IT'S 6:34 P.M. Feb. 6, and David Akers booms the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl 2 yards deep into the end zone. The Steelers' Antonio Brown takes it, hesitates for a second, and then decides to run it out. Bad decision. He is met head-on at the 18-yard line by Moise Fokou. The hit jars the ball loose and Colt Anderson falls on it at the 16. The Philly fans go bonkers. One complete side of Jerry Jones' gaudy palace is awash with green towels mocking the "Terrible Towels."
The Birds' first play from scrimmage produces a predictable result - a Steelers blitz from both sides. LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison shoot toward Michael Vick like two lions tracking a wildebeast; unbelievably, Vick ducks and spins away from Woodley (actually, not so unbelievably, because we've seen it many times before) and rolls out with Harrison in pursuit. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are covered, but Brent Celek, who had stayed in to block, begins to break over the middle - he's running free!
James Farrior sees him and desperately tries to reach him. It's too late, and Michael hits Brent perfectly in stride and he eludes a dive by Farrior and reaches pay dirt. Eagles touchdown in less than 35 seconds! We're going to win the Super Bowl! I just know it, I feel it, we can't be stopped!
And then it starts to rain. But it can't be raining. It's February in Dallas and the Cowboys Stadium roof is surely closed. And yet I can feel my face getting wetter and wetter. Then I wake up! I open my eyes to my beautiful golden retriever, Ginger, licking my face. Oh, no! It's a dream. The Birds aren't in the Super Bowl - we lost to the Packers, 21-16. Goddamnit. No Super Bowl again for the Birds. No Eagles-Steelers game - again.
From the day I became governor, I dreamed of an Eagles-Steelers Super Bowl. It would be just nuts, just crazy. I had it all worked out. In 2009, I went on national TV with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer for the traditional bet on the NFC Championship Game. If it were Steelers-Eagles, I'd get the chance to go on TV and bet against myself.
It almost happened twice. In 2005, we went to Jacksonville and the Steelers were home for the AFC Championship, but lost to the Patriots. And in 2009, the Steelers went, but we lost the heartbreaking game to the Cardinals when our defense couldn't make one last stop.
In retrospect, though, it's probably just as well that it never happened. Eagles fans in 2005 nearly destroyed the city of Jacksonville. They descended on it a week early, and at least 20,000 Birds fans had to be in the city without tickets and without a place to stay.
I remember walking outside one of the hotels and being stopped by an RV with Eagles fans hanging out of every opening. They asked whether I could get them tickets and said they were staying in the RV. I asked, "How many do you need?" They told me, "18." Eighteen guys sleeping in one RV? I asked them how it smelled (it was Thursday and they had come down on Monday). They replied, "Pretty bad."
Birds followers dominated Jacksonville. You couldn't see even one Patriots fan. But Eagles-Steelers? The two most rabid fan bases in one city? War! Dallas would have been left in ruins . . . Hmm, maybe not so bad.
Well, that's No. 1. I'm gonna have fun writing this column and hope you'll have fun reading it. If you have topics you'd like me to write about, e-mail suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are going to suggest where I can stick my head, don't bother. I was in politics for 33 years, and I've received every insult under the sun, and besides - I don't need your vote anymore.