Super Bowl XLV -- At Least It Was a Good Game
While Aaron Rodgers still has a ton of work to do to build the overall résumé of the Ol' Dongslinger, yesterday's win over the Steelers, and just as importantly, the month-long road leading up to it, should send all Favre sycophants and myopians back into hiding. Whether it's enough to convert them to stark raving Aaron-amaniacs remains to be seen.
But for now, there's no other quarterback -- Packer or otherwise -- who can boast as impressive a post-season run as Rodgers just assembled: 109.8 quarterback rating, three road wins, and a win in the Super Bowl over a previously undefeated Super Bowl counterpart in Ben Roethlisberger.
(Sidebar: Somewhere Hakeem Olajuwon is nodding his head; looks an awful lot like the Rockets' 1995 title run, no?)
Incredibly, after a slow start and fairly boring first half, the Packers and the Steelers put together a game that was a solid B+. I say "incredibly" because when you consider all the obstacles this game had to overcome, if you were grading on a curve, the game would get an A with however many plus signs rules allow you to place next to it.
For reasons both controllable and uncontrollable, Dallas as a host city was suspect all week. But they cranked up their special brand of "hospitality" starting Friday (Again, while I can't pin Christina Aguilera's desperate need for a teleprompter nor Joe Buck's world class douchiness on Dallas directly, both happened in the greater Dallas area so I'm lumping everything together.):
1. Weather: It's not so much that it was insanely cold in Dallas all week (It was colder than both Green Bay and Pittsburgh.) because most of you weren't in Dallas and the fact of the matter is that I would sit out shirtless in subzero wind chill to cover the Super Bowl. The problem with the weather was the fact that when the temperature dips below 32 degrees, water freezes. And when water freezes it turns to ice. And when ice is covering a slope, gravity eventually pulls it off and it falls to the ground. And when gravity pulls ice to the ground and there are six contractors standing several hundred feet below the ice...SPLAT. That's what happened on Friday. Ice happened. Gravity happened. SPLAT happened.
2. National Anthem. Let's start with this -- Christina Aguilera looks terrible, like a suburban mom going to a neighborhood Halloween party as Tara Reid. (By the way, the biggest upset of the week on Radio Row was no Tara Reid in Dallas. If there's a concentrated geographic region where there are hundreds of NFL players, it used to be a mortal lock that Tara Reid was there in heat. Of course, she's probably plowed through the entire NFL, and now anxiously awaits the NBA All Star game in a couple weeks.) I digress, Aguilera's haggard look was topped only by her lack of knowledge of the lyrics to her country's anthem...
Poor "ramparts we watched." You got jobbed.
3. Seats. If you missed this, there were 1,250 ticket holders whose seats were deemed unsafe by the league on game day Sunday. They managed to re-seat 850 of them in various spots throughout the stadium, but this still left 400 sad Packer or Steeler fans on the outside looking in, many of whom had traveled great distances (and overcome many hardships, not the least of which is being from Green Bay or Pittsburgh in February) to see their favorite team play. The giveback for those 400 was this -- they were placed in obstructed-view areas and could watch the game on the Jumbotron (silver lining, it's the largest high def television on planet earth), they were allowed to go on the field after the game, they got free food and drink, and (here's the kicker) they all received three times the face value of the ticket as payback AND they will be guests of the league at next year's Super Bowl. A couple thoughts -- first, the last part only works for me if it were transferable. How can you have a bunch of Steeler and Packer fans going to watch, hypothetically, the Buccaneers and the Chargers? Second...um, where do I sign? Seriously, three times face, celebrate on the field, free grub and drink, and a paid trip to next year's game?
Anyway, the league hid behind the excuse of "safety first" for these fans...ironic, considering....
4. Field Like Concrete. Yeah, at least the field was nice and safe, right? Seriously, if you landed on that field the wrong way, you were done. Honestly, you'd have been better off bringing in the frozen surface from TCF Field in Minnesota, the one with the spot where Brett Favre's splattered brains were scraped off. (Because Brett Favre wasn't nearly a big enough topic this week...)
5. Joe Buck. Do I really need to say anything else? (Twitter users, follow @gregvegas for some outstanding Joe Buck hatred aggregation. Greg is to Joe Buck hate tweets what The Big Lead is to links to topical sports stories.)
6. Post game. The Cowboys Stadium public address announcer introduced Roger Staubach and forgot in which Super Bowl he won Most Valuable Player honors. And it was all downhill from there. Staubach being forced to essentially evade tacklers as he walked to the podium, with all of the Packer players pawing at him was fantastic, then Staubach got to the stage. Honestly, that's the first time I've seen Staubach and Bradshaw in the same place since they were playing each other in the game thirty-plus years -- and you know Staubach is just staring at Bradshaw and thinking, "How in the blue hell did I lose two Super Bowls to this HAYSEED!" (Bonus postgame faux pas: Roger Goodell calling Green Bay the "smallest city in the country." Somewhere every town in Montana, Idaho, the Dakotas, Wyoming and parts of Appalachia -- well, the parts with electricity -- was like, "Hey! We ain't no bigger'n Green Bay, is we?!?")
For the record, those waiting for me to crack the Black Eyed Peas and the halftime show, it's not happening. Halftime is made to go outside and smoke a cigar, drink a beer, make yourself another sandwich, take a leak, whatever. If you're choosing to (a) to watch the halftime show and (b) do so with a music critic's expectation for the quality of the show, then you get whatever you deserve.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. on the "Sean Pendergast Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.