Sports column by Andy Kirkaldy: Extra thoughts on Sunday’s super broadcast
Call this the Super Bowl leftovers column. I don’t mean the quesadillas and guacamole I pulled out of the Kenmore for Monday lunch, but a few random afterthoughts about the game and broadcast. If I find my writing momentum stalling, I’ll go into a dark room for half an hour and try to regroup.
Let’s start with the main event. Few of the Super Bowl commercials lived up to the hype. Minnesotans talking Jamaican patois was insulting. Old folks partying? Was this original, or was it a “Cocoon” remake? And although I’m sure many fellow geeks dreamed of changing places with the guy on the godaddy.com ad, I sure didn’t want to watch.
But listening to Paul Harvey’s paean to farmers set against a backdrop of still images? That was pretty cool, especially because I recently interviewed a farmer who does most of that stuff Harvey talked about and really has been on the town school board for years (and now the selectboard, too).
Secondly, the halftime show hit the mark. Beyoncé showed plenty of energy and actually sang, “Crazy in Love” is a great tune, and the multiple images were fun. I liked U-2 and Springsteen’s Super Bowl performances better, but Mrs. Carter rated a solid B+.
The funny stuff came afterward: People actually complained Beyoncé’s performance and costume were too “risqué.” One poll on nbcnews.com was running 51-49 toward the too-racy tilt on Tuesday. I’m assuming the digital equivalent of ballot-box stuffing was at work, but still.
One question: Do any of these people ever watch NFL broadcasts? You know, the ones where the camera constantly shows the scantily clad cheerleaders? At least Beyoncé has demonstrable talent. More power to her.
Third, there were the announcers. Sadly. As usual, I avoided all shows before the game (Typical sample: “You know, Dan, the team that is better prepared will win.”), analysis at halftime (Sample: “The Ravens took better care of the ball and converted in the red zone, and that’s why they’re ahead.”) and postgame wrap-up (Sample: “The Ravens made the plays when they had to.”).
But it’s hard to escape them during the game. Phil Simms typically at one point said he didn’t want to second-guess play-calling. OK, if he’s not going to do that, what is he there for?
He even lacked the nerve to challenge the Ravens’ curious decision to call for a fake field goal on fourth-and-nine. No one ever pointed out that it might not have been the smartest thing to risk having a 250-pound 49er linebacker break Raven kicker Justin Tucker in two before halftime. Tucker is generously listed at six feet tall, 180 pounds, for the record. Ah well, what can you expect from people making seven figures a year?
Then there was the officiating. Look, I didn’t have a dog in this hunt. I had a slight preference for San Francisco because to the best of my knowledge, only Baltimore had a guy who was in a limo with a group of people who murdered two other people at the 2000 Super Bowl — Ray Lewis, who nonetheless claimed God was on his side in Sunday’s game. Ray must be doing some good work on the other Nine Commandments, I guess.
But I liked the Baltimore Harbaugh better than the SF Harbaugh (maybe it’s an older brother thing, but more so I appreciate the way John H. treats his daughter on the sideline).
So I’m pretty objective. And that was a hold on Crabtree on fourth-and-goal, and a non-called offensive pass interference on Ravens’ receiver Torrey Smith earlier in the game, to name two. It was an unfortunately poorly called game.
One last note on what might have been the biggest upset of the playoffs: Nate Silver isn’t perfect.
The man who correctly predicted all 50 states in November’s Presidential election called it for the 49ers. Even Silver can’t win them all.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]
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