Super Bowl XLVIII, quite mercifully, is over. Here are my random thoughts following Seattle’s 43-8 annihilation of Denver.
- You have to be careful when using the phrase “I feel sorry for (fill in in the blank)” but if you have half a heart, you must feel a bit for Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his family afterwards. It was an epic comeback season for a guy who not long ago could barely throw the ball and yet somehow not only broke several major single-season NFL records, but was also named the league’s MVP as well as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. It could have ended with an exclamation point and perhaps even discussion of Manning as the greatest quarterback ever. Instead, Manning will again be dogged by all the “can’t-win-the-big-one” talk that has followed him around since his days at the University of Tennessee.
- Regardless of where your allegiances lie, you have to feel a bit for the first family of football, which has represented the NFL as well as anyone ever could, but will now hear months of talk on how Peyton failed in the big game again.
- On that topic, the thing I hate more than anything is how much quarterbacks get disproportionate blame and criticism for winning or falling on the big stage. Just a reminder, here are some quarterbacks who won Super Bowls; tell me where these guys rank on the pantheon of quarterback greatness: Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson. If you want to set the bar a little higher: Daryle Lamonica, Jim McMahon, Doug Williams and (it may be unfair to put him here since his career’s so young, but…) Joe Flacco.
- I’m still not sure exactly what Percy Harvin’s place in the NFL is, but how good would the Seahawks, who got him for just one regular-season game this year, have been with him for an entire season?
- When the Broncos were down 29-0 and had the ball on fourth-and-11 at Seattle’s 39, was anyone else incredulous that John Fox punted in that situation? Your chances of winning the game are already next-to- nil at that point and probably nil if you give the ball away. A punt’s not going to net you a lot of yards in field position, so why not try to convert? Eleven yards, in today’s NFL, is not that much, especially when Manning’s your quarterback.
- Speaking of ridiculous, the NFL has taken its crackdown on the use of the phrase “Super Bowl” to a new level. I always roll my eyes when I hear those commercials advertising a “Big Game Party” for that reason, so hats off to comedian Steven Colbert for his jab at the league.
- I’m sure that the invention of the DVR has killed advertisers over the years as viewers tape games, delay their start and speed through the commercials to see game action only. But for anyone watching Sunday’s game on delay, this may have been the only time in the history of a major American sporting event that people actually forwarded through the game in order to see the ads.