After watching my beloved Tennessee Titans lose to the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia wilt at the hands of Tampa Bay last weekend, I know that Super Bowl Sunday will be a thrilling matchup. And while I would do anything to get my hands on a pair of tickets, I can sit in the comfort of the Ezra Stiles common room knowing how this game is going to play out.
Before the game can start, the smoke must clear from what will be one of the worst musical ensembles ever created.
Superbowl.com, the official Web site of Super Bowl XXXVII, states, “The legendary musical Hall of Famer, Carlos Santana, who has performed for more than five decades, will get together with Grammy-nominated Best New Artist Michelle Branch and Grammy Award-winner Beyonce Knowles to stage an unforgettable show with 850 local dancers and stage crew prior to the 6 p.m. (ET) kickoff.”
Great. Nothing like kicking off a Super Bowl after listening to three artists who shouldn’t be within 30 miles of each other, let alone performing on the same stage.
When the game finally starts, Tampa will have won the coin toss and will defer to the second half. Unfortunately for the Bucs, however, Rich Gannon will find Jerry Porter in the back of the end zone for a touchdown on the Raiders’ first drive, just as they did against the Titans.
On the ensuing possession, the Bucs offense will try to establish the run with Mike Alstott and will fail miserably, relying on Brad Johnson’s arm instead. They will muster two field goals from the scrawny leg of Martin “Automatica” Gramatica, while the Raiders will find Charlie Garner on a screen pass from 37 yards out. At the end of the first quarter, Raiders 14, Bucs 6.
With the Tampa Bay defense holding strong, the only offense of the quarter will come from Keyshawn Johnson, who will catch a TD pass from Brad Johnson, and then throw a pass to Ricky Dudley in the back of the end zone on an end-around for the 2-point conversion.
The score will be knotted at 14 at the end of the second quarter.
If the pregame show weren’t enough, the halftime show will contain a match made in hell, that of Shania Twain and No Doubt. Although Shania Twain might be fun to look at, she should under no circumstances be singing with No Doubt, especially on the biggest stage of the year.
The third quarter will start with Sebastian Janikowski stuffing a halftime Big Mac down his throat, then kicking off to Aaron Stecker. Stecker will break a few tackles, and then miraculously dodge down the sideline to return the kickoff for a touchdown.
The jubilation will not last long, however, as the Raiders will put together a six-minute drive behind the legs of Charlie Garner, culminating in a Garner TD run.
The fourth quarter will be a defensive one. The Raiders will sustain a drive, but the silver and black will be heartbroken when Tampa Bay corner Ronde Barber fakes a blitz to Gannon’s blind side, then backs off the line just in time to step in front of Gannon’s pass to Rice on a slant.
Barber will take it back 75 yards for a touchdown, sealing the victory in Super Bowl XXXVII for the Bucs, 28-21.