• I'm glad I watched this game with friends. That's probably the only reason I didn't turn it off in the first half and miss the more-interesting second half. Being in a room divided between teams added a competitive, albeit friendly, element to the evening.
• Obviously, this game was not going to top last year's for a Saints fan like me. I knew that going in. In recent years, we've had several interesting (to me, anyway) story lines:
XLIV - Saints win in first Super Bowl
XLIII - Cardinals lose first Super Bowl in final play of game
XLII - Wild-card Giants beat unbeatable Patriots
XLI - Colts beat Bears in first rainy Super Bowl
XL - Seahawks lose their first Super Bowl
Packers-Steelers combines a lot of history, so it had that going for it, at least. But after the past several years of genuinely riveting games, it was pretty much a letdown by design for me.
• I pulled for Green Bay, but I didn't feel like either team played to the potential both showed during the season. Neither team did anything remotely innovative, which I guess makes sense considering that they both struggled with basic plays like screen passes and kicks. Somebody could have done a reverse, at least. Oh, and there were enough teammates running into each other for an entire season of Tosh.0 web redemptions.
• This is perhaps the first Super Bowl where I noticed the tackling. It seemed to take one of two forms: 1) dramatic flipping and/or leveling; or 2) no wrapping-up at all. Green Bay in particular seemed more interesting in forcing a turnover than stopping the Pittsburgh ball-carriers. Granted, the Pack got several turnovers, but a few more tackles might have made this a 42-0 ballgame.
• I'm pretty sure Mike Tomlin's beard visibly grew over the course of the game.
• Seeing Clay Matthews and Kevin Greene together blew my mind. I haven't seen that much collective blond hair occupying the same space since the Nelson brothers were popular.
• Speaking of Nelson, I kept wanting to make a pair of pop-culture references every time Jordy Nelson made (or almost made) a play: 1) Little Jordy, the 5-year-old French pop phenom from the early '90s who became a symbol of child labor; and 2) "Nelson is back," a nod to a book my brother and I had as kids, "Miss Nelson is Back." But I seriously doubt any of my friends would have registered either reference. I know way too much obscure trivia. I should write for SportsCenter.
• Oh, Fox. I like Cletus the robot. I like your hosts and announcers, even if they make me cringe at times. But this lengthy spate of ads for your own shows reminded me of those filler ads in phone books that say, "Find it here in the Yellow Pages!" Not that the commercials themselves were much better. Maybe we've raised the bar too high for clever spots, but only a few even approached qualifying height. And I'm saying that as someone who watches the Super Bowl for the game.
Not to mention, I was absolutely floored to see two separate commercials that featured hits to the nuts, and I wasn't watching ESPN Classic.
And will Fox and every other network please stop trying to tie football games to their prime-time shows? If I wanted to watch American Glee Idol, I would. This is indicative of a larger trend, one that's probably inevitable these days but is still annoying: trying to pull in all demographics. Frankly, I hate this trend. It's cool to try to have something for everyone, but don't overdo it. There seems to be an aftertaste of cross-promotional barf in everything these days. I'm ready for some football! And the Gleeks are ready for Glee. Church and state, baby.
• I confused half the movie trailers for other movies. For a few brief seconds on Sunday night, I thought "Avatar 2" and "Indiana Jones 5" were opening in 2011. Thanks for the false hope, Hollywood!
• I physically recoiled the first time I heard the Black Eyed Peas were going to play the halftime show. I was driving at the time and that could have turned out very badly. I have nothing against the Black Eyed Peas and even like many of their songs, but the booking just screamed, "overcompensation." It seems like they've never been able to find a good balance for the halftime shows. First they were too pedestrian, then they were too risque, then they were too old, and now they may have skewed too young. I think this is only going to get worse as boomer acts age and today's stars have increasingly narrower audiences. That said, however, I am eager to see how future halftime shows play out. I'd like them even to consider non-musical acts, just to try something different. I can dream, can't I?
• ESPN - I see your graphic says, "Moving on beyond Favre." Maybe you should try it!
• Tonight's game did get interesting near the end. It'll be one that Packers and Steelers fans aren't likely to forget, though I'll probably find myself Googling it in a few years as I sometimes have to do.
At least I got invited to three parties this year. Last year, my Missouri friends didn't want to be with the intense Saints fan. I don't blame them. This time, at least, I got in my long-overdue trash-talking with the Colts fan. Made the whole event worthwhile.