Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Weekend Hangover - Love/Hate


- Sean Payton, Drew Brees and Gregg Williams deserve every bit of praise they get after this game. The Saints won the game by staying aggressive, playing with nothing to lose and taking it to the Colts over and over again. They played like the team that wanted it more and for that they deserve credit.

Payton almost made himself the goat with a poor decision to go for it on 4th down trailing 10-3 late in the first half. Thankfully for him the Colts went ultraconservative (more on that below) and gave the Saints a chance to put points on the board and get momentum before the half. Yet Payton redeemed himself with an amazing onside kick call. The thing I liked about it was that Payton is known as an aggressive players coach and he stayed true to his colors on the biggest stage he has ever coached on.

Brees and the offense got off to a slow start but his stats by the end of the game were incredibly impressive, going 32-39 including 29 of his last 32. He was completely in command during the game, moving around in the pocket to get extra time and finding the right receivers at the right time. If you want a good article about Brees and how he has always been an ultracompetitive, great athlete despite not having the ultimate size to be a pro athlete, check out this article from Saturday’s NY Times.

Gregg Williams was masterful against Manning and the Colts offense. That ended an impressive run by the Saints by beating 5 Super Bowl winning quarterbacks during one season, culminating in a string of Kurt Warner, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. While normally this would vault Williams into contention for some head coaching positions, his past record coaching Buffalo (17-31) means he is probably best suited to just focus on being a defensive coordinator.

- Commercials :

While the commercials overall seem to get weaker every year, there were a few highlights. I always enjoy the E-Trade commercials with the baby. Loved the jealous girlfriend asking if “that milk-aholic Lindsey was over” – awesome. The Google commercial was the most intelligent commercial where they basically slammed an entire romantic comedy movie into a 30 second commercial all using Google searches. So much so that the girls made us go for an immediate replay. Also really loved the Jim Nantz commercial, particularly when he dropped the “How about No?” line on the guy. Although I don’t remember what the commercial was for – Dove for Men maybe?

Yet the highlight of the commercials for me was the dialogue among the group I was watching the game with during a local commercial in the second half for the NY lottery. The commercial shows an adult jumping into a huge pile of the play balls like at Chuck E. Cheese, which led to most everyone reacting with disgust because of the perception that kids like to pee in the balls. When one of the girls asked why, we guessed that it was because the kids were half buried, no one’s really looking and they’re little kids. To which she responded with perfect timing “Well it’s not like I pee under my desk because no one’s looking!” Great point. This may or may not have been the brandy talking, as we had easily polished off the bottle making brandy old fashioneds.

- The coverage from CBS – I didn’t see any shots of Kim Kardashian (did I miss it?) and minimal shots of the Manning family. They kept it a very clean telecast with a focus on a football game that was very cleanly played (minimal penalties) and dramatic, though not as high scoring as many (myself included) predicted. Can someone please get musicians under 50( or 70?) for the halftime show in the next few years. The music of The Who is fine, just not during halftime of the Super Bowl. I mean, did they keep their walkers and defibrilators next to the stage during the show? They had their “farewell” tour 30 years ago!! I understand they need to keep it safe since the Janet Jackson episode, but wouldn’t Kenny Chesney be safe? Wouldn’t Carrie Underwood be safe? (at least she got the National Anthem) Jay-Z? Beyonce? Alicia Keyes? There are quite a few options for musicians that don’t have to go backstage after the show and toast a nice glass of Metamucil.

- Was there any more of a sure thing than this year's Hall of Fame class including Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith? Other than betting on Carrie Underwood looking impressive to sing the National Anthem, it was the safest bet you could possibly make this weekend (as evidenced by my incorrect pick on the game and the over). And while Emmitt had a horrendous run attempting to make it as an ESPN commentator, he gave a great interview talking about his father telling him that he had lived both of their dreams during his life. That was pretty cool.

On a somewhat related topic that probably belongs under the "hate" category, did anyone have a worse week/weekend than the NFL Network? Michael Irvin gets accused of sexual assault in a civil suit. Warren Sapp gets arrested for domestic abuse on his girlfriend. Both are NFL Network contributors. Ouch.


- Didn’t like the Snickers/Betty White commercial. I thought it was way overrated and not that funny. Yes, it was somewhat comical that Betty White got tackled in the mud. But then taking a bite of a Snickers bar turned the guy back into a wimpy looking toolbox. So let me make sure I have the commercial right – if you don’t eat Snickers, you are Betty White. If you do eat Snickers, you’re a nerdy looking wimp? I don’t really like my options, so I’m going to pass on the Snickers and maybe build a house out of Bud Light. Probably not the message the people at Snickers were looking for.

And last add on commercials – do you really think Brett Favre is driving a Hyundai? Once again proving it’s about the money for him, he does an add with Hyundai when I can’t see him behind the wheel of anything that’s not an Escalade, pick up truck or SUV. And didn’t Sears already exploit the whole indecisiveness in a commercial?

- Are the Colts the Atlanta Braves of the NFL? The Braves won countless consecutive division titles and multiple World Series appearances during the 90’s. They had the best pitching staff in baseball with John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and others including Steve Avery. Yet they only have one World Championship, which came in 1995. The Colts have won the most games of any team in the NFL during the decade and have won their division almost every year. They also have the most prolific passer in the game in Peyton Manning. And after all of that, they only have one title and Peyton Manning is 9-9 in the playoffs. I’m too lazy to look up the actual numbers, but I would guess more than half of those games have been at home or as favorites because of their strong regular seasons.

- Enough with the whole “winning a Super Bowl saves the city” story. Honestly, winning a Super Bowl does not rebuild the homes in the Lower Ninth Ward. I get that they love their Saints and this gives them a sense of pride. Yet when the party ends in a week or two, they still have to go back to the neighborhood where half the houses are still boarded up. I guess at least they’ll be standing in the wreckage with a smile on their face?

- How did 2004 Peyton Manning somehow take over Peyton 2009’s body and play the Super Bowl? Calling 3 running plays near the end of the half, locking in good field position for the Saints and allowing them to get a FG to make up for the momentum they lost when failing on 4th down the previous possession? He suddenly went from the robotic guy with the cold, calculating stare knowing he was sizing up and dissecting the other team to the unsure, indecisive guy that couldn’t beat the Patriots.

- I don’t know if Reggie Wayne was more hurt than anyone let on, but he did not look right. And he flat out dropped the final pass, which would have brought the Colts within a touchdown and given them a chance for an onside kick.

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