I have a hard time putting my finger on it, but the last few years, something just seems a bit smaller about the Super Bowl. Sure, they still hype the crap out of it, but it just doesn't seem like as big an event as it once was. I was rooting for the Steelers, as they're my second favorite team, but I've always liked the Packers too, so it didn't bother me that they won. But it just seemed like...a football game, with a trophy at the end. Random thoughts follow:
:: I wonder a bit about Pittsburgh's offensive game planning and play calling. In the second half, with Green Bay's secondary as banged up as it was, I wonder why they didn't try coming out in a spread formation and beat the Pack through the air. By that time, Ben Roethlisberger had his mojo back. The Pack came out terribly flat in the second half, and the Steelers just didn't put the screws to them like I thought they should have.
:: Watching a steady stream of Green Bay players heading for the locker room at one point might be the best argument against an 18-game season that can be made. Football is so physical and violent that in an 18-game season, the team that wins the Super Bowl won't necessarily be the best team, but the team that makes the playoffs with the most key players healthy.
:: Troy Aikman on scoring: "A field goal is big, but a touchdown here would be huge." Thanks for spelling that out, Troy.
:: The commercials were crap, across the board. All of 'em. I'm really starting to hate how Super Bowl Sunday is now basically a national holiday for the advertising industry. That many people actually look forward to watching advertising strikes me as indicative of something deeply wrong.
:: Yes, the halftime show was total, utter crap. But the halftime shows are always total, utter crap.
:: Christina Aguilera muffed "The Star-spangled Banner". You'd think that a professional singer could get the lyrics right, but I guess not.
:: So the powers-that-be at Cowboys Stadium screwed up the ticket sales, and ended up selling tickets to people they didn't have seats for. Oops. Heckuva job, Jerry!
:: I read a lot of articles last week by sportswriters whining over the Super Bowl not being held in a warm-weather city. I'm not sure how warm Dallas is on a normal first weekend of February, but really, suck it, sports journalists. I think that what was really behind each and every one of those articles that I read was a guy who really likes getting an expenses-paid trip to someplace warm every February, and this year, it was a trip to someplace not quite as warm as usual. Too bad. I hope they have a Super Bowl at Lambeau Field.
:: I'm really getting sick of "narrative-based" journalism. Last year, the whole thing was "Will Peyton Manning stake his claim to being the best ever!" This year, it was "Will Aaron Rodgers make Green Bay forget about Favre once and for all!" This stuff is stupid.
:: That trumpet-fanfare thing they do when the Vince Lombardi trophy is being unveiled is laughable. Forget it, NFL; your trophy is nice, but the trophy itself will never have the cachet of the Stanley Cup.
:: Speaking of which, a local sports radio personality posed the question to Buffalonians: Would you rather win the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup? True, Buffalo is hockey-crazed, and the Cup would be a sweet, sweet thing. But the NHL is a fairly small thing in the sporting life of the US nowadays. The Super Bowl, on the other hand? If the Bills won that thing, then Buffalo would be able to finally, once and for all, be able to offer an extended middle finger to every single person in the country for whom Buffalo is a punchline. No, I don't think that a Super Bowl win would have any real effect on Buffalo's economy or anything like that. But being able to say, "Hey, we won the Super Bowl, so F*** you" would be pretty sweet.
:: Next up: the draft, hopefully. If there's not a lockout first.