Tag Archives: Super Bowl XLV

Super Bowl XLV Thoughts: A Bad Rendition of the Anthem, A Good Game, and an Overrated Stadium

My predicted score of Packers 27, Steelers 21 didn’t quite happen, but I’ll give myself a pat on the back for nailing the margin of victory. Anyone who claims he predicted 31-25 is a liar by the way.

All in all, Super Bowl XLV was another good one. Certainly not a classic, but anytime a Super Bowl comes down to a potential game-winning drive with less than two minutes remaining, it will be considered a memorable one. That now makes eight straight Super Bowls in which the games ranged from decent to outstanding. This is a far cry from a mostly dull run in the 1990s.

Looking a little deeper into my prediction from last week, the game wasn’t decided by anything fluky like a safety or blocked kick. However, you can say the fumble by Rashard Mendenhall and the ensuing Packers’ touchdown are what turned the game. Even though the Steelers answered right back with a touchdown plus a two-point conversion to get the game back to a three-point deficit, their huge momentum swing was thwarted just long enough for the Packers to regain their footing and their swagger offensively. In the end, despite having a crack at it with nearly two minutes left, the Steelers had too big a hill to climb.

The game itself gets an A- from me. The second half was about as good as it gets, but the first half woes of the Steelers keep this from being a truly great Super Bowl.

As for some of the peripherals, there weren’t many positives.

I’ll be blunt. Christina Aguilera was awful. Botching one line of the Star Spangled Banner, while embarrassing, didn’t even bother me all that much. It was the fact that she attempted to turn a two-hundred year old American classic (they don’t call it an anthem for nothing!) into her next radio single that irked me. It’s been going on for years now, but artistic freedom with the Anthem has gone way too far. I’m all for Christina singing it with passion and giving it some of her own personal touch, but contorting certain notes of the song to the point where I forgot what I was even listening to is not acceptable. If we want to hear your vocal range in all its glory, we’ll see you in concert—if you’re even still touring!

The Black Eyed Peas at halftime made me feel old. I didn’t see the appeal. Most of the songs sounded familiar, but didn’t bring up any emotions one way or the other. I enjoyed seeing Slash make a cameo, though I am sure Axl Rose spit up his beer after seeing Fergie give a karaoke-quality performance of “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Despite the fact that the performance didn’t do much for me, I understand the NFL and FOX shifting over to a pop act after years of legendary/AARP rockers like The Who, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. I’m hoping for Metallica next year, but I doubt I’ll get my wish.

I really didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the commercials, so I’d be foolish to give a review. On the whole, as the Super Bowls have gotten better in recent years, the commercials have seemingly declined—but I’ll take that trade.

While I’m being a bit negative…can NFL analysts and broadcasters stop fawning over Cowboys Stadium? It’s huge, it’s state of the art, has every modern amenity you can imagine; I get all that. But it’s a football stadium, not a luxury hotel. It’s a hunk of steel with astroturf on its floor, if you want to get down to it. Football is rough, gritty game. To talk about the aesthetic beauty of Jerry Jones’ “palace” just doesn’t jibe with that. So this place hosted a Super Bowl, but what else has taken place there? 400 fans were turned away from the big game because the NFL didn’t get the OK for a chunk of temporary seats; six people were injured by falling ice in the week leading up to the game; the movie theater screen that covers nearly the entire field has had a punt hit it; and a worker died during construction of this massive stadium. I’m not placing any blame on any one person or groups of people for those things, but let’s settle down before we consider this thing the NFL’s version of Disney World.

Despite some of my complaints, it was an enjoyable late afternoon watching Super Bowl XLV while scarfing down a double-double and fries from In-N-Out Burger.


Predicting the Super Bowl XLV Storylines

Super Bowl XLV is less than two weeks away, so prepare for nonstop coverage of the game from every angle possible from outlets like ESPN to E! Channel. I’ll give my thoughts and prediction on the game sometime next week. For now, here are predictions of a different sort: the stories we’ll be bombarded with from now until February 6.

The Obvious Ones

  • Ben Roethlisberger – You can be sure that we’ll be hearing plenty about Big Ben, and not just because he’s the Steelers’ quarterback. Roethlisberger’s fall from grace—which included a four-game suspension—was probably the biggest story of the NFL offseason. His ability to bounce back and supposedly mature will be front and center leading up to the Super Bowl.
  • Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers has gone from the guy who took over for Brett Favre in Green Bay to being an NFC-Champion quarterback in just three years. Expect to hear a lot more about how he waited behind Favre all those years and how he’s climbed the mountain to the point where he’s playing for a title.
  • Brett Favre – This could be a Patriots-Saints Super Bowl and somehow Brett Favre would find his way into the discussion. But the fact that the Packers have made it this far just three years after Favre took them to the brink of a Super Bowl in 2008 means that old gray beard will be talked about. Cue up the old highlights of Super Bowl XXXI where Favre was running toward the sidelines, hoisting his helmet high in the air in celebration after the Packers won their last Super Bowl.

The Less Obvious Ones, But Still Likely

  • Hines Ward/Donald Driver – Ward is 34 and Driver is 35 and the similarities don’t end there. Ward had the more productive career, but both were All-Pro WRs during their prime years and are now possibly getting their last cracks at winning it all; Ward already has two rings of course. One of the networks will probably try to get Ward and Driver side by side for an interview before February 6.
  • Mike Tomlin – Tomlin will look to become the first black head coach to win multiple titles. Tony Dungy is the only other to win a Super Bowl. There are currently seven black head coaches in the NFL, and Tomlin’s success can only continue that progress.
  • James Starks – Even the most serious NFL fans had probably never heard of this guy before the playoffs. But the Packers have finally settled on a full-time running back with Starks. The rookie sixth-round pick from the University of Buffalo will no longer be a secret: As a starting running back in a Super Bowl, Starks will get plenty of attention over the next week and a half.
  • Vince Lombardi – This isn’t the first Packers Super Bowl since Lombardi passed away over 40 years ago, but the current run of the Broadway show, Lombardi, has rekindled even more memories of the legendary coach.

If They Dig Deep Enough…

  • Shaun Suisham – The Steelers kicker was out of a job this season until Pittsburgh signed him on November 16. It came as a bit of a surprise as mainstay Jeff Reed was sent packing. The fact that Suisham went from jobless to kicking in a Super Bowl could be a story.
  • Hair – Somehow this will come up at some point. Between Troy Polamalu, Clay Matthews, and A.J. Hawk there are lots of long locks of many colors and styles. The fact that these guys are really good players will draw attention anyway, but you never know which network or newspaper will decide to focus on something that has as little to do with the game as hair length.
  • Primanti Bros./Ed Rendell vs. Bratwurst/Scott Walker – You can be sure that the tradition of a governors’ bet will be taking place. More than likely Pennsylvania governor—an Eagles fan by the way—Ed Rendell will send Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, a famous Primanti Bros. sandwich if the Packers win, while Walker would send Rendell a brat if the Steelers win. Or would the winning governor send the food? I don’t know. Whatever it is, there will be food exchanged by the states’ respective govs. They’ll probably do a jersey bet too, where the losing state’s head man has to wear the winning team’s jersey.
  • Cheese Heads vs. Terrible Towels – Good chance you’ll see a comparison of the favorite accessory of each of these teams. My research shows that the Terrible Towel has been around since 1975, while the Cheese Head has been worn proudly by Packer fans since 1987. We’ll see a more in-depth history lesson over the coming days I would think.
  • Miscellaneous – I can’t predict which players, but most likely during media day we’ll find out about a special talent or strange superstition that various players have. Player A takes stuff animals on road trips, Player B can yodel, Player C plays the oboe. You get the picture.