I write this Lesbian Week In Sports with a heavy heart. The Arizona Cardinals fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII. They beat the point spread, did far better than anyone had predicted, and nearly won. But blown calls, unbalanced penalties, and a Dwight Clark-like catch with 35 seconds left in the game swept the Super Bowl out of their hands.
We went home for the big game. Nothing beats celebrating the Super Bowl with small-town, loyal Cardinals fans, friends, and family. Lesbians, their dogs, a bbq, and an interruption of porn during the end of the game; what could be more cliché?
For the last 30-seconds of Super Bowl XLIII, Tucson, Arizona was watching hard-core porn on NBC, not their Cardinals. Comcast has apologized for the porn interruption, while parents and fans are outraged. In a highly populated gay and lesbian city, an impromptu interruption of porn would probably be considered a gift. However, on Super Bowl Sunday, when the Arizona Cardinals are playing in the big game for the first time in franchise history, the porn was unappreciated.
In Gilbert, Arizona, the scene was much different. Three couples sat around one bbq drinking Bud Light Lime, my fiance’s new favorite, watching pre-game on a spanking new 42-inch plasma with amazing surround sound and HD box with the six dogs sprinting around the backyard. Even the dogs were wearing red.
Faith Hill and Jenifer Hudson kicked off the adrenaline rush with amazing performances of America The Beautiful and the National Anthem. At the time, it sounded as true and real as an American Idol performance. Hudson took the national spotlight for the first time since her family tragedy a few months back. It was a moment that struck every American’s heartstrings, until a few days later when we all learned that they were both lip-synced. Apparently Super Bowl producers requested a pre-recorded track. “It’s the right way to do it,” they told the press.
The coin toss led to a deferment by the Cardinals and a return by the Steelers. Quarter one was stressful and embarrassing for us sitting on the edge of our seats, beer in hand and dogs at our feet. The commercials didn’t fare much better. We laughed when the ‘magic globe’ was thrown into a snack machine, and drooled when a beautiful woman lost her clothes to the crunch of Doritos, but overall weren’t impressed.
Quarter two was better. The Cardinals picked up the pace slightly, but still did not manage to find Larry Fitzgerald or Anquan Boldin enough. With only a few seconds left in the half, Kurt Warner had his team in the red-zone and close to pulling ahead in the game. He dropped back and forced it into a sea of defenders, where it was easily intercepted and returned for the longest defensive touchdown run of any Super Bowl. We sat in silenced, teeth clenched as Warner faded back. We jumped to our feet as he threw, and we yelled in lesbian fashion as a Steeler caught it. Curse words and scared dogs filled the room when he fell upon Fitzgerald into the end-zone. It was a sign of things to come.
Bruce Springsteen graced us with his half-time performance, where on an HD, 42-ince fancy television we truly saw how old he is getting. Those TV’s are amazing! Never-mind catching every single blade of grass on Raymond James field, how about catching every wrinkle and blemish on those celebrities!
Half-time also featured the infamous 3D commercials, which I refused to watch. Most of Super Bowl Sunday was spent searching for those damn 3D glasses. I had family and friends search their closest stores, looking for that Sobe Life Water stand with the 3D glasses. I had anyone and everyone ask their check-out ladies where those glasses could be found. Everyone came back to me with, “that check-out lady looked at me funny, and said she had no idea what I was talking about.” We never found those damn glasses, and thus during the Sobe commercial and Pixar’s movie preview, I refused to sit in front of the TV. I’m sure someone out there found those glasses, and was able to watch Chuck on Monday night in 3D. I was not one of the lucky ones.
Second quarter started with some confidence for the Cardinals, and for us. As empty beers continued to reach the recycling, our language and excitement continued to grow in intensity. Every catch was a cheer, every penalty was a boo. The dogs ran scared through the house at every play, escaping the deafening noise.
It was in the second half that Warner managed to find his star receivers a few more times, leading to a few more touchdowns and a game better than anyone could have imagined. However, the Super Bowl referees had a different outcome in mind. We began to expect the Cardinals would be penalized on every play, whether it was truly our fault or not. A roughing-the-passer penalty was called on the Cardinals, and missed on the Steelers only a few plays later. A facemask was called on the Cardinals, yet not called on the Steelers who returned the grab on the same play. It was fuel to our fire as we painstakingly restrained ourselves from throwing an empty beer bottle at the TV. As lesbians, however, we respected the fancy plasma and successfully kept our beers in hand. A hat was thrown at one point, bouncing off the fancy screen and landing on an innocent bystander lying on the floor below. Champ, a passive greyhound, jumped up and ran outside, annoyed that his attempted slumber was interrupted.
Quarter three was intense. My throat was dry, my voice was already nearly gone, and my fiancé was actually paying attention. There is nothing more attractive than your beloved yelling and screaming at the refs, jumping and cheering for the Cardinals, and caring about the score. When Warner found Fiztgerald in the middle of the field, and he took that opportunity to beat the secondary and score what we thought was the game winning touchdown, we ran around hugging each other like fools. I had heard that in the bars and clubs it was a moment that brought all of Arizona together. Strangers embraced strangers in an awkward moment of complete celebration.
But it had happened too soon, and with over 2-minutes left, Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers found a way to the red-zone. Santonio Holmes, who earlier had grabbed Rodgers-Cromartie’s facemask but was not called, caught the winning touchdown pass with only 35-seconds left on the clock. It was the moment that broke the hearts of every Cardinals fan. In his celebration dance, Holmes used the ball as a prop as he imitated Lebron James. It was a missed penalty that should have been called, and would have allowed the Cardinals better field position on their return. By using the ball as a prop and excessively celebrating, he was in violation of written rules. The refs ignored it.
We sat in a state of shock. It was not over, but it was not looking good. Warner was no Montana, the refs were biased, and the Steelers Second Steel Curtain was feeling confident. Kurt Warner probably said a few prayers, and definitely tried to redeem his team, but it wasn’t meant to be. The last play in the game resulted in a QB fumble, recovered by the Steelers. It was controversial, and a reviewable play that Cardinals fans will tell you was never reviewed. But it was the end, and with that we sat silently. We sat as a bunch of lesbians who had gone through a breakup. And in lesbian fashion, some stormed outside to have a cigarette, some stormed to the kitchen for a shot, and some hung their head.
So, it is with a heavy heart that I say congratulations to Pittsburgh Steelers, for their historical win over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.