On the Super Bowl
First off, it wasn't so super. I remember when the 49ers trounced the Broncos 55-10 in 1990. Most of my friends who weren't die-hard Niner fans mentioned how awful the game was. After a struggle to see their point, I admitted that it was such a blowout, that it wouldn't be much fun unless you bled red and gold.
That's not the reason this game sucked. First of all, Matt Hasselback was the better quarterback, and his QB rating was something like 67.8. Um...that ain't good. Roethlisberger was pathetic, even if you include the touchdown he didn't score.
All that being said, Mike Holmgren's post-game remarks about not realizing he had to play against the officials is nothing more than whining and being a bad loser. Yes, there were some questionable calls - two, really, and both went against the Hawks. But had they played even reasonably well aside from those, they would have killed the Steelers who played poorly throughout. Seattle did not do this, and they lost.
On those calls...
The first was Darrell Jackson getting called for offensive pass interference in the endzone on a play where he caught a TD. Was there contact? Sure. Was it egregious? Not even close. Receivers do that on almost every play, and a Super Bowl is not the place to call 'touch' plays like that. I look at it this way - had the official kept the flag in his pocket, Steelers fans would have been upset, but not massively so. And by the second half, they would have forgotten about it entirely. Just a JOKE of a call.
The second was Ben Roethlisberger's touchdown "run." Even Big Ben says he doesn't think he got in, which tells you everything you need to know. The bigger question is why officials couldn't determine this on replay. The follow-up question is, would Pittsburgh have gone for it on 4th and inches? Post game, they said they would have...but what else are they going to say? I'm not so sure they wouldn't have kicked a field goal...and I'm also not convinced they would have scored had they tried to blast it in.
So that's a 14 point swing, or 11 if you assume Pittsburgh would have kicked in a chipshot. And the Steelers won by...11 points. Hmm. All I'm saying is, Seattle fans have a right to feel slighted...but they also can't possibly imagine they DESERVED to win, given how the team played.
And here is the deal with that -- in the long run, this is a good thing. It seems to me that there is a LOT of press about the crap officiating, and the NFL is nothing if not image conscious. In some way, they are going to have to make some modifications. The best way is to make the officials year-round employees, something the NBA and MLB long ago did. It's just plain reasonable to expect them to be better at this job if its the only one they have. If they band-aid it, it's not a solution, but in any event, they'll have to address this issue...and that's a good thing.
A few other notes. Were the commercials just wholly uninteresting this year, or was I distracted? I was unpacking most of the game so it's possibly the latter...but I haven't heard any chatter about commercials after the game the way I have in years past. Even the Go Daddy girl was a snoozefest, I thought. (On that note, going to the above site is...interesting. She's a pretty girl in a blown-out, plasticky way. But she looks completely different in half the photos...almost all of them better than the Go Daddy brunette look. And I like brunettes. Just interesting how they chose to make her look. I've also heard that the CEO of this company is a hard right-wing Bush lover, so, fuck Go Daddy. OK. Done.)
The biggest disappointment of the game for me is that with all the MVP's, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana weren't there. Regardless of why that happened, it's almost not worth having the ceremony without those two guys. And...it seems impossible to ignore the reports that Montana wanted $100,000 to be there. I'd discount it but stories like these usually have legs for a reason, and that's just insanely disappointing. Given his wealth, I'm assuming it was actually less about the check and more about priorities - that he decided he'd rather be with his family unless there was a compelling monetary reason to be there. And that's still just not right. The NFL doesn't do nearly what it should for its veterans, but guys like Montana would have been working in a mine in Pittsburgh if the NFL weren't around. Does it hurt so much to give back a little? Look at Tom Brady, who had to be crushed he wasn't playing in the game...he showed up for the freakin coin flip (in a velvet jacket, nonetheless).
Say it ain't so, Joe. Say it ain't so.