observations from super bowl xli

Don't stand so close to me:

When CBS went to the obligatory shot of both broadcasters standing up in the booth, Phil Simms stood extremely close to partner Jim Nantz. Simms stood perpendicular to Nantz, his chest against Nantz's shoulder, with both hands clasped above Nantz's crotch. There appeared to be plenty of space for the two guys to stand normally - it wasn't an especially tight angle - and yet Simms arranged himself as if they were taking a prom photo. For his part, Nantz looked very uncomfortable, with his arms held rigidly against his sides. It wasn't an accident. When CBS returned to the shot one quarter later, Simms was back grinding Nantz's hip once again. I didn't catch any homoerotic statements from Simms, but a homoerotic picture is worth a thousand homoerotic words.

Crucial gambling play of the game:

The over/under for the Super Bowl was 47 points, and the final score was 29-17. With 46 total points scored by both teams, the "Under" won, thanks to a fumbled snap on the Colts' first extra point attempt. By mishandling the snap, Hunter Smith cost his team a point, a point that proved to be more important for the gamblers than it was to the Colts. In addition, the failed PAT meant that the game was never tied after 0-0, which determined a big prop bet at our party.

A butterfly flaps its wings in China. Half a world away, Hunter Smith drops the snap. 3,500 miles away from him, Dustin loses a dollar to Jigar.

Groundskeeping MVP, Daunte Culpepper:

Though the weather was terrible, the turf looked great. Some articles lauded George Toma for his field preparation, but the real hero was Daunte Culpepper. Thanks to his horrific quarterbacking, the Dolphins did not play a home game after christmas, and the turf had over a month to recover.

Most deceptive halftime statistic:

At halftime, Rex Grossman's quarterback rating was 120.8. When CBS put up this graphic, everyone laughed, since Rex clearly sucked in the first half. He was 6 of 8, for 32 yards and a touchdown. The rating actually climbed to 122.9 just before Grossman lost 11 yards on consecutive plays with a sack and a fumble. Less than 15 game minutes later, Grossman's QB rating had plunged to 56.8.

Gloria Estefan's accent:

It appears to be twice as strong as it was in the early '90s.

Through halftime, our consensus MVP:


Hidden effect of the rain: Screwed-up hair:

When Jim Nantz had to stand in the rain to present trophies, his perfectly-coiffed hair got wet. Up front, Nantz's hair got soaked, matted down, and generally looked artificial. Extreme weather exposes fake hair, as Chris Myers learned last year when half of his toupee blew off during the Carolina-Chicago game. Sideline reporter Steve Tasker eschewed an umbrella, and looked miserable by halftime. The other sideline reporter wanted no part of the weatrher. After an initial bare-headed report, Solomon Wilcots said fuck it, I'm wearing a hat and a waterproof jacket.

It was a particularly tough day for black hair. While some of us speculated about the safety of Prince playing electric guitar during a rainstorm, Jessica observed that Prince seemed more concerned with his relaxer. Only for his finale was Prince willing to discard his do-rag. Tony Dungy's wife also seemed concerned with her expensive hairsyle during the tedious trophy presentation.

Should Peyton have won the MVP?:

Manning won Super Bowl MVP at even-money odds, a ludicrous percentage for an individual, yet justified, seeing as he won. The next-worst pre-game odds were for Grossman, at 5.5:1. Historically, the MVP award goes to the winning quarterback about 50% of the time, But Vegas saw Peyton as nearly six times more likely than Rex to take home the hardware. Only when the winning QB has unimpressive statistics does someone else win.

Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai were great, but unfortunately, they play the same position. If a player wasn't definitively the best running back on his own team, it is hard to argue that he should be the game msot valuable player. Bob Sanders could have won, with a forced fumble and an interception, based on the Larry Brown/Dexter Jackson Super Bowl MVP rationale. I thought the Indianapolis offensive line's success was the key to the game, but how do you pick out one individual? Thus Peyton Manning set another benchmark: Dorkiest Super Bowl MVP, narrowly edging out Kurt Warner.

Commercials were too long:

90 seconds is too long for a funny ad. See Sierra Mist, Coca-Cola's acid trip ad, or the controversial Snickers ad where two guys accidentally kiss, then recoil in horror. The men then rip out handfuls chest hair, in an attempt to be "manly". Because nothing says "not gay" like removing your chest hair. Of course, the homophobic Snickers ad was at the same Super Bowl that featured Prince, Cirque de Soleil, Phil Simms, and a head coach named Lovie.

In my mind, the main problem with these ads was that they were all short films primarily intended to trick the audience into buying things.

My Super Proposal Denouement:

The guy didn't get his marriage proposal on CBS during the Super Bowl, but his ad did run during Veronica Mars this week. Here's the video of her reaction. I still wish she'd said no.

Most Bizarre Challenge:

Tony Dungy threw his red flag to contend that the Bears had too many men on the field. I had no idea that was reviewable. However, you'd think that the guy who told Dungy to challenge had, you know, counted to make sure.

Lucrative prop bets:

Devin Hester scored the game's first touchdown, beating 20:1 odds. If you'd consistently bet on Hester and also picked Other Chicago TD for "The First Scoring Play of the Game", you won a 14:1 prop. The last touchdown of the game was scored by Kelvim Hayden, which means the betting favorite "Field" won, paying out a healthy $500 for each $100 wagered. In addition, people who bet the last score would "Other Indianapolis TD" took home $1100.

Joseph Addai had the Colts' first reception, paying out at $350. If you bet "Chicago Scores First And Loses", you collected $400 for every $100 wagered. Betting on the winning combing point range of 43-49 won $325. The First Quarter ($325) was the highest-scoring quarter, upsetting the favorite, Second Quarter($190). Wagering that there would be no scoring in the final two minutes of the first half yielded a $190 return.

Lucrative hypothetical prop bets:

Prince will cover a Foo Fighters song during halftime (+7500). Suddenly, Dave Grohl's inexplicable fondness for assless chaps makes sense.
No shot of the troops overseas watching the game, during regulation play (+575). Maybe Peyton Manning just hates the troops.
Entertaining ads produced specifically for this Super Bowl (O/U 2.5, UNDER). I blame GoDaddy.
Rex Grossman doesn't throw an interception until the fourth quarter (+450).
Buckets of Gatorade dumped on winning coach (O/U 1.5, OVER)

We finished the keg:

At 8:30 P.M. I drank out of a red SOLO cup that identified me as "Eli". Gene's cup read "Maurice". Docta V's said "God".

No trick plays:

Last year, trick plays helped Pittsburgh put away Seattle in the Super Bowl. This year, neither team to my knowledge did as much as run an end around. The Colts don't even seem to run a large variety of regular plays. They're sort of like a dominant high school team that gets by by running the same three plays all game, because the defense can't stop them. If Tony Dungy retires, maybe the Colts can lure Bob Ladoceur away from De La Salle.

Questions To Ponder

Is it possible that the frustrated pouty faces that Peyton Manning makes on the sidelines have very little to do with his poise while playing quarterback?
Did anyone miss "Eye Vision", the CBS technology that made replays look just like The Matrix?
Why didn't they show Archie and Eli Manning in the stands? Was it raining too hard to show the luxury boxes?
Who is "this generation's Dan Marino"? Donovan McNabb? Will he also start dyeing his hair blond in retirement?

Was it a good Super Bowl?:

I say, absolutely. The first quarter was extremely exciting and unpredictable, mainly because neither team could hold onto the ball. There were rushing, receiving, special teams, and defensive touchdowns throughout the game. And watching Rex Grossman play quarterback was like watching Plan 9 From Outer Space or Troll 2: worth seeing because it's failure on such a grand scale. Two terrible interceptions, multiple fumbles, plays where he fell down untouched, plays where he ran the wrong direction, Rex did it all. I like to imagine that Tony Eason and David Woodley shared a champagne toast together as the mantle of Worst Super Bowl QB of all time was finally passed.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on February 8, 2007 8:50 PM.

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