is South Florida, knucklehead -- but it's rainy and gloomy and basically the kind of weather a team would want if that team is hoping for a mucky, yucky game without much passing.
This being South Florida, the rain could be gone in three hours. Or three minutes. But me being the unluckiest SOB here -- reference the lost press pass -- understand that I am sitting in an auxiliary press box outside, with maybe 15 feet of cover from rain. If it starts coming down hard, or sideways, or both, I'm screwed.
I expect a monsoon.
• Security is intense. One guy patted me down with a purpose. Another guy sifted through my pockets. Another guy used a stick to poke through my computer bag. And a fourth guy gave me a quick cavity search. If I admit to enjoying the cavity search, does that make me ... never mind.
• It's 3:50 p.m. and we've got our first player on the field! He's a Colt. His name is Marvin Harrison. He's running out for passes. Must be a receiver or something.
3:26 p.m. -- Starting out with a close call
MIAMI -- So today started off badly.
Hopped onto the first Super Bowl XLI media shuttle from the Downtown Radisson, which left at 1:30 p.m. for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff. Why leave the hotel so early? Because I work that hard. And because all the free food was at the stadium.
Somewhere between the shuttle bus and my press seat, my press pass disappeared. The thing is worth probably $4,000. Gone. Me? I make a phone call and within five minutes I'm through security and at my seat. I'm that charming.
Still, I'm frazzled. Losing your press pass is no way to start your first Super Bowl. So now I'm tired. Today sucks. And then I find out I'm going to be dueling Will Leach -- Leitch? Leech? -- from something called Deadspin. All day long. And this is a guy, so I hear, who has taken some shots at me over the past six months.
So maybe today won't suck after all.
Oh, and one other thing. This is the first entry from The Official CBS SportsLine.com Super Bowl Blog. More to come. Possibly even something on the game.