We got a "deepest penetration of the game" at the eight-minute mark of the second quarter. Later in the game, John Madden said, "When you see Big Ben bend over, you know something happened on that play." There were repeated references to Big Ben "playing with the glove", which may or may not have something to do with bending over.
However, the most homoerotic moment of the Super Bowl was not due to the announcers. It came when Steeler trainers dealt with an injured player by removing his pants and taping up his groin. They shielded him with towels but...I have watched an embarrassing amount of football in my life, and I can't remember it ever being necessary for someone to take off their pants like that.
Madden and Al Michaels were equally confused:
Madden: Why do you even need to take a guy’s pants off to check? Do you even check a hamstring that way?
Michaels: Without a 20 second delay, I would not even want to hazard a guess.
Al Michaels, ladies and gentlemen! He'll be here all week!
After the first half, the consensus was that there were 0-3 exciting plays in the first half, at least two of which involved questionable officiating decisions, while there were 4-7 amusing commercials. The key factor for both exciting plays and effective ads seems to be violence. The dinosaur stomping the caveman and the guy throwing his cell phone off his friend's face got the biggest reactions, rivaled only by the play where Antwaan Randle El almost got his back broken on a tackle.
Opinion was split on other ads. Some thought the musical Burger King ad was "Dadaist and surreal", while others thought it was simply "not very good." My sarcastic "Awww" at seeing the baby Clydesdale pull the Budweiser wagon with help was accompanied by actual sentimental response, and a few sniffles. Bud and Bud Light really spent money this year, placing a commercial in nearly every break in the action. However, I have to criticize Bud Light for having two spots in a single quarter where people fell through roofs in Bud Light-related hijinks.
With the Super Bowl Sharpie ad following on the heels of an awful SNL sketch whose entire premise was, "Pirates say 'Arr'", I think pirates may have peaked. Then again, I thought that two-and-a-half years ago as well, and pirates are still going strong. Which is good for me, since I still do a pirate joke in my act, though I usually don't say "Arr!"
Gillette has a huge promotional campaign geared up for the launch of the Fusion, a new five-bladed razor. Docta V informs us that the third result of a Google search for "five bladed razor" is from The Onion. Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades predicted this new innovation two full years early. The Fusion ad doesn't make clear whether Gillette did indeed "put another aloe strip on that fucker, too".
Uncomfortable Sexual Pairings in Advertising
Madison Avenue forced viewers to imagine the couplings between Yosemite Sam and a mud flap silhouette, as well as a giant monster and a robot. To top things off, a Bud ad showed a dog who appeared extremely captivated by a shorn sheep.
Worst Halftime Interview of All Time
Bill Cowher stopped for a chat with Suzy Kolber on his way to the locker room. Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, coming off a series where he inexplicably ran off nearly the entire clock only to miss a 54-yard field goal, completely brushed off his chat with Michelle Tafoya. She asked only one question, and he shouted something about "Got some bad information on the replay challenge" and hustled off the field. Tafoya looked hurt.
This Year's John Candy
People claimed Matthew Lillard was in the stands cheering for the Seahawks. Can anyone confirm or deny that Lillard was at the Super Bowl, or that he's even still alive?
Sean Is Psychic
After correctly predicting the Rolling Stones set list for the halftime show ("Start Me Up", some new song, "Satisfaction"), I also predicted that Seahawk Josh Brown would miss his 50-yard field goal. I also said the game was over once Pittsburgh went up 14-3, which was accurate, if not especially precise. Predicting that I would find a twenty-dollar bill in the parking lot after the game was not as successful.
Zinger of the Game
An ABC spot for Desperate Housewives featured, among others, Tony Hawk, professing their love for the show. Gene requested a Tivo rewind, so we could see the exact moment when Tony Hawk sold out. Mike responded with the Zinger of the Game: "Gene, the Tivo doesn't rewind to 1994."
What Happens When Joey Porter Threatens To Drink Your Blood Before The Game
If you're Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens, you drop a lot of passes. Earlier this week, Joey Porter said, "I got my first taste of blood and now I'm thirsty for more", and called Stevens "a first-round bust". Now, I don't think he dropped those passes because he was intimidated by Porter. I think Jerramy Stevens just sucks.
After the game-ending incompletion, Porter showed he can't let go of a grudge. While his teammates began to celebrate and prepare Gatorade, Porter stood over Stevens and continued to yell at him. I should note that while Porter has been crazy and over-the-top in his pre-game trash talking, he has also been right about the weakness of Jerramy Stevens and the Colts' inability to come from behind against Pittsburgh.
Pretending It's Scoreless
In two consecutive playoff wins, Bill Cowher's halftime speech told his team to pretend like the game was just beginning, or scoreless. Jerome Bettis took it even further in the Super Bowl. A "Miked Up" audio clip from Bettis in a fourth-quarter huddle showed him urging the team to pretend, not just that it was a tie game, but that it was "no different from Week One". And, I guess it still worked, though I wonder if one of the more impressionable Steelers (like TE Heath Miller) looked around and thought, "Wow, Matthew Lillard came to the season opener? Awesome."
Pittsburgh was a favorite in this game, with point spreads ranging from 3-4.5 points. This meant that, late in the game, with Seattle down eleven points, the drama was still very much alive in Las Vegas. If Seattle could score a touchdown, and convert the two-point play, they'd cover the spread, regardless of what happened on the subsequent onside kick attempt.
Seattle took over with just under two minutes remaining and no times out. In the immortal words of Bill Simmons, "Everyone who's ever played a football video game knows that, when you're down by two scores with less than a minute to play, you kick the field goal as fast as possible, then go for the onside and the Hail Mary." Everyone except Mike Holmgren. Once Seattle got to the 26 with 30 seconds to go, it was time to send in the kicker, so they'd at least have time to try the desperation pass at the end.
Holmgren coached as if he had money riding on the game. He kept running plays, trying for the cover-clinching touchdown. Sure, even if they'd taken it in on 4th-and-7, time would have expired, and Seattle still would have lost the game. But people who bet on the Seahawks - a group that may or may not have included Coach Mike Holmgren - those people would have won with the TD and three-point loss.
With a few minutes remaining in the first quarter, ABC announced that Seattle's Darrell Jackson had tied the record for "Most receptions in the first quarter of the Super Bowl". We gave a sarcastic cheer, and someone might have yelled, "Send that ball to Canton!" After Jackson's touchdown pass was called back (because he pushed off his defender), we lamented the missed opportunity - not the lost seven points, but the chance to have the record all to himself.
By the way, Jackson tied another record later in the game, for "Fewest receptions in the final three quarters of the Super Bowl", with zero. That's a record Darrell Jackson shares with many people, including me. Unofficially, he also set a record for most passes caught out of bounds.
Seattle punter Tom Rouen also set a record of his own. He had the highest punting average in Super Bowl history - 50.2 yards! Of course, since two-thirds of his punts went into the end zone for touchbacks, and Randle El returned the other two for a total of 32 yards, Rouen's net average was 31.5 yards. I'm pretty sure that's not a Super Bowl record.
Hines Ward certainly deserved the MVP award, but he had an unfair advantage in the voting. Fans were encouraged to vote for the game's MVP via text message (standard rates applied). If the decision was close, one could easily imagine fans getting frustrated at the keypad aerobics necessary to punch in "R-A-N-D-L-E-E-L", or "H-A-S-S-E-L-B-E-C-K", and decide that, while he might not have played the best game, "W-A-R-D" was much quicker to type.
Did Bill Cowher cry?
He clearly smiled, and as he was walking off the field, Cowher's eyes were clearly wet. Had the tough facade cracked? Had John Wayne finally shed a tear? The replay of the celebratory Gatorade splash suggested a different hypothesis. While being drenched by the refreshing sports beverage, Cowher was struck fairly hard on the back of the head by the cooler. Now, I'm not saying Cowher is incapable of tears and an emotional release - I'm just saying, his eyes might have been watering due to a mild concussion.
Hypothetical Prop Bets
1. The first time Madden circles something on the telestrator, will it be a complete circle? (He completed his first four circles, and then I stopped paying attention)
2. First animal to appear in a commercial? (I predicted monkey, but longshot choice pterodactyl wins. Someone claimed they saw a hawk "in the background" of an earlier ad, but that sounds quite suspicious.)
3. What would the "code black" on Grey's Anatomy turn out to be? (Guesses ranged from "flesh-eating bacteria" to "bomb" to "peptic ulcer". It turns out to be when someone comes into a hospital with a bomb strapped to their chest.)
4. Which team will have the ugliest fan? (This was difficult, as Pittsburgh was the overwhelming choice. However, our living room singled out Mosi Tatupu, father of Seattle's Lofa Tatupu, as the worst-looking spectator.)
5. Will the announcers mention Chris Gardocki's "no punt blocks" streak in the first quarter? (Yes, at the 9:46 mark.)
6. Who will score first? Will it be a touchdown or a field goal? (Seattle, field goal.)
7. What will be the first movie ad? (Something with Bruce Willis, a mustache, Mos Def, and David Morse, who got billed above the title for some reason. I guess the Super Bowl has a lot of Hack fans watching.)
8. Will the cameras catch Jerome Bettis with an oxygen mask on the sidelines? (Shockingly, no.)
9. Will the cameras show Matt Hasselbeck's bald head? (First sighting of the dome, barely, with 3:46 to go in the third quarter.)
10. Will Paul Allen make an appearance? (Improbably, the cameras catch him with 0:42 remaining in the game. Docta V revels in Team Microsoft's defeat.)