I figure that someone somewhere in New Orleans is still drinking to the Saints’ Super Bowl victory whenever you’re reading this, so some final thoughts on the game are still timely.
Through most of the game, I delayed any decision on whom to root for, and it wasn’t because I wanted to back the front-runner — after all, I’ve been a fan of Clemson basketball for 40 years. Nothing against the Indianapolis Colts, who play the game well and tend to be good citizens — though I didn’t buy quarterback Peyton Manning’s excuse for leaving the field without shaking hands with Saints players following the game.
But, lacking a rooting interest, the old sports writer in me usually ends up pulling for the best story, which was clearly the Saints. I’m glad they rewarded one of the NFL’s most loyal fan bases, which has historically gotten minimal return on their emotional investment. Not to mention the well-chronicled trauma the city of New Orleans has been through in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The New Orleans Times-Picayune’s front page from Monday captures the feeling.
And I loved the shots of Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his young son after the game was over. The TV cameras captured it and the announcers stayed out of the way — a nice job all around.
To be honest, a DVR glitch caused me to miss just about all of The Who’s halftime show when I went out for wings. (And no disrespect to surviving band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, but it’s like getting Paul and Ringo together and calling them The Beatles.) Apparently they did a creditable job of doing what these classic rock performers have been called upon to do at halftime in recent years — deliver a brief medley of the big hits without suffering a “wardrobe malfunction.” But here’s one critic who disagreed.
And finally, there was the usual round of commercials, as big an attraction for some folks as the game. I enjoyed the Google spot and have always found Budweiser’s “Clydesdale” ads nostalgic and evocative.
But the biggest non-story turned out to be the ad that received the most pre-game hype. The Focus on the Family spot featuring University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was anti-climactic after the huge furor from women’s groups and proponents of abortion rights leading up to its airing. The spot itself was inoffensive and the message positive, although what the critics were expecting is probably addressed in a lengthier video on the organization’s website, which is touted at the end of the spot. Click here and draw your own conclusions.
I’ve seen some conservative bloggers crowing about how Dr. James Dobson and his organization put one over on “the Left,” and the public relations strategy was indeed clever. Let the other side make a mountain out of a molehill and end up looking silly.
But there’s a lesson here for anyone, right or left, who wants to pass judgment on a creative work — find out what it says first. (I’ve also read my share of stories about conservative “culture wars” protests against books, plays, movies, etc., where the objectors have never read or seen what they’re so worked up about or take things out of context.)
Anyway, this brouhaha was the only controversial note in one of the few events left in American society where Republicans and Democrats alike can attend the same party without throwing the guacamole at one another. Let’s hope that it endures.