"But, you know, it's not as bad as I thought," allowed Nash. "It's actually quite good when something happens."
All around him, his countrymen echoed this sentiment, expressing their admiration for the brief flurries of action tinged with their impatience at the infernal halts so the American audience could be sledgehammered with car and beer advertisements and the Stadium Australia crowd bludgeoned with Visa, UPS and Air New Zealand ads. "At least our ball doesn't have McDonald's arches on it, like both your footballs do," I jabbed Nash and Ribs, "and our players' uniforms don't have commercials plastered on them. Shameless!"
"Better our balls and jerseys have ads and our game keeps moving than stopping every 10 seconds for the Coors frogs," Nash ricocheted.
"Budweiser," I corrected.
"I drank that once," Ribs piped up. "Couldn't stand it, but I drank it anyway."
The Broncos stormed back with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns within a 42-second span and then knotted the score at 17 on a fourth-quarter field goal, ratcheting up all the drama a preseason game can possible ratchet—so I can't honestly explain what happened next. Perhaps it was the two consecutive nights of nonstop action I had just witnessed, perhaps it was the 17 numbing penalties on top of the 20 deadening TV timeouts and eight sedating team timeouts and the half-dozen anesthetizing measurements by the wankers with the orange sticks. But when you'd least expect it, with Denver about to attempt the winning 34-yard field goal on the final play and my $20 wager with Nash riding on it, I opened my mouth and...damn Nash!
"I caught you!" he crowed. "I caught you!"
I flinched. The kick was good. The world-champion Broncos had won, just barely, but their sport and mine had just gotten crushed.
"Did you see that, Ribs?" whooped Nash. "He never did that Friday night or last night! He yawned!"