Anyone who watches football knows you need total concentration, so I told my wife Monday night it would be a good time for her to go out and buy my Christmas present.
Take your time. I thought: The game might go into overtime, while suggesting the malls stay open real late at this holiday time of year.
Now there's nothing more delicate than trying to make eye contact with your wife and act like you're listening, while Melissa Stark is on TV demanding your attention. They wouldn't have a football expert like Melissa on the sideline if she didn't have some insight to share.
I didn't want to miss any part of this one the explosive St. Louis Rams matched against the stingy Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the playoffs on the line. I caught myself even listening to what Eric Dickerson had to say, and I think I understood him.
Then it was fourth and inches for the Rams, second quarter, and coach Mike Martz ordered his team to go for it. This was exciting, just plain good stuff, and then Dennis Miller says of Martz, "This guy's a killer like Phil Beck."
With a pause, Al Michaels chimed in: "I like that analogy."
Well, I couldn't tell you what happened in the game for the next hour, maybe more. I know Mike Martz, know Mike Martz very well, and I had no clue who Phil Beck was Dennis and Al did which made me feel pretty stupid on a night when I just wanted to be entertained.
Imagine what it would have been like if my wife had been home: "Honey, who is Phil Beck?"
I called the office, because depending who is on the work schedule, sometimes we have smart people working. Unfortunately, Roy informed me, they all had the night off, which left me only with Yahoo.com.
Based on my research, there's a Phil Beck, who is vice president of foodservice.com, a Phil Beck who is a tomato genetics researcher, another who is an insolvency practitioner and a Phil Beck who is on the European golf tour.
Not a killer in the group as far as I could tell.
Checking further, I discovered someone named Locke Peterseim, working for Britannica.com and providing a weekly translation of what Miller says on Monday night. I called up Peterseim's site and learned I would have to wait until Tuesday to understand Miller's commentary.
If you watched the game, I got back to it about the time Miller said 90 percent of all tropical fish are raised in Tampa, Fla. Michaels, like most people, acted as if he hadn't been listening to what Miller said, and asked what percent?
Then the track meet really got cranked up, each team giving the ball to No. 28, and I didn't want the game to end, because it just might put a wrap on the loser's season, and how bad would that be knowing this might be as good as it gets in the NFL the rest of the way.
I mean we're on the verge of getting the Giants as the NFC's No. 1-seeded team, and think about the boring Giants for a moment, and what could they possibly offer in a prime-time entertainment clash?
This should have been the NFC title contest, a game to be remembered. Now it's a longshot at best to be repeated, but if it does, the NFC championship game will be played on Jan. 14, and will be televised by Fox.
Dennis Miller, meanwhile, will be off somewhere with Phil Beck.