Five seconds left and Tom Brady drops back to pass.
Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul forces him to the left and Brady frantically sets his feet, throws back his head, and heaves the ball all of 65 yards into the end zone.
Everyone at the Kappa Bowl Super Bowl party jumps up as he releases. The Patriot fans scream and a Giants fan yells “No! No! No! No!”
The ball spirals toward four pairs of hands – but only one pair belongs to a Patriot player. The ball is swatted down and falls in front of Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is left grasping at air.
That’s it. The Super Bowl is over and a mix of groans and cheers fill the Blue Room in the Kappa Kappa Gamma house.
The Hillsdale College students turn towards each other and start talking about the obscene amount of homework they have yet to do, spots in the library they will do the profane amount of homework in and, for those not going to the library, movies they will watch while doing their revolting amount of homework.
No one is listening to hear Al Michaels lament how close Gronkowski had come to being a hero.
The Kappa Bowl began at 6 p.m. Three tables were set up in the dining room, loaded with food and ready party.
“Our wings are always gone in 15 minutes,” said sophomore Katie Frates, events coordinator chairman for Kappa. “We almost ran out of food last year so this year we ordered in excess.”
Despite that excess, within 45 minutes junior Emma Curtis announced the food on the tables was all that was left. Not only the wings were gone, but also most of the subs and vegetable platters as well.
There were a lot of people at the Kappa Bowl.
At first Kappa Bowl attendees formed into their appropriate cliques. The track athletes sat in the back left, the Sigma Chis in front of the track athletes, the ex and current Niedfeldters to the left of the Sigma Chis, etc. Kappas, of course, were everywhere.
After the national anthem, sophomore Rachel Hofer jumped up from her seat and pointed at four girls sitting next to her, one after the other.
“Patriots? Patriots? Patriots? Patriots? We’ve got a whole line of Patriots over here!” she shouted.
Along with the floor in front of them, the two couches directly in front of the TV were apparently reserved for those at the party to watch football. Behind them were the socialites and non-Giant, non-Patriot fans.
“So where are you from?”
“What did you think of the CCA?”
“Oh my God! Gladiators!”
Halftime and Madonna was being led out onto the field by, yes, a legion of gladiators. Draped in a gold robe, the Material Girl began her set that included appearances by Cirque du Soleil, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green, and more drum lines.
“Whoa! So cool!”
The Blue Room filled with laughter and gasps at each Cirque du Soleil acrobat and when Madonna began to sing “Like a Prayer,” all the girls sang along.
The halftime show ended and the camera zoomed out to reveal a message scrawled across the field in lights: “World Peace.”
“That’s not even relevant right now!” shouted senior Maggie Ball to more laughter.
“Only in Hillsdale…”
New England pulled ahead 17 – 9 early in the third quarter and while more people were watching the game now, the laughing chatter continued from halftime.
“I literally haven’t seen a second of the game,” said sophomore Emily Flynn.
She and junior Elizabeth Viviano were standing over what was left of the food — only one vegetable platter now. The girls laughed and said they had a good time.
“You need all parts of the party, right?” Flynn asked later. “We’re the food people.”
The party had dwindled down to about 30, mostly girls. A couple cuddled on the couch previously held down by the devoted fans. To the right of the couple, two girls were playing patty-cake. Behind the two girls was a freshman guy hitting on a sophomore girl.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning began to put together what would prove to be the game-winning drive when Ball jumped up from her seat.
“Three minutes left and I don’t care who wins!” she yells.
Sophomore Abby Schultz wore a Packers sweatshirt for the Super Bowl party.
“I’ve loved [the Kappa Bowl]. I love football so much even though the Packers aren’t in it,” said Schultz. “I love watching football with my girls.”
Ball is also a Packers fan.
“For me, when [the Packers] went to the Super Bowl last year, it was an event,” she says. “I needed to watch it and I didn’t care who was there. So yeah, for me it was more a social event this year.”
Manning handed the ball off to Ahmad Bradshaw and the running back ran six yards to put the Giants up 21 – 17 with 57 seconds left.
Brady threw, Gronkowski fell, the Giants conquered.
Clean-up takes about five minutes.
The TV is still replaying that last catch-that-almost-was. The image will undoubtedly taunt thousands of Patriots fans and elate thousands of Giants fans until next September.
The 30-odd Kappas in the room don’t seem to mind much. They seem just fine to put off their ridiculous amounts of homework with another few minutes of laughing.
Al Michaels is still breaking down that last play, but still no one is listening.