This weekend is Super Bowl LIV for those of you who speak Latin numbers. For the rest of us, that number iiiiis…carry the one…aaaaand 54.
Super Bowl 54.
I prefer Super Bowl LIV because it makes me think of Liv Tyler instead of Roger Goodell, the Chairman of the National Football League, who used to be the worst person in the country before the goddamn hootenanny of racists and misogynists and general trash people crawled out of their various clan tunnels to stage a plain-sight coup and turn the country into a kleptocracy.
Man, I miss the days when Roger Goodell was the worst person in the news.
But let’s focus on Liv Tyler, Gunpowder Liv Tyler, specifically. Oh and Gunpowder co-star Kit Harrington, instead, shall we?
Who you guys got?
Oh good, that’s good. Nothing like a little friendly rivalry to sass things up a bit!
For those of you following along from outside the United States, ‘Football’ is our version of rugby, where the ultimate goal is to hit someone so hard that you kill their mama. There are also other ancillary goals to the sport, like selling cars with internal combustion engines, light beer, and insurance. The game itself is pleasant but incidental. It features some of the most gifted athletes to ever take human form and challenges them to see who can get brain damage the fastest. The spectacle is so awesome, so vast in scope, that millions of millions of people all over the world are bewitched into buying replica polyester mesh shirts for $200 each. Truly, American Football is capitalism’s greatest achievement.
This weekend, though, the game will be an unparalleled joy for all as it will not, for the first time since World War II, include the New England Patriots. Right there, add like eleventeen million satisfied viewers.
Instead, Super Bowl LIV will showcase some of the best coaching and best young talent in the National Football League.
Take last year’s MVP Patrick Mahomes: a man who has never had a MAGA hat hanging in his locker. And what about Andy Reid: a coach who has never penned a personal letter to Donald Trump saying that he’s the one to make America great again. Or you have Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, who probably didn’t get his ding dong yanked in a $30-an hour Dade County strip mall. (But I can’t confirm that.)
So right away, it’s a more wholesome game.
And the teams are fannnnnntastic. The San Francisco Forty Niners went 15-3 this season, pairing a good-not-great young quarterback in his first season of injury-free football with a swarming, insectile defense and a running game that never said die.
The key to the Niners this season has been the excellent instincts and coaching of Kyle Shanahan. He’s a true talent whom I have been lauding for many years. Coaches come and go and sometimes it’s tough to tell who the good ones are, but Shanny is the real deal. He gets it, and he puts it on the field. Not that I’d want to hang with him. He seems like the kind of guy who barks at waiters, but what do I know? Maybe he’s a peach. That said, his instincts about running backs are so good, for example, that he had four guys that no one could stop.
His third-stringer, Raheem Mostert, for example, has played so well that he put the two starters out of a job. His may be the best story of the whole NFL season. An undrafted player who was cut by six other teams before he found a home on the Forty Niners. On his best days he strides like a reborn Marcus Allen. He gets skinny through the trash and he comes out of the scrum at full throttle. It’s beautiful to watch him run. And he uses his failures as fuel: before every game he stares at the list of dates that he was cut by the six other teams to motivate him to succeed. This video does a great job of chronicling his NFL journey.
(WARNING: Skip from 3:22 to 4:27 if you’re squeamish about injuries because he has a terrible one)
The Niners are a powerhouse on both sides of the ball. So how did they build this thunderclap of a team?
Jesus, Gunpowder Liv! Language! My goodness. This is a family show.
I thought you were a Chiefs fan.
Wow. Yes, yes. I will admit, Handsome Jim is…handsome. But they have a great offensive line and a Pro Bowl tight end and they had the courage to go out at midseason and pluck star wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the AFC to give opposing teams additional coverage nightmares.
Add to that the fact that rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel looks like the second coming of Anquon Boldin and second overall draft pick Nick Bosa is already one of the most feared defensive linemen in the league and you got yourself a donnybrook.
Yes the Kansas City Chiefs are a hell of squad. Let’s talk Chiefs.
They went 14-4 this season and the only reason they lost three of those games was they had one of the actors from Cocoon playing quarterback while Patrick Mahomes healed from having his patella revolve around the back of his knee like Deimos around Mars.
I’m not kidding about Matt Moore, the backup quarterback. He’s like 76 years old and was coaching high school football when he got the call to play for the Chiefs. He actually played fantastically well, considering all that was stacked against him, but once Mahomes returned, it was win after win after win.
The Chiefs feature the best tight end in the league, a polarizing player who calls himself Zeus. You kind of either love Travis Kelce or hate him, depending on how he does for your fantasy team in any given week. I don’t adore his antics, but he good.
The Chiefs have like seventeen receivers who can run faster than a Maserati on salt flats and all Patrick Mahomes needs to do is drop back and throw the huckitup. The crimson and gold land sprites tend to do the rest. The Chiefs’ defense is a bit of a work in progress, and the running backs are solid if a bit inconsistent, but with the best young quarterback in the league and a whirling dervish named Tyreek Hill catching balls, the Chiefs can feel impossible to keep up with, offensively.
Whoa whoa whoa! Hold up here, people! There are 53 players on an NFL roster. Like any other industry, you take a random sampling of 53 people and there are bound to be a couple of bad apples here or there. The point is that these are two very, very good football teams. And do either of you have any inkling whatsoever that either of these teams cheated, stole signals, deflated balls or did anything else inside or outside the rules of the game to cause you to question their ethics?
Okay! So, see? Things are already way, way better than they used to be! Let’s just try to find some middle ground, okay? For example, would you bang or be banged by Jimmy G?
See? This is progress! Good, we’re getting somewhere. Does a happy Andy Reid bring you a shocking and profound sense of wonder?
Me too. Me too. And do you ever wish anything but great things for Niners tackle Joe Staley?
Okay, and last one: isn’t it great that Richard Sherman is back in the big game?
Really? Damn, I like Richard Sherman. Goddamn he’s polarizing. But see? You agree again! Hell, I was pretty sure it was going to be the Ravens and Seahawks in the Super Bowl this year, but this matchup is way more fun. So no matter what happens, this is going to be a game we can all enjoy, no matter who wins!
I mean, the Niners are definitely going to win, if only because Big Red learned clock management from Pee Wee Herman, and he’s basically cursed, and last I checked defense, not offense, wins championships.
Also, Andy Reid losing will really hurt the people of Philadelphia, so it will 100% happen.
And once KC is down, they’re going to panic and get one-dimensional and my boy Richard Sherman is gonna drop back with eyes as big as apple pies and he’s gonna pick off a late Mahomes prayer ball and YOU MAD BRO the everliving fuck outta this game.
Add to that the fact that the Niners are first in the NFL in first down yardage, averaging 6.7 yards on first down. That’s insane. You think the Chiefs are going to be able to slow that locomotive down? Those KC linebackers couldn’t stop a turtle on a skateboard. They won’t even make it to the lanes this beastly Niners offensive line is going to open up.
Says who? All Dustin demands is that I make fun of the Patriots. It’s in my contract. Done and done.
The Niners have much, much better lines on both sides of the ball and I’m an inside-out team building philosophy guy, so right there it’s checkmate. And even though the Chiefs ostensibly have the better offense, Kyle Shanahan is an offensive geek who has been keeping certain trick plays under lock and key and masturbating to the possibility of coaching in the big game all his life. He’s going to draw up a motherfucker and the Keystone Cops defense of the Chiefs is gong to get split like Simone Biles doing a floor routine. The Niners D basically has to force three punts and it’s over.
I think it’s going to be 31-28 Niners.
(But if the Chiefs win, it’s okay! It would be wonderful to see Andy Reid finally win. And bonus: you’ll get to come back to the comments and drag me!)
Also, remember in the old days, when you’d see the Game of Thrones cast and it would be like OH MY GOD and now when you see them it’s like you kind of wince and feel badly for them because they all look slightly ashamed and maybe a little diseased?
And all that Game of Thrones merch you bought over the years is suddenly not remotely cool at all? Like maybe you shouldn’t have sprung $24.99 for that limited edition Targaryen Tie Tack, you know? Or those one of a kind House Clegane crib bumpers? How’s that Grey Worm tattoo lookin’ these days? Or the daughter you named Khaleesi? It’s such a shame. Right?
Let’s hope this season ends better than that did, is all I’m saying.
I knew you’d understand, Gunpowder John Snow. And thanks to Gunpowder Liv Tyler for all that hot Jimmy G talk.
Enjoy the commercials, everyone. Enjoy the game, too, especially having it start FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER around 7 pm on a Sunday night when your kids should be brushing their teeth and getting ready for bed on a school night, but instead they want to stay up so that you have to use napalm and a complicated winch system to get them out of bed on Monday morning while you nurse the worst hangover of the young year.
Oh, and enjoy J Lo and Shakira at halftime. They should be fun.
I love you all.
Header Image Source: Getty Images