The Superman Effect: Post-Super Bowl Musings

John McManamy Health Guide
  • In my pre-Super Bowl post, I commented on the phenomenon of Zen meets mayhem. This is personified in the quarterback, who somehow must perform the equivalent of eye surgery (namely getting off a precision pass) while at least five psychopaths attempt to snap off his head like a chicken.

    By this criteria, yesterday’s Super Bowl was one for the ages. The Giants turned Patriots quarterback Tom Brady into a broken crash test dummy. They threw him around like a rag doll. They played him like a percussion instrument. They wiped their feet on his broken carcass.

    Meanwhile, Giants quarterback Eli Manning wasn’t exactly enjoying a picnic either. The Patriots spun his head around like the Exorcist. They harvested his body for organs. They installed viruses on his computer (okay, I’m making that last one up).
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    It came down to the last quarter. Somehow, Manning picked himself off the Astroturf, rebooted his brain, stitched himself together, and led his team down the field for a go-ahead touchdown.

    Then it was Brady’s turn. Slow and methodical, then a laser pass to Randy Moss in the end zone with less than three minutes on the clock. The camera caught him taking off his helmet on the way back to the sidelines. No sign of emotion, cool as a cucumber. Kane’s teacher in Kung-fu has nothing on this guy.

    Now it was Manning’s turn to answer. Okay, you know what’s coming - the greatest play in sports since the battle of Agincourt. I’ve read and listened to the commentaries. I’ve watched the replays. I reviewed them in slow-motion. I played the tapes backward. I consulted with theoretical physicists. Nothing can explain what I saw:

    One smallest theoretical unit of time, there are 67 Patriots plus the water boy plus Tom Petty and two of his Heartbreakers swarmed all over Manning. The next, he is standing alone, in a spot five yards from where he just was, throwing the football. Watching the replay, it’s as if something had been cut out and then spliced back together minus the missing segment.

    This would have been the moment the Patriots systemically ground his bones for sale on eastern markets as an aphrodisiac.

    What happened? Obviously, rational explanations fail us. When you need to explain the inexplicable, only an irrational brain will do. I’m bipolar. I carry a badge.

    You remember that scene from the first Superman movie in the seventies? The one where Superman brings Lois Lane back to life? As you may recall, Superman stopped the rotation of the earth, then spun it back to a previous point in time. Lois’ eyes popped open and I think she cracked a joke, with no one the wiser.

    Something very similar happened here. Clearly Superman was at work. Maybe it was Ironman. Clearly the time-space continuum was tampered with. I live in southern California and this morning there was snow on the ground. That’s all the proof I need.

    What happens next was equally improbable. A receiver who had been dropping balls all week in practice leapt 50 feet in the air and caught Manning’s pass with his helmet. Once again, the Superman effect. Believe me, if someone tells me something totally off the wall like the polar ice caps are starting to melt then I know I’m right.

  • Next thing the Giants are doing an end zone dance. There’s Manning heading back to the sidelines, radiating zen cool.
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    Yes, I realize. The Superman effect is real. Only it’s the quarterback who is Superman. How do these guys do it?
Published On: February 04, 2008