A super Super Bowl

Tonight’s Super Bowl XLIII (I agree with the writers who have said enough with the Roman numerals already) extends what has been an encouraging trend of recent years in the NFL championship game — competitive and watchable games. Out of the last eight Super Bowls, five have been decided by fewer than five points.

Being former Pittsburghers, we’re happy about the Steelers’ victory. In two years there, we never made it to a Steelers game, but it wasn’t hard to get caught up in the enthusiasm for the team. It’s a team that’s always reflected the ‘Burgh’s blue-collar ethos, tough and durable.

But Jayne was just a little conflicted. She seemed quite taken with the Arizona team’s “scowling cardinal” logo as we watched the Cardinals’ surprising march through the playoffs.

You can find all the analysis and game coverage you want elsewhere, but a couple of thoughts about some of the associated events:

— not sure I was terribly impressed with any of the commercials this year. I think I’ll have to watch them on Hulu before I talk about them with my classes.

— I liked the moment after the game where one of the Super Bowl’s first superstars, former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, a native western Pennsylvanian, delivered the Lombardi Trophy to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the post-game awarding. He looked genuinely happy for the Steelers, slapping hands and congratulating them. Seeing him made us both realize how long we’ve been around.

“I remember when he was hot,” Jayne said, noting the bespectacled Namath’s graying hair and lined face.

“That was 40 years ago,” I said.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four decades since the historic Super Bowl III upset victory by the Namath-led Jets of the AFL over the NFL champion Baltimore Colts. If you know me personally, you can ask me about my search for Namath on a trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to cover another event in the spring of 1975. I won’t bore you with it here.

— You also know you’re getting old when the edgy and controversial “guitar heroes” of your younger days are now considered middle-of-the-road enough to be the Super Bowl halftime entertainment. Bruce Springsteen, looking a little thicker around the middle (as did some of his fans, actually) than when we saw him at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in 1992, did a creditable job of running through some of his hits in the halftime extravanganza. The E Street Band sounded pretty good, too, But I’d have to say that it didn’t top Prince’s rocking performance at the 2008 Super Bowl.

So scoff if you will, youngsters, but in a couple of decades it might be Coldplay or L’il Wayne, looking a little grayer and heavier, belting out their hits backed by a light show.

And if we wait long enough it might be safe for Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake to come back, when the risk of a hearing aid malfunction might be the biggest thing to worry about.

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About theoldperfessor

I'm a college professor, teaching journalism and public relations classes at a small private university, and a freelance writer.
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