I'm in Paris on vacation right now, and having arrived Sunday morning local time, my first order of business (even before sleeping) was to find an ex-pat bar that would be televising the game (12:30 am start time Monday morning). I found a place relatively near my hotel, called the Great Canadian Pub. The girl who answered the phone cheerily told me there would be a "30 Euro Cover, but it includes two drinks. And I had better get there early if I expected to get a seat."
Now I probably could have gone elsewhere, but I figured I would drink anyway, and two drinks would be 20 Euros anywhere here, so when 10 o'clock rolled round, I got lazy and walked over there. I got by the door guy, who was distracted, but the bartendress, who I think I spoke to on the phone, busted me, and I coughed up the Euros (30 Euros is about $40).
Of course, the bar was packed, so I had to essentially maintain a presence there so as not to lose my seat for two and a half hours until game time, and of course, during the four hour game. This might not be so bad had I not just taken an 11 hour flight that morning and not been operating on two hours' sleep.
The first drink I ordered was a Guinness, and when I was done with that (still well before game time), I realized I should get my 30 Euros worth, so I ordered their most expensive scotch (some Oban) of which they were careful to pour me exactly one ounce.
I struck up a converstation with a girl next to me at the bar - she was from Kansas, living with her fiance out here. She was waiting for two Parisian friends to arrive who wanted to experience an American sporting event, but who were "scared" to attend alone, so they were having her show it to them.
The pre-game show on the Sky Network, or whatever it's called, featured Don Johnson (of Miami Vice) and Cecil Martin, "former Eagles running back." I guess they couldn't get Jerome Bettis or Marshall Faulk, so they went with the next best guy. To his credit, Martin did look ever so slightly like "Rico Tubbs," Johnson's Miami Vice partner. I couldn't hear the volume thankfully, but it seemed heavy-handed for them to think: "Super Bowl's in Miami, Don Johnson's associated with Miami through a TV show that aired 20 years ago, let's have him do some pre-game commentary," but what the hell, it was an hour before the game, and we were overseas. You can imagine then that I found it surprising that Johnson was the in-studio commentator (along with Martin) FOR THE ENTIRE GAME. Of course, it couldn't be much worse than the Aikman-Buck team that does the Fox games every Sunday.
After two drinks, I'm fading, so I start on the coffee (4 Euros, and no free refills), though the Canadian girl behind the bar did give me one free one grudgingly. I tried to pay with my American Express card, but they didn't take that, either, and I joked that perhaps "Canadian Express would work here?" which drew a slight smile - an oasis in the desert of her derison toward me. They took my Mastercard, though.
Of course, the game started with Devin Hester making a truly electrifying kick return, and the bar, mostly partial to the Bears, erupted. Then Manning threw a pick, the teams exchanged what seemed like 10 or 12 fumbles, and Manning found Reggie Wayne wide open for a big score. Then Thomas Jones busts a huge run, and the Bears score again. I turn to the girl next to me, and her Parisian friends, and say: "Make sure you tell them this is NOT normal for an NFL game."
After the first quarter, the game was largely a dud - it basically went exactly to script - Manning plays well, the Bears get some bounces to stay in it for a while, and then Grossman destroys whatever slim hope they had. I lost a little cash on the game, but I'm mostly concerned with Pianow and Salfino being totally right about the game on my XM show, while I was mostly wrong.
It's funny though because even after the pick for the touchdown that gave the Colts a 12-point lead, the Bears still could have covered had Grossman not thrown the ball behind an open Bernard Berrian down the field. If he puts that in the right place, it's a touchdown, and the Bears are down five. Woulda, coulda, shoulda - it's not even that compelling when Grossman is the guy you're talking about. Pianowski in particular was right when he said: "You can forget about a backdoor cover with Grossman at the helm", and then he cited Grossman's playing-from-behind stats.
On the bright side, I met some ex-pat girls who want to show me around the city the next few days, so all was not lost - except that the Pub wouldn't take a credit card for less than 15 Euros, and my bill was 13, so I had to give the girl an extra 2-Euro tip. At 5 am, I honestly didn't care.
Posted by Chris Liss at 2/5/2007 3:23:00 AM