Delay of Game
January 20, 2004
by Ward Lowe
I’m not sure which is more painful: watching the Panthers crush Donovan McNabb and his aching ribs or enduring the next two weeks of Super Bowl hype.
That’s right, sports fans, it’s time for the most over-hyped sporting event of the year. So much analysis and buildup surrounds Super Bowl XXXVIII that the NFL pushed it to February. I love the Super Bowl and the NFL playoffs, but two weeks? C’mon. There just isn’t enough for the media to talk about.
“Next on ‘NFL Primetime,’ Boomer and TJ provide detailed driving directions from your house to Houston’s Reliant Stadium, site of Super Bowl XXXVIII. So stick around!”
“Who’s playing quarterback?”
Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts rode into Gillette Stadium after two impressive offensive performances—and left with their tails between their legs. Manning tossed four interceptions and completed fewer than half his passes.
The pro-Patriots crowd assembled at my house loved every minute of it. Manning looked so bad that one guy who arrived late, upon watching one of New England cornerback Ty Law’s three picks, asked, “Who’s playing quarterback for Indy?”
The Patriots didn’t play their best, but—as always—they played well enough to win. Tight end Christian Fauria dropped two touchdown passes, prompting jeers and flying cashews from the throng in my living room. Quarterback Tom Brady threw his first interception at home in 300-plus pass attempts—an ugly pass in the end zone.
However, Belichick’s defense again was the story. New England held the Colts to only 14 points after Indy torched Denver and Kansas City for 79.
Carolina on my mind
The Philadelphia Eagles on offense provided little or no help to quarterback Donovan McNabb. I didn’t keep count, but the receiver corps dropped a lot of passes or allowed the Carolina defenders to strip the ball for incompletions. Even after McNabb had his ribs crushed on a borderline-legal tackle by Carolina linebacker Greg Favors, the Eagles offensive line couldn’t keep the Panthers away from their injured quarterback.
Meanwhile, Carolina smothered the Eagles with their defense, and quarterback Jake Delhomme expertly piloted his ball-control offense.
After halftime, McNabb could barely play through the pain, and the game quickly became a yawner. The Eagles were never in the game, and when McNabb finally yielded to backup Koy Detmer in the fourth, it was time to start cleaning up the living room.
Ward Lowe is a writer and editor in Austin, Texas, who believes that 2004 will be The Year for his beloved Boston Red Sox. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.