Things I thought of during this year’s Super Bowl, not necessarily in order of importance or chronology:
- Some lucky bastard in Vegas must have made a fortune on a prop bet that the first points of the game would be scored on a safety. If the same lucky bastard was in a squares pool with “Giants 9, Patriots 0″ as his numbers after the first two quarters, he would have made an even bigger fortune. Of course, being in Vegas, chances are all that theoretical money would have been squandered by the time you read this.
- Who the hell works in an office in which a DJ is likely to show up with massive quantities of Bud Light and turn it into a club after the work day is over? I know beer commercials are ridiculous by rule, but this one really took the cake because it was framed in a way to make us believe it could actually happen — unlike, say, a giant train of coldness showing up with the O’Jays playing when you crack open a Coors Light. Those commercials are supposed to be ridiculous. This one tried to be earnest.
- Most people will probably be fixated on the fact M.I.A. flipped off the camera at the end of her performance, but to me the most notable moment of the halftime show was the guy in a toga with “Richard Simmons hair” (as a friend put it) who bounced off of a wire — sometimes appearing to do so with his crotch — as Madonna sang next to him.
- Eli Manning has won more Super Bowls than Peyton Manning. This still boggles the mind. Then again, Trent Dilfer has won more Super Bowls than Dan Marino. And Rex Grossman beat the Giants twice this season.
If you look at it scientifically, the difference between Peyton and Eli’s success isn’t as much based on their personal attributes as the parts around them. New York’s front four on defense, both in 2007 and this year, was just as responsible for the Giants lifting the Lombardi Trophy.
That said, Sunday’s effort has to put Eli in the conversation of history’s most clutch big-game quarterbacks. The ridiculous fourth quarter throw-and-catch to David Tyree in ’07 and Mario Manningham this year can’t be made by just some dope. Eli may just be the current NFL quarterback you’d most like to have when you need a score late in the fourth quarter.
- Bill Belichick may be a coaching genius, but his decision to challenge Manningham’s catch was so poor that it could have been made by Rod Rust. Belichick was right on top of the play, perhaps with an even better angle than the official who ruled that it was a catch. And anyone upstairs who looked at the replay a couple of times would have seen that it was clear Manningham got both his feet down.
I was disappointed that Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth, who I feel know the game better than any other announcing tandem, came to the conclusion that Belichick “had to” challenge the catch. Had the Patriots preserved all of their timeouts, they might have had a minute left to drive into range for a winning field goal instead of having to allow the Giants to score a touchdown in order to get the ball back, thus forcing New England to drive the length of the field for a touchdown.
- Speaking of Ahmad Bradshaw’s winning touchdown… has there ever been a more ungraceful winning score in sports history? NFL Films is going to have an easier time with their annual attempt to make the Browns look good in their yearbook video than make Bradshaw’s attempt to fall down at the 1 before stumbling backwards into the end zone look impressive.
- The last time they tried hosting the Super Bowl in a smallish city, Jacksonville, it was universally derided. (Yes, I am aware that Jacksonville is actually huge in terms of square mileage. You know what I mean). The same cannot be said for Indianapolis, as even the snootiest of possible media markets — Boston and New York — descended upon town and appear to have walked away having enjoyed the experience. Everyone was amazed how accessible everything in Indy is, and most importantly, walkable.
On the flip side, I am willing to bet Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford witnesses multiple disasters since you can’t exactly walk there from New York City, which is undoubtedly where all of the events will be based. One bad winter storm and you’ve got a total logistical nightmare.
Anyway, I’ll be shocked if we don’t see the Super Bowl return to Indianapolis in the next 10 years — if not sooner.
Photo from Newark Star-Ledger. Please visit their website for outstanding game coverage. It’s much easier than visiting Newark.