After returning the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI for a touchdown last night, the Bears were on pace to score 1,800 — that’s MDCCC — points. This would almost certainly have been some kind of record. Unfortunately they weren’t able to sustain it, and — after the teams engaged in a fun impromptu fumbling contest — the game quickly settled into traditional S.B. fare: slow-ish, mediocre, almost enough to make you lose your Taco Bell Carne Asada Steak Grilled Taquitos. During the annual Janet Jackson “Scandalize the Heartland” Halftime Challenge, a giant shadow of Prince fingered his phallic guitar while the NFL embarked on its most ambitious attempt yet to answer the age-old question: How many fireworks do you have to shoot off before anyone starts to care that you’re shooting off fireworks? (Answer: Way more than they were shooting.) In the end, the Colts walked away with a handy XXIX-XVII victory. But the real storyline, and the one that most conveniently lends itself to our frankly rampant Giants-centrism, was quarterback Peyton Manning’s long-delayed holy ascension into eternal glory.
His victory means that the infamous Manning Monkey, with its shrunken Dan Marino face and fierce Fran Tarkenton breath, has finally leaped off Peyton’s back and sunk its little razor claws into Eli. (Manning boys are born with a special fleshy monkey platform between their shoulder blades.) If you squinted ever-so slightly when Peyton hoisted the Lombardi trophy last night — or if you just looked through one of the giant blurry rain splotches on your TV screen (CBS’s massive expenditures, apparently, did not include hand towels) — it was hard not to flash forward to a hypothetical future in which the Other Manning, too, fulfills his genetic destiny. In fact, after running the numbers through a sophisticated calibration formula that factors in the brothers’ respective strengths and weaknesses, their ideal career trajectory narratives, the apparent slight lag in Eli’s development, and the acute psychic danger of consorting in any way with Jeremy Shockey, we feel ready to share the following exciting news: The Giants will win Super Bowl LI, in February 2017, by a score of 12-9. You can print the T-shirts now. And don’t worry: If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just ship them to Uganda. —Sam Anderson