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Whole-wheat football


Super Bowl XXXIX featured no fake mooning incidents, no Desperate Housewives and, most important, no wardrobe malfunctions. I didn't see a single gratuitous cheerleader shot. Come to think of it, I barely saw any women, which has prompted me to demand the FCC launch a full-scale investigation into whether the Fox telecast was directed by the Taliban.

            All I know is that after it was over, I had trouble remembering if I watched a football game or Little House on the Prairie. I turned off the TV and found myself saying, "Good night, John-Boy."

Super Bowl XXXIX was a laid-back affair, right down to Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb's listlessness as his team trailed New England by 10 points with a little more than five minutes left in regulation. The former Syracuse star huddled up his offense and strolled to the line with the urgency of a turtle. He wasted nearly three of the last five minutes and 40 seconds. He should have been calling plays and slinging balls within 10 seconds of any previous play that didn't stop the clock. Instead, he and the Eagles appeared to be rollin' down the street, smokin' indo, sippin' on gin and juice.

            Still, just inside two minutes to go, McNabb managed a 30-yard touchdown throw that pulled Philadelphia within three points. Unfortunately, it was too late, and the Eagles were nearly out of time because they conserved the clock the way a Hummer conserves gasoline.

            McNabb finished with 357 yards passing and three touchdown throws, which was better than I thought he'd do. Unfortunately, he threw two interceptions inside New England territory.

            It was fugly, but it wasn't such a grand performance for the Patriots either. New England QB Tom Brady fumbled at the Eagles' 13-yard line during the second quarter, keeping the game tied at seven. The officials penalized New England seven times, compared to three for Philadelphia. New England converted just 33 percent of its third-down conversions, while its defense allowed the Eagles to convert 56 percent of theirs. And PhiladelphiaoutgainedNew England in offensive yardage.

            However, New England forced four turnovers to Philadelphia's one. It surrendered just 45 rushing yards, and rushed for 112 yards. And there weren't any Patriots players leaving with cramps, as Eagles receiver Todd Pinkston and defensive end JevonKearse did. Evidently, the two key Philadelphia starters weren't properly hydrated, which amazes me because it was such a critical game. Pinkston played great in the first half, but he spent the second half plugged into an IV, never to return. Those were the differences.

            Now it's difficult to believe that New England coach Bill Belichick has more Super Bowl victories (three) than his mentor, Bill Parcells (two), who hasn't won a championship in 14 years. What's more is that Belichick is working for an owner, Robert Kraft, whom Parcells didn't want to work for when he resigned as head coach in 1996.

            In January 2000, Belichick took over for Parcells as Jets head coach, but quit one day later in one of the most bizarre coaching tenures ever in pro sports. New England hired Belichick a couple of weeks later, but not before Belichick filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL to free himself from the Jets contract. In retrospect, it's amazing that Belichick has prevailed after such off-the-script wackiness not usually seen in the NFL.

Generally, I enjoyed Super Bowl XXXIX, though it seemed to bore former president Bill Clinton. I saw Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver talk his ear off, and Clinton didn't look enthralled while propping his head up with his hand as if he were enduring a college lecture. Actually, Clinton looked downright glum, so I figured he had come for the wardrobe malfunctions, only to be severely disappointed.

            As for Paul McCartney's halftime show, it was better than I expected. McCartney finished his four-song set with "Hey Jude," but he cut the seven-minute piece down significantly. I think he had an inkling McNabb would need that extra time to call a play during the Eagles' two-minute offense.

            Well, good night, John-Boy.