The Super Bowl was two weeks ago, so what gives with the writeup coming out now? I was going to do my best to transcribe my notes quickly, to make this posting more timely, but Philadelphia Coach Andy Reid told me to take my time. "No need to rush," he said. "People are always rushing around willy-nilly in this crazy modern world. I say, relax. Type at your own pace. Stop and smell the flowers. Let your offense huddle after every play, even when you're down by ten points with three minutes left in the Super Bowl. Life, and the fourth quarter, are just too short."
Jamie Foxx the Beautiful
Before the game, there's a tribute to former Ray Charles. I was going to be snide and question how important the Super Bowl was for him, but it turns out he did the arrangement for the subsequent national anthem, and also grew up near Jacksonville. If they were going to use a local act, we could have ended up with Limp Bizkit, so it's relatively inoffensive when Alicia Keys sings "America the Beautiful" in Natalie Cole ghost-duet style. There are blind children singing along and deaf children signing along, and while it feels like a bizarre detour into Mr. Holland's Opus, it's ultimately nice.
Later, Will Smith introduces the Eagles, since he was born and raised in West Philadelphia, and I find myself comparing him to Jamie Foxx. Ten years ago, Will Smith was doing Six Degrees of Separation and Jamie Foxx was playing Wanda, the ugliest woman in the world, on In Living Color. Now Jamie Foxx has two Oscar nominations and a record contract, and Will Smith is introducing the Eagles and starring in Hitch. Of course, since I've made this observation, Hitch has made about $80 million, so maybe Will Smith is doing just fine. Still, Wanda? Tommy Davidson should be on the phone with his agent right now.
The Awesomest Generation
Before the anthem, there was a tribute to the Greatest Generation, because it's the 60th anniversary of...some event during World War II. Since WWII spanned five different years for Americans, we could theoretically have an anniversary tribute to WWII veterans every single year. The audience is cheering them for not dying since the end of the war, and that will only get more impressive with each passing year. By the time the last WWII vet dies, I'll have published my book, Generation Awesome, about my heroic post-9/11 peers.
The anthem went totally over the top, with a huge military chorus, an extra verse, an Air Force flyover, and a shout-out to the Empire with live satellite uplinks to Iraq and Afghanistan. I think one of the Greatest even mouthed, "You owe us, France" just before all the fireworks went off.
President Clinton Reinforces Stereotypes
Former presidents Clinton and Bush have become a tag-team tsunami awareness duo since the disaster, so they made a pregame appearance in the announcers' booth. Bush picked a 14-point Patriots victory. Clinton got a laugh by saying that he was indecisive, since "both cities voted for him". I thought, how clever of Clinton, playing on his waffler image. When pressed, he hemmed and hawed further, making it clear he really was a waffler, and still refused to predict a winner. He's not even running for anything! Make a decision! Pick the Eagles because Bush took New England! Anything! Dammit, Clinton!
Bush provided a funny moment when he got distracted and slightly terrified by a boom mike. Clinton was unfazed by the technology, which makes me think he'd be a fine instant replay official.
There were two different calls in the first half reversed after replay review. Both involved fumbles occurring after a player's knee hit the ground, while the on-field official missed the call. After the second one, the referee looked really ashamed. "Fine! I'm watching the knee! Are you happy now?" Later, there was an incompletion overturned on review, and the ref was properly chagrined, although the receiver's knee was not a factor.
The announcers weren't so bad. However, there are certain phrases used to the point of meaninglessness by nearly every sports announcing crew out there. A quick sampling:
If a player or the ball is unable to stop quickly, due to its forward motion, then and only then do I want to hear a reference to "momentum". The contest has no inherent "momentum" that can shift back and forth.
By virtue of playing in the Super Bowl, it can be assumed that all players on the field are professionals, earning salaries in exchange for their football play. It is unnecessary for the announcers to remind us that the New England linebackers are "doing a job", or "really working out there".
Though generally a peaceable man, Gene implied that continued overuse of the term "execution" was softening his stance on capital punishment for sports announcers.
Philadelphia and Dehydration
The Eagles had a lot of trouble staying hydrated. Donovan McNabb was sick to his stomach late in the game. A bunch of players headed to the locker room during the game, presumably to get rehydrated via IV. This shows a certain degree of inattention by the medical staff, or poor preparation by the players, but mostly, it's one of the first times since high school physical education classes that I've seen so many people opting out of sports due to cramps. It might have been less embarrassing had they simply said that Todd Pinkston's "friend was visiting."
Philadelphia's starting tight end was injured in the NFC Championship Game. To replace him, the Eagles brought back a former tight end, Jeff Thomasen, now retired, who is currently employed in construction. He had to use all his vacation time for the year in order to practice for the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, meaning that, win or lose, he was going back to work the day after the Super Bowl. The Eagles were all surely disappointed to lose the game, but only one of them had to be back behind a desk ten hours after the game ended. If faced with the loss of his tight end, Bill Belichick would have been more ready, with punter Josh Miller taking snaps at tight end during training camp, and even catching a touchdown pass during the game. Actually, if Belichick ran Thomasen's construction firm, he would have had multiple janitors and receptionists ready to step in at Thomasen's desk for the whole pre-Super Bowl period.
Terrell Owens and the Ankle-Cam
Longtime Zembla favorite Terrell Owens had a stellar game, playing on a broken ankle that inhibited him from cutting to the left. As usual, TO rose to the occasion of a big game, racking up over 100 yards, including one long catch-and-run predicated by an impossible-looking leftward spin away from his defender. The TV crews provided some strange TO angles throughout the telecast, isolating a single camera on him and shooting from ground level. At first I thought that an admiring producer wanted to showcase Owens's magnificent leg muscles, but I reaize now that FOX chose that shot to ensure that, if Terrell Owens were to re-shatter the weakened ankle, America would have a closeup on the glorious inury.
The Halftime Show
Me: Wouldn't it be great if McCartney whipped it out at the end of this set? Not the whole thing, just one testicle.
Gene: Only if it had some elaborate piece of metal jewelry stuck through it.
Me: If that happened, would it make you think differently of his music?
My Least Intelligible Note To Myself
"rambling Belichick-father-relationship-gay-sounding odd V. Lombardi segue. anapolis?"