Super Bowl XL kicked off around 3:30 in Detroit. Before that, a more impressive event occurred in Walnut Creek, as Mud Bowl XI (or perhaps VIII, and possibly as much as XIII) went down at Heather Farms. The storied history of the Mud Bowl includes such memorable events as Scott Barnett's four-INT performance in 2001, Dustin catching a touchdown pass while smoking a cigarette in 2003, and the time a middle school kid begged to be let in the game, and then had his sweatshirt accidentally torn in half the first time he touched the ball. Good times.
Since my attempt to make scientific predictions of the championship games failed so miserably, I saw no reason to attempt the same for the Super Bowl. Instead, I'd like to present my comprehensive (and slightly belated) guide to this year's Mud Bowl. Remember, the game is only an exhibition, so please, no wagering.
Heather Farms has an Olympic-sized swimming pool, complete with a separate diving pool and a high dive. The park also has baseball diamonds, a duck pond, and a recreation center. For our purposes, the important thing is that they have a stretch of grass, ideally a muddy one. And that the stretch of grass is close enough that anyone injured (or embarrasingly out of shape) can make it back to the house without needing to commandeer a golf cart or improvise a stretcher.
Nicknames: "Wade", "Barney", "Michael Michael Motorcycle" (nickname retired after first grade)
Specialties: Intercepting passes, talking trash, grilling meat.
Super Bowl particpant he most resembles: Ben Roethlisberger, due to the beard. I'm resisting a Hasselbeck hairline joke here.
Nickname: "Jess", "The Ororo of Orinda"
Specialties: Tackling the hell out of Mike's brother Eric.
Super Bowl particpant she most resembles: Hines Ward, due to sure hands, tenacious blocking, and Korean heritage.
Nickname: "Paul Means Business"
Specialties: Speed, agility, golf, poker
Super Bowl participant he most resembles: Paul invariably scores multiple touchdowns in Mud Bowl games, yet his willowy frame and soft-spoken nature leave him underestimated. His style of play evokes Joe Jurevicius, and I would watch out for both men today.
Nickname: "Eugenio", "Bonecrusher"
Specialties: Power, pass rush, fasting
Super Bowl participant he most resembles: Gene sees himself as a linebacker, and many of us see him as a modern-day version of his father, Clark. Thus, Gene is Pittsburgh linebacker Clark Haggans.
Nickname: "Jigs", "Brown Lightning"
Specialities: Running the West Coast offense, play-calling, cinematography
Super Bowl participant he most resembles: Antwaan Randle El
Nickname: "The Martinez Marksman", "The Alhambra Assassin"
Specialties: Unknown, as I've never seen him play football. He's excellent on X-Box, particularly Grand Theft Auto.
Super Bowl participant he most resembles: This is kind of vague, but I'm going with Seattle safety Michael Boulware. As Gabe has moved from the East Coast to California in recent months, so has Michael Boulware moved from his college position of linebacker to playing safety in the NFL.
Nickname: "Docta V"
Specialties: Trick plays, quarterbacking, Linux
Super Bowl participant he most resembles: Pittsburgh fullback Dan Kreider, as both are questionable to actually play Sunday
Nickname: "Waffles", "The Argonaut"
Specialties: Foreign languages, reading, triathlons
Super Bowl participant she most resembles: Steelers triple-threat Antwaan Randle El.
Nickname: "Crazy Jogging White Girl"
Specialties: International relations, development, speed
Super Bowl participant she most resembles: Annika is also an enigma, as she's been in the Peace Corps, out of the sight of Mud Bowl scouts. My selection is based on Annika's near-obsession with the state of Ohio, and accordingly, I'm choosing Seattle defensive end and Ohio State alum Rodney Bailey.
Nickname: "Coach Sean", "Keaner", "Sean the Bon" (6 & Unders only)
Specialties: Puns, judicious hustle, knowledge of football trivia and terminology
Super Bowl participant he most resembles: Due to limited athletic ability and a streak of never having a punt blocked, Sean most resembles Pittsburgh punter Chris Gardocki.
I'm guessing we will have little trouble finding unoccupied grass, but trees may or may not serve as obstacles. It should be sunny.
Poor, across the board. There will be many times out taken. I wouldn't put it past any of the participants to throw an improvised challenge flag, made out of a red sock or shredded t-shirt, just to get an emergency stoppage of play. I think the odds of someone vomiting are about 2.5:1.
Injuries: 3 (1 severe)
Beers consumed on the field: 3
Ruined pieces of clothing: 1