As such, we played our final card this season. On Saturday, we went from store to store looking for Steelers gear. It was important, you see, because we had committed to the ultimate make-or-break move: watching the Super Bowl with a house full of Packers fans. It wasn't quite a double-or-nothing move on this NFL season -- no matter what happened yesterday, we can safely say Packers fans were going to remember the year more fondly than Vikings fans. It was more like the gambler who walked into the casino with $2,000 and was now down to his final $100 and wanted to make just a little of that back before he went home.
So yes, we brought a Steelers pennant and mini-football over to a house full of Packers fans. The first reason was spelled out above. Basically -- and we know this is wrong -- if we could have seen a bunch of green and yellow (copyright Lil Wayne) die-hards at least temporarily sad, we could have salvaged at least a piece of the season.
The second reason was this:
Say what you want about Packers fans, but they are serious about their gameday parties. Yesterday's host made brisket for sandwiches (complete with buns from a local bakery), green and yellow Jell-o shots (seriously), bought a keg of PBR and had so many more snacks that youngsters were making it rain with bags of chips (this really happened, too). But the centerpiece of the heart-stopping feast was the Bacon Weave (aka bacon explosion). We had a slice and a half of that monstrous masterpiece. We'd estimate our blood flow is somewhere between 65 and 80 percent this morning. But it was worth it.
So with meat-wrapped-meat on our plate and the Steelers pennant cleverly tucked inside the top edges of the keg, we set out to watch the Super Bowl. Three observations, two of which will be very unpopular:
1) The commercials were awful. Embarrassing. Creativity is dead. A PR person sent us an e-mail indicating that some group had voted on the best ones and said the Doritos commercial with the pug was No. 2. That commercial was so terrible and predictable that even a pug couldn't save it. Try again, America. Try harder.
2) The halftime show was the best it has been in years. If you don't like the Black Eyed Peas, well, whatever ... try to at least secretly like them. We won't tell the hipster police. They were entertaining and lively. They tried to ruin it with a terrible rendition of Sweet Child O' Mine, but they couldn't. We'll take that over the dusted off relics any day.
3) Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in football. Better than Peyton Manning. Better than Tom Brady. The. Best. Right now. A good scheme can shut down Brady. We're not sure what to do with Rodgers. Bring pressure and he can beat you over the top or evade and run. Hang back and he'll pick you apart. Flood the middle and he'll beat you on the edges. He throws the nicest passes into the tightest spaces without making it look dangerous. It is infuriating, but we cannot hate Aaron Rodgers. He's just that good. Already. Eight of his past 11 games have involved passer ratings above 111 (including the Super Bowl). If his receivers weren't so average, he would be even more ridiculous.
And so it goes that the best player on the field was playing for the winning team. It confirmed our fears and offered the final indignity to this season. As a Vikings fan, though, we have to remain optimistic.
When we think about how at least the Vikings have a plan going forward next season ... how they know who their franchise QB is going to be ... how they aren't getting older, but getting better ... how there weren't countless ridiculous off-field issues this year ... how the Packers aren't deep and talented and didn't win the Super Bowl despite having several key players watching from the sidelines ...
We think about all those things, and everything is OK.
After today, let us never speak of this NFL season again.