Is there anybody in America who was not watching that game last night? Midway through the fourth quarter, long after the excruciating pre-game shows had become just a horrible memory, I asked Carrie-Anne, “Who’s not watching this?” Is it even humanly possible for someone, anyone, even a non-football fan, to flip over to the game to check it out and then after 15 seconds say to themselves, “Nah, let’s see what else is on.”
(Quick aside on Fox’s broadcast: I understand it’s the Super Bowl, I understand selling ads and creating product to use as a conduit for those ads, and I understand the network wanting to make their broadcast bigger and better than anyone else’s before them. I get all that. But Ryan Seacrest on a contrived red carpet? I thought it was insulting. I thought it was insulting to all real football fans, I thought it was insulting to the movie stars and entertainers he interviewed, and insulting to the human race as they shamelessly used that red carpet to plug their own shows and specials. I don’t want to see Paula Abdul lip-syncing her new song one hour before kickoff. I don’t want Nick Lachey’s Super Bowl prediction. I don’t want Seacrest asking some unknown B-movie actor to comment on how great Tom Brady is, especially in light of the “scrutinization” he’s under. Frank Caliendo delivered a good line in questioning Fox’s choice of Seacrest, “What? They couldn’t get Richard Simmons?”)
The numbers are in. Last night’s Super Bowl was the second most watched American television broadcast in the history of civilization. An estimated 9.7-million people watched the Giants ruin the Patriots’ story, second only to the 106-million who viewed the final episode of M*A*S*H in 1983.
Who couldn’t watch it? Who wasn’t captured by it? I’m still having a hard time believing what I saw. It reminded me so much of Texas and USC in the BCS game in the Rose Bowl three years ago. Southern Cal was already being coronated as the greatest team in the history of college football. Even during the game the broadcasters were calling them the greatest ever. And Texas pulled off the upset. Just like the Giants last night.
This is why we watch sports, right? Because we never know how it’s going to turn out. It’s the only true reality television. The plots were set. The scripts were written. We knew the outcome. The whole world knew. And then the Giants played better and harder and came up with some huge plays at critical times and gave us more excitement and drama than we ever anticipated. I still can’t believe what I saw.
We were rooting hard for the Giants, but not nearly as hard as we were rooting against the Pats. Maybe New England’s kind of become the Yankees or Notre Dame with their championships AND their attitude. Maybe it’s just Belichick’s demeanor or refusal to follow the rules. I think I’d like to see somebody go 19-0 some day. Just not them. I think I’d like it to be unexpected when it happens. Like if Denver or Seattle were to do it next year.
I did lose the exotic wager I made on the game. I owe Kevin Welch a Dr Pepper because the game ended after 9:00 instead of before 9:00. If Tom Petty had played three songs instead of four, I would have won that bet.
Congratulations to Eli, who’s a little more likeable and realistic—less robotic and corporate—than his brother Peyton. Kudos to the Giants D, David Tyree, and Tom Coughlin, who was almost fired in week three. And hats off to the giant Doritos rat, the e-trading baby, the screaming forest animals, Alice Cooper, and the heart that just quit and walked out the door.
25 more weeks ’til training camp.