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Mister Answer Man:  XLIII Edition!

Hello again sports fans!  It’s time for another visit from Mister Answer Man.  You’ve got questions, he’s got answers.  That’s among the many, many reasons his name is Mister Answer Man!

Dear Mister Answer Man: Hi!  Longtime reader, first-time writer-inner.  A couple of weeks ago, I assumed you were kidding when you said this was the Cardinals’ year.  I thought you were just trying to demonstrate the ultimate futility of it all, the way some people insisted that the University of Utah was our true national champion in collegiate football and the way the Joker insisted that chaos and destruction is at the heart of human experience and desire.  But now I’m beginning to think you were serious.  I don’t get it.  These are the frigging Cardinals we’re talking about.  So:  why so serious?  – F. Gorshin, Gotham

Mister Answer Man replies:  Thank you for that earnest question, Mr. Gorshin.  Would you like to know how I got these scars?  It all began during Super Bowl XXXIII. . . .

Dear Mister Answer Man:  I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this self-indulgent claptrap.  Super Bowl Sunday is almost upon us, and the entire Internet community has long hailed you for picking winners based on your unerring assessments of the manliness of their uniforms.  Seriously, this is my only chance at breaking even this year.  Can you help a brother out?  – B. Madoff, Gotham

Mister Answer Man replies: Why, thank you, Ms. Madoff.  I do pride myself on my Super Bowl record, which far exceeds my record of prognostication in any other field of human endeavor.  Why, even before I hit upon my infallible jersey scheme, I had the point spread right on Patriots-Panthers, even though I had the final score at 13-10 instead of 32-29.  About the Patriots and Eagles, my prediction of a 27-21 Pats victory remains a blogosphere legend, and the following year’s Steelers by 7 prediction defied the pusillanimous Vegas oddsmakers who had the Steelers by a mere 4.  Unfortunately, I shut down my blog before I could make public my (ultimately accurate) prediction for the Colts-Bears snoozefest-in-the-rain, but the following year I managed to glom onto another blog in order to provide what remains to this day the definitive Wittgensteinian recap of the Giants’ world-historical victory over the Patriots.  My call that year?  Giants by three.  (My son, Mr. Answer Man Jr., can verify this.)

I’m sorry . . . your question was again?

Dear Mister Answer Man: Tell.  Us.  Who.  Is.  Going.  To.  Win.  You.  Insufferable.  Assho

Mister Answer Man replies: Ah, yes, yes, the “outcome” of the “contest.” Well, my dear man (sorry I didn’t have time to finish your letter!  got to take care of business, you know), the outcome is not really in doubt.  Even though the Steelers have abandoned the masculine block numbers that defined their great teams of the 1970s, they will endure this Super Bowl—nay, they will prevail!—even with their sleek, feline sans-serif numbers.  And they will do so for the same reason they prevailed over the silver-blue-metallic pajamas-wearing Seahawks three years ago: their opponents simply do not have a color scheme that can compete with them.

Dear Mister Answer Man: Are you saying that red is an insufficiently manly primary color for a championship team?  – S. Bowman, Montreal and Detroit

Mister Answer Man replies:  Why, yes I am, sir!  Look, it’s really nice that the Cardinals have put sixty years of severe and profound suckitude behind them.  It’s nice that Larry Fitzgerald gets his moment in the sun.  It’s even nice that Kurt Warner’s career has a third act.  But red?  Against black and gold?  Granted, the Cards’ new jerseys are almost hockeylike, and that gives them a certain je ne sais quoi, and their new bird logo seems acceptably angry, a marked improvement over the merely stern-looking bird logo they had from 1994-2004—go ahead, check out the difference.  See how much angrier and more aerodynamic and more black-bordered the new cardinal is?  So that’s positive.  In fact, that explains why the Cardinals will manage to score against a terrifying and voracious Pittsburgh defense.  But winning?  In red?  Who are you kidding?  Red can sometimes work in a sport like hockey, because, well, the national flag of Canadia and all that.  But in football, it just doesn’t cut it.

Dear Mister Answer Man: What in the world are you talking about?  I won a Super Bowl with a red-clad team. – H. Stram, Kansas City

Mister Answer Man replies: Yes, yes, you did, Mr. Stram.  But first, that was Super Bowl IV.  No one watched Super Bowl IV, and no one remembers it today.  Sorry about that!  You had the bad luck to play in the Super Bowl just after Namath’s Jets stunned Unitas’s Colts, and just before the Cowboys-Dolphins-Steelers-Raiders consortium took over the 1970s.  No one was paying attention—it’s kind of like pointing to the gold medal you won in the 1908 Olympics. Also, you beat the Minnesota Vikings, who (as advanced uniform science research has shown) wore the most beatable Super Bowl jerseys ever—just masculine enough to get there, but not nearly masculine enough to play competitively once they got there.  (Scientists are still debating how orange-draped Broncos managed to make it to four Super Bowls; but most researchers agree that a hypothetical Broncos-Vikings matchup in 1977 would have ended in a scoreless tie.)

And may I add, while I’ve got you here, that the Chiefs’ overall team design is an affront to all that is right and good?  Your helmet scheme is red-black-white, and your jersey is red-yellow-white.  That’s just sloppy, guys.  You look like the JV squad borrowing the varsity helmets.

Dear Mister Answer Man: Are you including the 1998 Atlanta Falcons in this analysis?  Because we wore black, and we still lost!  – D. Reeves, Undisclosed Location

Mister Answer Man replies: Yes, Mr. Reeves, those Falcons wore “black.” Yes, they were “tough” and had a “dirty bird.” Oooooh, scary!!  But you fooled no one.  In the end, you were a red-clad team pretending to wear black, and the Tough New Broncos—perhaps you’ve heard of the Broncos?—knew it.  Whereas the New Broncos were a truly dark-blue team with a very angry horsehead, having shed every last vestige of the orange-wearing saps who coughed up hairballs to the Cowboys, Giants, Redskins and 49ers.  (See also, under this heading, the San Diego Chargers, who will remain a powder-blue team for all eternity, no matter how much “midnight blue” they don and no matter how “fierce” and “angry” their “bolt” becomes.)

Dear Mister Answer Man: Aren’t you forgetting someone?  – B. Walsh, G. Seifert, J. Montana, S. Young, San Francisco

Mister Answer Man replies: No, I don’t think so.  If you’re asking whether I’m forgetting a dynasty that defeated (1) a team with stripy orange “tiger” helmets, (2) a team wearing aquamarine and orange, (3) see (1), (4) a team wearing orange (55-10!), and (5) a powder-blue team pretending to be a midnight-blue scary-lightning team, no, no I’m not.  Now, I don’t mean to belittle your epoch-defining victories in the NFC playoffs throughout the 90s, in which you handily defeated more mightily-attired teams with your “West Coast offense” and your frosty champagne helmets.  But seriously, your Super Bowl opponents might as well have been wearing bathrobes.  And in Super Bowl XXIV, they basically were.

Besides, can we take a moment to stop and reflect on how strange and wonderful it was to have an NFL powerhouse in San Francisco for fifteen years? You guys were the exception that broke every rule about America and football and football in America. When Dwight Clark leapt 35 feet in the air to make that decisive end-zone catch in the NFC championship game against Dallas, Good defeated Evil; bicycles defeated SUVs; Lawrence Ferlinghetti defeated George Bush; and Harvey Milk defeated J. R. Ewing.  Take pride—yes, pride!—in your anomalous status, O Red-Sporting Five-Time Champions of the Left Coast.  And join with me in acknowledging that the Cardinals are not the 49ers, and that in this Super Bowl we’re looking at a 24-13 Steelers win.  Yes, that will leave the hardscrabble black-and-gold-wearing denizens of the Iron City with one more Super Bowl than the stylish beaujolais-and-prosecco-wearing partisans of the City by the Bay.  But at least there will be no Cowboys involved!

Posted by on 01/28 at 06:32 AM
  1. Brilliant post.  I wonder what Tiger Woods would say.

    Posted by The Constructivist  on  01/28  at  09:42 AM
  2. I live in Pittsburgh, yet when I look out my window I see cardinals. Cardinals on the icy feeder, alas. What portent be this?

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  10:26 AM
  3. When Dwight Clark leapt 35 feet in the air to make that decisive end-zone catch in the 1981 NFC championship game against Dallas, ... Harvey Milk defeated J. R. Ewing

    Truer than you know, Mr. Answer Man.

    Posted by Nell  on  01/28  at  10:44 AM
  4. So “red” is not a manly championship-winning color, but “burgundy” can win three Super Bowls? (With three good but not great quarterbacks, thank you very much.) Plz2explain.

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  12:02 PM
  5. So “red” is not a manly championship-winning color, but “burgundy” can win three Super Bowls?

    That’s exactly right, Mr. Gibbs.  It all depends on the redness of the red:  flat red falls flat, but deep, blood-red-approaching-to-maroon works fine.

    Of course, it helps if you’re (a) planning on winning a discount Super Bowl in a strike year or (b) playing the Buffalo Bills.  When you go up against silver and black pirates with an eyepatch, on the other hand, things can get ugly.  38-9 ugly.

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  12:28 PM
  6. You’re full of shite, Berübe. There is scientific evidence that red uniforms intimidate opponents and produce victories.

    captcha: blood. See what I’m saying?

    Posted by Orange  on  01/28  at  12:38 PM
  7. You’re trying to tell me they play football in England?  And you call that “scientific evidence”?

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  01:03 PM
  8. You know, I never noticed that about the Pittsburgh eleven’s new sleek, feline sans-serif numbers (but I wish you would call them “numerals,” on account of how I was brought up).  Good catch!  I did, however, note the change in the redbird’s mood the other day, when I saw his giant disembodied head in the middle of the field.  He looks downright pissed!  “Hand over that birdseed now and nobody gets hurt” pissed.

    So, 38-9?  I dunno, I think that wide receiver guy might do better than you think.

    capcha: “hope”.  Heck with that, my team blew this year (perhaps for the reasons you cite, I know not).  Or perhaps it is the oncoming baseball season to which Mr. capcha refers.  Yes, we will need some hope this year, what with that ridiculous Yankee staff.

    Posted by Dave Maier  on  01/28  at  01:08 PM
  9. No, no, 38-9 was the Los Angeles - Oakland - Davis Raiders beating the Burgundyskins in Super Bowl XVIII.  This one will be 24-13, and the team with the sans serif numerals will pretty much dominate the “hand over the birdseed” guys in everything but passing yards.

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  01:22 PM
  10. Mmm, sorry, didn’t get to the end of the post (nor do I remember S.B. XVIII).  24-13, much better.  But look out for one E. James also.  He’s got some experience in this area.

    Posted by Dave Maier  on  01/28  at  01:31 PM
  11. It’s America! Cowboys are always involved! Aren’t the Village People playing at halftime?

    Posted by George  on  01/28  at  03:08 PM
  12. George, George, it’s Springsteen this year.  I’ve never seen Bruce wear a Stetson, but it could happen!

    Posted by Linkmeister  on  01/28  at  03:32 PM
  13. I always hope for a wardrobe malfunction.  Would Boss in a Stetson qualify?

    captcha: “poor” An understatement here in Honolulu Blue and Silver country.

    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  01/28  at  06:40 PM
  14. Oh sure, the Steelers are manly and all that, but does Roethlisberger (sp?) have that weird light like Kurt Warner does? Huh? Huh?  And it ain’t Jebus, either, no matter what Kurt thinks.

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  10:15 PM
  15. I’m wondering which team will have the most players involved in mischief at one of the 40+ strip clubs in and around this years venue. The “over/under” clearly has even more significance than usual.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  12:36 AM
  16. (See also, under this heading, the San Diego Chargers, who will remain a powder-blue team for all eternity, no matter how much “midnight blue” they don and no matter how “fierce” and “angry” their “bolt” becomes.)

    Oh Mister Answer Man, you have solved yet another riddle that has bedeviled me for so many years.  I did not realize that the powder-blue would cause long term decay and destruction to my once mighty Bruins of UCLA.  I thought the disaster was triggered by the Gershwin fight song, not the powder-blue and “champagne” gold.  After winning more than 100 NCAA championships the bruin is nothing but a blue-shirted teddy bear.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  12:45 AM
  17. i have a question, mr. answer man.  how come it was f. gorshin and not c. romero asking about h. ledger’s joker?

    or at least j. nicholson?

    Posted by skippy  on  01/29  at  12:47 AM
  18. Yes, riddle me that, skippy!

    And spyder, I can’t say why this is, but the color-scheme thing doesn’t always work on the college level, as certain Tar Heels fans (and certain Tar Heels!) keep reminding me.  All I can say is that on the professional end, the only powder-blue team ever to win a championship was the 1985 Kansas City Royals, and even they needed a powerful assist from a very confused first-base umpire in game six.  (You know, not understanding that when the ball gets there first the runner is out.)

    Posted by Michael  on  01/29  at  01:36 AM
  19. Will John Elway manage to bring pro ball to El Lay, or, perhaps, instead use his connections with the GOP and military brass, and command an Amerikan Sturmabteilung, led by embittered old teutonic stars of the gridiron--Putsch-ball!  Jawohl

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  01/29  at  08:06 AM
  20. Dave Barry must be rolling over in his grave.

    Posted by norbizness  on  01/29  at  10:52 AM
  21. And didn’t those powder blue “Royals” (perhaps you will do a study on wimpy names as well) beat another “Cardinals”? Portent, anyone?

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  12:42 PM
  22. Uniform colors as determinant in sports championships ... This is really about the tungsten isn’t it?

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  02:04 PM
  23. Yeesh.  I leave the country and things get all weird.  Who’s this “John Elway”?  Who’s this “Dave Barry”?  And what’s with the obscure Gilda references?

    Yesterday, after US Air called to tell me my flight was cancelled (I eventually got to Toronto just before midnight), I saw a cardinal just outside my window.  I am not making this up.  Sent, no doubt, by JP @ 2.

    Portents everywhere.

    Posted by Michael  on  01/29  at  04:21 PM
  24. The Cardinals will lose, but not for any of the obvious shirt-color, numeral-font reasons outlined above. They will lose because the spending bill passed by the House did not contain enough tax cuts.
    Only tax cuts can help the Cardinals at this point.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  04:41 PM
  25. As Mister Answer Man is well aware, it’s been all about the Stillers since, like, Week 8. I like 24-13 just fine. Chllin’ the Ir’n City a’ready.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  04:54 PM
  26. I was the shadow of the card’nal slain
    By the black and gold in Raymond James;

    A really, really HUMONGOUS tent. (And leads me to wonder which team has the best “false azure” going?)

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  07:13 PM
  27. Pshaw.  Nabokov may have known butterflies, but he didn’t know squat about football, American or otherwise.  Now Eliot, pre-Anglophile conversion, from St. Louis no less, knew his way around a gridiron.  Take a look at these lines from an early draft of Prufrock, which he was calling “The Love Song of K. Moore Whisenhunt”:

    In Cover-2, the safeties come and go
    Watching Warner to Fitzgerald throw.

    Posted by Gary  on  01/29  at  07:50 PM
  28. Forgot my prediction.  Cardinals, 31-27.

    Posted by Gary  on  01/29  at  07:51 PM
  29. Cards 21 Steelers 17

    captcha “really” yes really.


    Posted by  on  01/29  at  09:58 PM
  30. i just do not think i will ever understand professional football, even though i once attended a city celebration of a superbowl win sometime last century.  early 80’s-ish.  san francisco.

    for whomever mentioned teh village people, they already did their big halftime performance at the sun bowl, in el paso.  cutting into the TV time of the really important part of the program, the marching bands.  my daughter would have been the shortest and most magnificant alto sax in the orange/black band, had anyone seen anything except a quick shot of the drumline. you know what’s wrong with pro sports?  no bands.

    Posted by  on  01/30  at  12:51 AM
  31. In Cover-2, the safeties come and go
    Watching Warner to Fitzgerald throw.

    Then Larry gets destroyed by Palamalu
    His body goes to Tulsa and his brain to Honolulu

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  09:59 PM
  32. Well, when i told people about your prediction, they seriously scoffed that such would not be possible.  Here we are in the fourth quarter with 9:30 to go, and we have 20-7.  You ability to read the future is uncanny, save for how the Steelers will get two safeties???  Perhaps the prediction was point-gap??

    Posted by  on  02/01  at  10:22 PM
  33. Congratulations, Mister Answer Man!  {Whew!}

    Thanks, San-toe-nio Holmes.

    Posted by Nell  on  02/01  at  11:23 PM
  34. No one watched Super Bowl IV, and no one remembers it today.

    Oh, I beg to differ, long-suffering Vikings fan that I am.  Your uniform theory explains why the Vikings lost to the Raiders and the Steelers.  But what about the Dolphins?  Less-manly colors could hardly be imagined.

    Posted by  on  02/02  at  11:59 AM
  35. Well, as I pointed out in the 2005 edition of this routine, the Dolphins and the Ravens are the exceptions to the rule; even though Baltimore does have black helmets, their purple jerseys and tapered sans-serif numbers are very very unmanly.  It seems that teams can win the Super Bowl with such jerseys if and only if they have an inhumanly crushing defense.

    Side note:  to this day, the Ravens are the only team ever to win a Super Bowl without a quarterback.  True fact!

    Posted by  on  02/02  at  12:46 PM
  36. Side note:  to this day, the Ravens are the only team ever to win a Super Bowl without a quarterback

    Billick clearly agreed, but I still think his not sticking with Dilfer the next season was a massive error. Typical corporatist “must get better” thinking even when what you have is working. It’s all about the chemistry. They had just had one of the most entertaining Super Bowl runs ever, why not see how far the defense alone took them?

    Posted by  on  02/03  at  08:25 AM
  37. I have lots of scars especially on my legs and on my face(acne scars). I have been very self conscious and I never ever wear skirts or shorts above my knees. The scars make the skin on my leg look uneven.Do you have any home remedies which can really help?

    Posted by Pigmentation  on  08/17  at  03:02 AM





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