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An NU Fans Guide to Watching: Super Bowl XLIV.

Anybody remember this feature from the old site? What's that? I didn't have any readers on my old site? Oh. Well, it existed. 

From time to time, there are non-Northwestern sporting events. We all enjoy watching these. But some of the truer NU heads - you know, the ones who wouldn't shut up about how we beat MSU while watching the championship game with friends... until halftime, at which point they started talking about how we beat FSU, who beat UNC, making us transitive property national champions once removed, the ones who made Youtube highlight reels of Super Bowl 42, except the only play featured is Barry Cofield's one unassisted tackle* - might have trouble sitting through non-Wildcat sports related events.
Well, that's what I'm here for. I'll be guiding you through seminal sporting events and providing them with a purple tint. Today, Super Bowl XLIV.
* - these fans do not actually exist


At Northwestern, we don't win many championships, and the ones we do are televised on the WCLN, the Women's Collegiate Lacrosse Network, a channel I just made up because the championships we do win are never televised because they're in women's lacrosse. Therefore, we have to turn to the most watched event in American television: the Super Bowl. For those of you who only follow college football, this will be tough to understand, but the NFL has a complex system where the best teams in the league compete in a single-elimination format, of which the final two teams remaining play for a championship. Contrary to common sense, computers and sportswriters have no say in which teams are allowed to compete, as they use an arcane system of wins and losses to determine which teams are allowed in the playoff. The championship is called "The Super Bowl", and it will be played on Sunday between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. 

I'll tell you have to watch it as an NU fan, after the jump. (It's been a long time since I've said "after the jump." Feels good.)


  • First off, you're probably wondering: are there any NU players involved? Well, uh, oddly enough, yes. An NU grad will win a Super Bowl ring this year, as Indianapolis DT John Gill and New Orleans OT Zach Strief are both on their respective teams active rosters. It's the fifth consecutive year an NU grad will get a ring, as Matt Ulrich won one with Indy in 07, Barry Cofield with New York in 08, and Trei "Kiss the Rings" Essex has won two with the Steelers. 
  • So sweet! NU players win Super Bowl rings! Problem is, they generally don't earn em: only Cofield, the Giants' starting DT for the past few seasons actually played in the game - Essex was a backup lineman for both Super Bowl teams (although he started this year) and Ulrich was inactive for the Colts. Gill seems unlikely to play - he only joined the Colts' active roster in week 15 as the Colts rested all their starters for the playoffs. (I thank Gill for his performance - in week 15, my Jets ran over the Colts defense for 202 yards and won, getting one step closer to a playoff berth.) Strief is a pretty consistent rotation guy for the Saints - he started a couple games when left tackle (and puppy destroyer) Jermon Bushrod was injured, and in recent weeks he's been playing tight end for rushing sets where the Saints want to put in six o-linemen, and, as you can see in this picture, he plays on the field goal unit. However, because somebody up there doesn't want NU players to play in Super Bowls, Strief is currently doubtful for the game with a shoulder injury.
  • Okay, so you're going to watch the big game. You're having a party, wings, chips, dip, and a plentiful amount of non-alcoholic beverages. The question is: what to wear? It's a tough question. Like most NU fans, you probably bought an authentic John Gill Colts jersey and a matching Zach Strief Saints jersey back in September to fill your unimportant ex-NU lineman in the NFL closet, because it's embarrassing to wear your Ike Ndukwe Dolphins jersey out for a night on the town when everybody knows he was traded to the Chiefs. You're going to be tempted to wear one of these, but don't: to show your NU support and look stylish with a throwback, dust the mothballs off that Gill/Strief Northwestern jersey you have lying around somewhere. Or, alternately, do what Brady Quinn's sister did that one time, and cut your Gill Colts jersey and Strief Saints jersey in half and sew em up down the middle to show your divided allegiances. Everyone will get it, and people will admire your handiwork if you pull it off nicely. Surprise your significant other by sewing together the unused halfs of the jerseys next week for Valentine's day.
  • Keep your eyes on those line substitutions. If Strief or Gill does enter the game, make sure to comment on it loudly and obnoxiously. To show your fellow partygoers how important of a role Northwestern alums are playing in the game, suggest a game where players either take a shot or remove an article of clothing for every play from scrimmage one of them plays. Portly readers are advised to wear layers as to not to frighten the party guests if they go with this route. Also, if the game gets out of hand, Strief and Gill may play extended minutes as late game subs, so curtail the game early to avoid alcohol poisoning or sitting around naked for long periods of time, because the excitement and novelty kinda wear off quickly as your party will devolve into silent awkward naked football watching. 
  • Make sure to bring up that one time Northwestern played Indianapolis' quarterback, and shut him down, picking him off three times in a 48-26 romp. Neglect to mention that you're referring to backup Curtis Painter, not starter Peyton Manning, who played Northwestern and did horrific things to them.
  • Also neglect to mention that New Orleans' quarterback, Drew Brees, played Northwestern three times while he went to Purdue, and threw 14 touchdowns in those three games (do the math) setting school records for most touchdowns in a game and longest play from scrimmage. Other topics of conversation include the weather and how Drew Brees and Peyton Manning spend time in the offseason working with the Basque terrorist group ETA
  • The Super Bowl is an advertising spectacle, and because of NU's film program and smart people, a lot of these were probably made by NU grads! Remark on how much more successful these people are than you, and if the moment calls for it, weep softly to yourself, although make sure your tears don't drip into the guacamole, because everybody loves that stuff and the extra saltwater will dilute the lime flavoring. 
  • People love the Super Bowl grid game. It's easy: everybody puts in five dollars, and they get assigned a grid with numbers 0-9 for each team, and if the half-time or final score ends in those numbers, they get part of the pot. Feel free to spice the game up, Northwestern style, by reporting anybody playing this game to a CA, because it's illegal, and they deserve to go on housing probation.
  • You're probably wondering what to do if the unexpected happens, and Strief or Gill plays a pivotal role in the game, like one of them scoops up a fumble and run it into the end zone for a touchdown, or Gill deflects and picks off a pass. Unlike noted Basque terrorists Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, I don't condone violence or the murder of the innocent, but this situation calls for wild celebration, and if you end up breaking something, knocking a plate of food out of somebody's hand, or sucker punching somebody's girlfriend, people will understand. Still, avoid murder.
  • That being said, if they screw up - Strief gets called for a holding penalty after a Reggie Bush touchdown, or Gill randomly wanders onto the field and gets the Colts called for having 12 men on the field even though he wasn't supposed to play at all, ask all your party guests to leave, preferably at knifepoint.