Not the greatest game to start the year. And NBC's coverage at times made me feel as if I was watching a very long trailer for its game on Sunday, the Giants-Colts confrontation being touted as ''the battle of the brothers.''
But I still hung in with the game later than I expected because it remained close and suspenseful (if far from error-free) most of the time. Saban can beef all he want about his challenge not being recognized; that was still about the most casual flag-toss I've seen a coach make. And while the Steelers pulled out the win -- thanks to Culpepper's gambling too often with his passes -- more than once they looked as if the coming season could be a long, arduous one.
Not much to say about the commentary. Madden and Michaels are comfy old shoes when it comes to football, but I didn't listen to them much in the latter half of the game. By then, I had crawled into bed, with the sound off so the bride could sleep, until the score was lopsided enough and the time sufficiently brief to turn it off.
Earlier in the evening, we finally caught up with the season finale of ''The Closer.'' Funny, especially the cat business. Less complicated a case than it seemed; more than one viewer suspected the proper killer early on. But I admired it most for something it didn't do. With the big shootout at the end, I was bracing for a scene where one of the regular characters was shot, or where we weren't sure if everyone was safe. That's a cheap trick for a season finale and, to ''The Closer's'' credit, it played fair -- showing everyone standing and unbloodied at the end.
I hope to file more this weekend about the season premiere of ''The Simpsons,'' that second episode of ''Jericho,'' the long awaited ''Brothers & Sisters'' and -- most tantalizingly -- the season premiere of ''Gilmore Girls,'' which arrived in the mail yesterday and has been siren-calling to me ever since. I'm amazed I have managed to wait this long to watch. I so love football.