More Super Bowl Chatter

Did you know that if you write a sports blog in the United States of America, it’s a federal offense NOT to do a Super Bowl wrap-up column? Apparently the same laws apply to celebrity journalists who don’t cover a star’s sudden weight gain and to VH1 programmers who don’t exploit a fallen celebrity’s drug addiction.

Anyway, I don’t want to go to the pokey. Not again. So here’s my list of Super Bowl observations.

1. After Pittsburgh completely dominated the opening quarter, I feared a rout was on. It looked as if Arizona’s defense had reverted to its regular-season mode and that the Cardinals potent offense was no match for the Steelers’ potent defense. The only thing that stopped me from paying even more attention to my son’s attempts to conquer Super Mario on his DS was Arizona’s impressive goal line stand that ended with Roethlisberger’s touchdown being reversed.

2.  How did someone not catch James Harrison on that 100-yard runback? I think most of the Cardinals on the field were certain that he was just going to collapse somewhere around the Cardinals’ 20-yard-line and just didn’t bother trying to tackle him. Kind of like how I’ve stopped chasing after my dog when he gets loose. He’s old. I just wait for him to get tired and then go over and get him.  Gives me time to put my pants on.

3. For a game that many are rightly calling one of the best in Super Bowl history, it had two quarters — the first and the third — that were pretty dull.  The lone highlight of the third quarter was the Cardinals’ Adrian Wilson boneheaded tackling of holder Mitch Berger on that field goal. I hope Berger didn’t crush his Snickers bar on the tackle. (When punting for the Vikings, announcers used to always comment on how Berger always kept a Snickers candy bar in his shoe. It was the one factoid broadcasters had on him and they used it to death. Like how announcers always had to remind us how Badgers forward Mark Vershaw was the only married player in the Big Ten.)

4. That final Santonio Holmes touchdown was eerily reminiscent of the Cardinal touchdown that Nate Poole scored to beat the Minnesota Vikings in the final game of the 2003 season that sent the Packers to the playoffs, where Green Bay beat the Seahawks in the infamous “we’ll take the ball and we’re going to score” game. It would work a lot better as an example of karma if the Cardinals had knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs instead of the Vikings, but I just thought I’d throw that sparkling moment of Viking futility out there for the enjoyment of all Packers fans. I aim to please.

5. Yes, I know that Super Bowl MVPs basically never — never — come from the losing teams and that Santonio Holmes was incredible on that last drive. But to me, Holmes wasn’t as overall impressive as either Larry Fitzgerald or Kurt Warner. And probably not as impressive as his quarterback either.

6. The Steelers allowed the Cardinals to gain 407 offensive yards with an average of 7.1 yards per play. That’s almost enough to throw out that old “defense wins championships” axiom, until you remember, that, oh yeah, that James Harrison play that resulted in a 14-point swing was the difference in the game. So defense remains sort of important.

7. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was the defensive coordinator under Vikings head coach Brad Childress. Sort of like Martin Scorsese being the editor of a movie directed by Jim Belushi.

8. Maybe I just paid more attention this year, or maybe the tough economic times inspired ad agencies to be more creative, but the ads seemed better to me. I laughed everytime the boss yelled “hey, dummy” to his subordinate in the careerbuilder.com ad. You can’t beat relatable humor. And I don’t care what the context, Ed McMahon, MC Hammer, and Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings” are always funny.

9. A free Grand Slam at Denny’s? Sounds good until you remember that “free” doesn’t always equal “good.” (Hey, Denny’s isn’t a sponsor of Channel 3000, are they? If so, it’s just for the bit. I love Denny’s as my wife can attest. The grand slam with the hamburger AND the hot dog is my favorite.)

10. Springsteen was good, but my guess is that if you were against him doing the Super Bowl in the first place, you didn’t like it. It was all very upbeat and show-bizzy, with more shtick and eye candy (a referee, a gospel choir, and more pyrotechnics than a Rhythm and Booms show) than you’d ever see at a regular Springsteen show, especially one of his solo shows where audience members are threatened to be thrown out if they should feel the need to clear their throat or sneeze during somber tunes like “Matamoras Banks.”

11. Al Michaels and John Madden are the best. NBC/Universal was pretty shrewd to get them from ABC just for the rights to that 1920s rabbit cartoon. Whoever negotiated that deal for NBC should be given a raise; whoever concocted that moronic “Feelin’ Alright” promo should be demoted to contestant booker for Telemundo’s dating game show 12 Corazones.

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