Monday, February 5, 2007

24 Hours Later

I'm back in LA now, having hitched a ride with Lance this morning. I've only had about 10 hours of sleep in the past 3 days, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to form many coherent thoughts. But I'll give it a shot...

The Game
I have to agree with the Doc: In a way, the game was anticlimactic. Even when the clock was ticking down to zero, something seemed missing. I guess I expecte it to be some magical moment, when all of life's problems would be solved. Wars would end, disputes would be resolved, famines would end, and economic disparity would be erased. Doc's on to something with the Patriots game. The win over the Pats was HUGE. Want to know what it felt like for Indy fans? Watch this. Beating the Pats was throwing the ring in the volcano, while the Super Bowl was kind of like the rest of 'Return of the King': A long, long wait that just couldn't quite top the climactic moment from two weeks earlier. But don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I think there's something else going on though. I was sick of seeing my team lose games they were supposed to win. They were supposed to beat the Patriots in 2004 but got clobbered 20-3. They were supposed to beat the Steelers last year but choked. They were supposed to beat the Titans in 2000 and couldn't win then either. I watched the Super Bowl yesterday fearing yet another loss in a game that my team was supposed to win. As a result, I think I ended up fearing a loss than I did savoring a win. It's a subtle difference, but it may explain why after the game I felt more relief than elation.

I'm not as upset about the selection of Manning as others. My own pick was Dom Rhodes, but as the MSNBC's Sunny Wu pointed out, Rhodes and Addai sort of cancelled each other out in MVP balloting. Addai had more all purpose yards and weakened the Bears front, but Rhodes had the TD and the big second half run to put the Colts deep in Bears territory. As it was Manning kind of won by default, as picking the QB of the winning team seems to be the default strategy for picking an MVP when no one player stands out.

It's just too bad that there has to be one single MVP and whatever committee decides the award can't say 'The Co-Winners were Addai, Rhodes, Manning, Sanders, the Offensive Line, and the Defensive front 7', because you could make a compelling case for any of them. I was glad to see Rhodes get included in the Disney World commercial with Tony Dungy though. When Edgerrin James went down with a knee injury a couple years back, it was Rhodes who stepped in and picked up 1,000 yards as an undrafted rookie.

Black Sunday
One of the big stories this week was that both Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy were African Americans. Some would argue that the story was overplayed. Most of those 'some' were white guys. There was even a spattering of groans at the party when Dungy commented in the post game about the significance of being the first African American coach to win the Super Bowl.

But an interesting thing happened. After the game, an African-American friend of mine called me to congratulate me on the Colts. During the conversation, he mentioned how proud he was of Dungy being the first African coach to win the Super Bowl. To him it mattered. To him it meant something that an African American coach won the Super Bowl. So, while it's easy for white guys to think that the whole black-coach-wins-Super-Bowl story was inflated by the media, it's really not a white guy's place to decide the importance of the issue.

* (Asterisk)
Conventional wisdom heading into the playoffs was that the Colts would go only as far as Peyton Manning could carry them. With their Historically Bad Defense (TM), Larry Johnson, Jamal Lewis, and Ladanian Tomlinson were expected to total about 500 yards each. That is, assuming Manning could put up 70 points per game to keep up with the monster running backs.

History has proven conventional wisdom to be wrong. One would say it was Historically Bad Conventional Wisdom (TM). The defense stuffed Larry Johnson, neutered Steve McNair, gave up only a few bad plays against New England (the Special Teams did not help out the Defense much in that game, giving up huge punt and kick returns), and forced turnovers against Chicago. We at Three-And-Out do not have a statistics bureau, but I'd have to guess that Indy's defense was one of the higher ranking PLAYOFF defenses in the last 20 years.

So, how will History ultimately remember them? As the Swiss cheese unit from the regular season, or the hard-hitting, drive-stopping unit in the playoffs? I'm guessing there will be an asterisk in the record books. Yes, they were the statistically worst defensive unit to win the Super Bowl, but some time just after New Years Day, the entire squad went into a giant telephone booth and turned into Supermen.

I didn't take notes on the commercials. Like most I found the crop this year to be sub-par at best. My three faves:

1) The Bud Hitchhiker ad: Probably one of those ads that's only good for a laugh the first time, but well done. The guy with the axe in the back seat exclaiming 'But he's got a CHAIN SAW!' was comedy gold.

2) K-Fed: I'll always give props to a person who can poke fun at himself.

3) Taco Bell's Lions: I actually liked the pre-Super Bowl ad better, where the lions make their move on the safari camp's dinner and ask 'Got any sour cream?', but the rolling rrrrr's was good too.

And 3 goats?

3) - It came across like spam email in Super Bowl Ad form. Get rich! Get great cars! And hot girls! But it was wasn't just the concept, but the execution. I couldn't keep track of who was who.

2) Topless men fawning over a Chevy. Just.... Eh. At first it looked like a play on the ad, showing topless men gyrating all over a Chevy and some punchline about how they were blatantly going for the female viewers. But the guys were, well, unattractive and wince-worthy. I'm still not quite sure what the point of the commercial was.

1) Snickers - Planes, Trains, & Automobiles has proven that the accidental male touching thing can be funny. But in PT&A it's funny because it seemed NATURAL. Two guys forced to share a bed who wind up cuddling in their sleep. The Snickers ad seemed equally UN-NATURAL. I mean, in what world does Man A see a candy bar sticking out of Man B's mouth and he's so hungry that he just starts devouring it? And then Man B lets him?! He doesn't slug him in the gut and say 'get your own!' If they were so worried about being 'unmanly', why were they playing Lady and the Tramp with the Snickers bar to begin with??

Condi Rice, when asked who she wanted to win the Super Bowl:
"Indianapolis. I'm fine either way. I like Chicago. I like Lovie Smith. I like Indianapolis. I like Tony Dungy. But, for me, I'd like Peyton Manning to get this done. Great quarterbacks ought to have the Super Bowl."

Condi & Peyton, sittin' in a tree...

After the game someone hooked up one of the new Nintendo Wii gaming systems. I hadn't seen one yet, but I have to say I was impressed. Not because of the games themselves though, which resembled a cross between an acid trip and a Mexican variety show. No, I was impressed because the system actually encourages physical activity. Jumping, arm waving, spinning, dancing, etc. Okay, maybe it's not going outside and playing soccer or jumping rope, but I think it's a big deal for a country that has seen its population get fatter and more lethargic.

And on that note, I'm going to call it a day

Now Playing on the iPod: Nothing. It's in the re-charger. I've been filling my ears instead with nonstop sports radio and absorbing the Colts-love.

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