Welcome to CBS Super Bowl Coverage! I’m your host, Colleen Wolf, joined by an all-star cast of football’s finest: play-by-play virtuoso Mike Tirico, all-playoff color commentator Antonio “Tony” Romo, NFL-Network’s Patrick Claybon and Aditi Kinkhabwala, Cielo the Jaguar, Honey-Bump the Bear, NFL.com’s Marc Sessler, and, in case of a number-related nerd emergency, Cynthia Frelund.
We start with Claybon bringing you updates from the Jaguars locker-room.
”It appears Aaron Rodgers will be starting today, despite his injury in the AFC championship game during a sack from former Browns nose tackle Danny Shelton, best known as the man who was regrettably drafted before all-pro nose tackle Eddie Goldman. Reportedly, the injury was due to Shelton’s effort to not fall with the full weight of his body on the quarterback. Shelton instead fell with 90 percent of the weight of his body on Rodgers’ legs, causing a tear of his left PCL, contusions to both distal femurs, and collateral damage to the bilateral lateral collateral ligaments.
According to Rodgers, he ‘owns the Bears’ and believes he could beat them ‘as long as he has one healthy finger.’ Rodgers’ confidence is a little surprising considering the humiliation he experienced in Soldier field earlier this season with the Green Bay Packers before being traded to the Jaguars for their entire offensive line.
Other Jaguars do not share the same confidence as AR. Notbably, outspoken cornerback Jalen Ramsey gave a rare compliment when asked about the Bears QB: ‘I remember some guy in an old movie once said, “I don’t believe in God, but he scares me.” Well I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me, is Mitch Trubisky.’”
Thanks Patrick. Now we take you live from the Bears locker room with Aditi Kinkhabwala.
“The Bears locker room right now looks like what you might expect from a team that just won the Super Bowl. Tarik Cohen has already started the usual post-victory dance party, and Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks are practicing their collaborative sandwich-sack celebrations.
I just caught up with Leonard Floyd and got his thoughts about facing a hobbled quarterback and an offensive line consisting primarily of retired alligator wrestlers recruited via flyers at north Florida Walmarts. Leonard told us, ‘You just have to adjust your expectations. It’s no longer about whether or not you get sacks, but about how far back you get your sacks and what percentage are you getting the strip sack.’
The only asterisk on the Bears excitement is the absence of beloved mascot Staley Da Bear for what we have been told are personal reasons. At least we have Honey-Bump in the studio to show her ursine appreciation when the Bears do get those sacks and scores we know are coming. Back to you Colleen.”
Thanks Aditi. Now there’s an interesting development in the world of sports gambling. One site, bossbets.com, has the Bears favored by less than any of the others with a money line of -425 to bet on the Bears and a spread of -10. Cynthia Frelund is going to explain to us what this means.
”Ok, so basically, everybody thinks the Bears will win, but if you want to bet on the Bears to win, it’s cheaper to do so and you will win more money betting on this site than any of the others, by a significant amount. At the same time, if you want to bet the Jaguars will win, you will win less betting here than other sites. For an example, if you wanted to win 100 dollars if the Bears win, you would have to bet 425 on the Bears at bossbets, but you’d have to bet over 500 dollars to win the same 100 dollars on any of their competitors.
What this means is that majority of bets for the Bears to win are being placed at bossbets, and the majority of bets for the Jaguars to win are being placed at their competitors. This is insane and it should never happen because it’s not in the betting sites’ best interest. If you run a site, you want to get even bets on both sides: you get a percentage of the money bet, and you make a profit no matter what happens. That’s the business model, and that’s what every site except bossbets has been trying to do. The problem is, every time their lines change, bossbets lowers their line even more in response.”
Alright. So what does this mean?
”Essentially it means that bossbets is making the biggest sports bet in history. If the Bears win, they will have to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars more than they took in, and it will almost certainly put them out of business. On the other hand, if the Jaguars win, bossbets can keep the hundreds of millions bet on the Bears and pay only the small amount of people betting Jags on their site. All of the other sites have been forced into a position where they will lose millions if the Bears lose. This is the first year that sports betting has been legal in the US for the Super Bowl, and it’s unequivocally a disaster.”
Thank you, Cynthia. I’m glad NFL employees aren’t allowed to bet because that all seems very confusing. Now back to the Bears locker room with an update from Aditi.
”So I’ve clarified with Bears head coach Matt Nagy that even though the Bears are already enjoying a dance party with their victory disco ball, they have procured a larger disco ball for a potential Super Bowl victory party. They’ve also booked several local Atlanta acts including Migos, T.I., and Ludacris. Outkast is scheduled to play as a group for the first time since 2016. Additionally, Beezo and Strap are set to perform whether the Bears win or lose, and I’m told they have also secured a performance from a surprise local act that is not to be missed.”
Wow. That sounds better than the halftime show.
”Yes it does, Colleen. Yes it does.”
As Vanessa slowly opened her eyes, the hospital lights felt painfully bright. She focused her vision on the one comfort in the center of the harsh fluorescence: a tall, wide, thick-furred, and fiercely-handsome Bear wearing...a pin-striped suit?
”Vanessa,” Staley’s voice cracked, partially from excited surprise and partially because he hadn’t spoken in hours as he’d waited for her core temperature to warm and her sedation to wear off. “You’re awake.”
”Kind of,” Vanessa replied.
”I have good news,” Staley smiled wide. “I made a deal with Antonio Taleggiotesta. You don’t have to work for the mafia anymore. You’re free.”
”This is a nice dream,” Vanessa stretched her arms up and then pulled her hospital sheets up under her chin. “Tell me more nice things.”
”It’s not a dream,” Staley said. “It’s real.” He reached his paw out and took Vanessa’s hand. It was still cold from the therapeutic hypothermia and the mascot’s warm, furry, fat-rich paws felt like touching a cloud.
”Ok fine,” Vanessa played along. “Tell me more.”
”I’m so happy to see your face,” Staley smiled wide. He couldn’t hide his feelings, but more importantly he didn’t feel like he needed to.
”That’s good,” Vanessa replied. “Continue...”
”It’s crazy,” Staley started. “I’ve only spent two evenings with you. You’re a (former) mafia capo whose committed countless crimes for the purpose of sabotaging my team. I’m missing the Super Bowl. I spent yesterday clawing clean the grout of a cheese-defiled bathroom. I haven’t eaten in three hours. But watching you smile my life feels more full than I can ever remember.”
”Okay, that’s too much,” Vanessa replied. “You wouldn’t miss the Super Bowl for me, and you don’t go 20 minutes without eating. If the dream gets too unrealistic, I’ll just wake up.”
”It’s not a dream!” Staley protested. “Look I’ll pinch you.”
Staley pinched Vanessa’s wrist between his paws.
”I barely feel that,” Vanessa was becoming even more convinced she was dreaming.
”Really?” Staley asked. “I’m pinching pretty hard.” He pressed his claw harder into wrist then immediately regretted it. Deep red blood sprayed from her punctured wrist, splattering on her sheets and clumping in his fur.
”Nurse!” Staley shrieked.
”Ok, I do feel something,” Vanessa noted calmly.
Vanessa’s nurse came into the room quickly. “You know I do have a name,” the nurse lectured Staley as blood pooled on Vanessa’s bed sheets. “It’s Tracy. It says it on my badge right here,”
”Sorry,” Staley said. “She’s bleeding. It’s my fault. My claw...”
Tracy promptly folded a gauze pad and pressed it down on Vanessa’s wrist, holding pressure and stopping the bleeding. “What the hell did you do?” Tracy asked. “You punctured an artery.”
”I was pinching her because she thought she was dreaming. Are you sure it was an artery? It’s probably just a vein, right?” Staley stammered.
”No. It’s definitely an artery,” Tracy replied. “Look...” Tracy removed the gauze and blood began to spurt out of Vaneesa’s wrist with startling velocity. “If it was a vein, it would be a slow, constant ooze and the color would be a purpler, more of a mulberry. This is much more red, like a currant—at best boysenberry—and its splattering out in out in bursts with her heartbeat. See?”
”Ok! Ok! It’s arterial. Just stop it.”
Tracy put the gauze back on the wrist and continued to hold pressure. “Calm down, big boy,” she said. “She’s young and healthy and she’s lost like 15 mils of blood. She’s fine.”
“Hut...Hut Hut...Go Hut..No Wait!” Aaron Rodgers hard count attempt led to another Jaguars off-sides penalty.
“What is wrong with you guys!” the once-great quarterback’s patience had run dry with his rag-tag crew of makeshift linemen. “I made this painfully simple for you. Don’t go on hut. Don’t go on hut hut. Don’t go on go hut. Only go if I say Pizza Hut. Y’all eat that trash, right?” Rodgers himself preferred a thin-crust brick-oven baked artisanal slice.
“...Pizza Hut!” In the fraction of a second between when the ball left the ground and the right tackle realized it was time to go, Khalil Mack was behind him. Mack’s feet drove into the earth with each thumping step, propelling him closer to serving a Chicago-style deep dish smothering to the recovering cheesehead. Rodgers slammed to the turf with the maximum allowed percentage of Mack’s wait bearing down upon is fragile form. A precious tear formed in Aaron’s right eye as he soaked in the gravity of his situation.
Tarik Cohen’s punt return served as a preview of some moves he would be introducing at the victory dance party and conveniently placed the Bears in Jaguars territory to start their first offensive drive. On the first play, Trubisky and Trey Burton ran in synchronized strides on a bootleg to the right. Trubisky drew back to toss one of his famously immaculate on-the-run touch passes into Burton’s supple welcoming paws—eeeerereeeerreeeeereeeechch. A horrifying screech pulsed through Trubisky’s head and his whole physical presence was consumed by its echos. He clutched his helmet and reeled.
By the time Trubisky could notice Myles Jack running the field with the errant pass that had escaped his distracted hand, it was too late for him to make a tackle. The Jaguars had scored.
The Bears were losing the Super Bowl.
Let’s take a look at Cielo the Jaguar enjoying a whole Tuna to celebrate the Jags’ first touchdown. She is really getting into it. It looks like this is going to take a while. We’ll check back in on her progress later.
“Okay, fine,” Vanessa conceded. “But if this isn’t a dream, why are you wearing that sexy suit?”
“This old thing?” Staley smiled. He couldn’t wait to tell Spice Adams how wrong he’d been to tease Staley about his out-dated pinstriped ensemble. “I wore it to talk to Taleggiotesta and negotiate your freedom. You like it?”
“Yes,” Vanessa said. “I like to think it’s similar to what Al Capone wore the night my grandmother gave him syphilis.” Vanessa darted Staley a flirtatious glance.
“Does it make you think about giving me syphilis,” Staley flirted back a little awkwardly.
Vanessa laughed. “I don’t know if I’m up for that. I’m still waking up from a coma.”
Staley smiled and held Vanessa’s hand warmly. “That’s very understandable.”
“Thanks,” Vanessa smiled. “The best I could do is herpes.”
“I thought you liked my sense of humor,” Vanessa grinned.
Staley did like her sense of humor. His surprise and fear broke into laughter and he fell forward laughing, his oversized furry head landing on the hospital bed next to Vanessa. Laughter relaxed into smiles and eye-gazing, which developed into a tender smooch. As the smooch continued, its tender innocence escalated into an increasingly passionate affair.
“Don’t mind me,” Tracy interjected. “I’m just standing here holding pressure on the artery your Bear boyfriend punctured with his claw to keep you alive. Please, continue your canoodling.”
“Sorry.” Staley sat back up, a little embarrassed but too love-drunk to care.
“Oh! Since this isn’t a dream, there’s something you should know. I shot a electronic device behind Trubisky’s right ear. Whenever they want, the mob can make an unbearable screeching sound in his head. They plan to use it to guarantee the Bears lose.”
The first play of the Bears’ second offensive drive led to a sack. Trubisky had tested his screeching device with an extremely convincing pump-fake. The test had worked, and the resulting paralyzing cacophony had brought Biscuit to the ground even before any defenders arrived.
On the second play, Trubisky was prepared. He looked off Tashaun Gipson, confired Jalen Ramsey had inside coverage on Taylor Gabriel, and then drilled all his will into a lightning spiral on a meticulously-timed deep out. The screech came and again debilitated the quarterback, but it was too late to stop the bolt Biscuit had shot towards his speedy receiver.
As if he had seen it all along, Jalen Ramsey jumped the route. His hands reached out a instant too late, but his position almost guaranteed any human-speed ball would have been intercepted. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, Ramsey exposed the deep field with his pick attempt, and Turbo could not be stopped once he caught the ball behind him.
Still, it was concerning how perfectly Ramsey had anticipated the play. The Bears had tied the game, but their rising star quarterback was moaning in the turf with his hands on his helmet and there was no sign the Bears would be able to mount a sustained drive.
Let’s check in with Honey-Bump the bear, who is enjoying a bucket of berries and insects to celebrate the first Bears’ score. Yum!
“Oh! I almost forgot,” Vanessa interrupted a lingering smooch as she was remembered. “The Jaguars have the Bears playbook. I copied it from Roquan Smith’s iPad and the mafia definitely got it to Marrone.”