On the Wrong Foot

Tampa's Super Bowl missed the mark by a long shot.

So, Ray Lewis, you've just been named Super Bowl MVP. What are you going to do next?

I'ma' go stab me somebody at Disney World.

One year ago to the weekend, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis either participated in, witnessed or (if one should choose to chuck all common sense and believe the lying thug) attempted to prevent the murder of two men outside an Atlanta nightclub. Now he's the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl. It's one of those times that a lifelong sports fan wonders whether he has been wasting his time on this stuff all these years.

Lewis and the shameful Ravens PR staff (with an assist from the equally-shameful National Football League) are attempting to sell this as a tale of redemption. They couldn't sell this crock of crap to my 14-year-old son for a dollar, even if they threw in a couple cheeseburgers and a stack of naked Britney Spears pictures.

My favorite thing of all last week was that Lewis likened himself to Jesus Christ because he had spent much of last year being persecuted. Dude, the word is prosecuted. At first, I was upset by his hubris, but then I thought about it and realized that he was right. There are several things that Ray Lewis and Jesus Christ have in common. Among them:

· Neither Lewis nor Jesus will ever earn a college degree.

· The lasting image of both will be of them in bloody clothing.

· Jesus multiplied the fishes and loaves. Ray Lewis once multiplied seven times three. And it only took him four tries.

· Judging by what we saw on Sunday and all the stuff I've read, apparently neither one of them will ever be accused of being a good dancer.

· Jesus was sold out by his homie for 30 pieces of silver. Ray Lewis sold out his homies for time served and a misdemeanor plea bargain.

TRY AS I MIGHT, I couldn't avoid watching the Super Bowl halftime show. My kids insisted. The "show" starred Aerosmith, Britney Spears and N'Sync, all doing a pretty cool version of "Walk This Way." Then the producers spoiled it by trying to appeal to the .00001 percent of Americans who actually do live a thug life and the millions of misguided middle-class youth who find that life attractive from a safe distance by bringing out the Rap Flavor of the Week, a St. Louis-based idiot named Nelly.

I find it hilarious that with all the macho posturing that rappers do, this clown doesn't know that in Mexican Spanish, "nelly" is a highly pejorative word that means, shall we say, less-than-masculine.

Nelly sucked, but the rest had enough high energy to pull it off. In fact, it was so much fun, it almost made me forget the time eight years ago that Michael Jackson did the show surrounded by thousands of small children, each a potential victim. Or date.

Hey, little boy. Have you ever seen a llama?

JENNIFER LOPEZ PERFORMED ALL over Tampa to push her new album. It's only a coincidence that she kicked record producer Sean "Puffy" Combs to the curb during that brief period of time between the completion of her album and the start of his felony trial on weapons charges. There's just no way she could be that cold and calculating. Next thing you're going to tell me is that that isn't her natural hair color.

Spike Lee was also in Tampa all week, making a documentary for HBO. Might as well, since he has apparently completely forgotten how to make a good movie.

In a related story, the Federal Trade Commission has recently announced that as a result of a class-action suit, anyone who saw Lee's Girl 6 at the theaters will be due a full refund of the ticket price and half the amount of whatever they paid at the snack bar. It's not that big a deal, really, since only a couple hundred people saw the thing and most of them are too embarrassed to come forward and admit it.

In a precedent-setting move, the FTC also ruled that if you rented it at the video store, you're on your own. You should have known better.

Sting performed at the Super Bowl pre-game show. Apparently, all that yoga stuff doesn't work for the hairline. He did have a great quote, however. He said, "Bands don't normally play at football matches in England. It gets in the way of all the fighting."

IN OTHER NFL NEWS, Rae Carruth was found guilty of conspiring with others to kill his pregnant girlfriend, of trying to kill his unborn child and participating in the fatal shooting of his girlfriend, but somehow was found not guilty of murder charges. What do they say about being tried by a panel of people not smart enough to get out of jury duty?

And former Green Bay Packer Mark Chmura, who refused to attend a White House celebration after the pack won the Super Bowl because he was sickened by President Clinton's behavior, is on trial for getting an underage girl drunk and then forcibly having sex with her. Insert your own punch line here.

IN AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE moment, all three Super Boy Bands were in Tampa last week. It was like that time in 1992 when all the hippies and New Agers gathered in Sedona to see that group, The Harmonica Virgins.

Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees, who is clearly the cutest of them all, recently had his dimples insured for $5 million, then threw in an extra $1.75 to cover his voice.

The Backstreet Boys, who hail from Tampa, sang the National Anthem before the game. The group, which has sold 55 million albums in the past three years, was offered the headlining spot at halftime, but declined. Boys member Kevin Richardson explained, "We just wanted to go in, sing the anthem, then kick back with a beer and watch the game."

This quote will undoubtedly have a devastating impact on sales as millions of teenage girls will read it and say, "Oh my God, they're the same as my dad!"

As for the game itself, it was a major Lewinsky.

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