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Monday, February 7, 2011
Power Rankings: Super ironic

By Greg Hardy
Special to Page 2

Don't bother showing your ticket, because it's standing room only for the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Greg Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, our computer has been busy interviewing for a political reporting job since it heard about the AOL/Huffington Post merger. When it doesn't know something about international affairs, it will make up an answer and say it was info that was posted on WikiLeaks. To the results!

1. Super Bowl ironies

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.7 9.5 19.2

Credentials: Well, we survived another Super Bowl. It's the ultimate American sport, because not only do we deify the winners, we treat the losers like they never should have shown up in the first place. There's no time for subtlety, and we never recognize the ironies. For instance, how can it be that on our biggest holiday of sports celebrations, the referees are still allowed to throw a flag for excessive celebration? There's taunting everywhere that the on-the-field outcome added up to one of the worst years of losses for the bookies, but it's hardly like Vegas is in danger of going out of business Wednesday. Meanwhile, one of the biggest payoffs was that people who had $900 tickets but no place to sit will get triple the face value back for the inconvenience -- but will still be out more than $1,000 because they blew $4,000 on each seat in the first place. And that's the moral of the story -- if you think anything at the Super Bowl can be taken at face value, we've got front-row seats to next year's Big Game we'd love to sell you.


2. Aaron Rodgers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.2 9.2 18.4

Credentials: How great is this Big Cheese? Not only did he deserve the Super Bowl MVP award, Jerry Jones could have saved his debacle of a week if he would have hastily arranged a postgame ceremony in which Alex Rodriguez would have been forced out of his luxury suite to surrender the nickname of "A-Rod." Meanwhile, food suppliers? If we don't have a Cameron Diaz-endorsed line of popcorn on shelves by this summer, you were paying too much attention to the commercials and not enough to the game coverage.


3. National anthem freestyling

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.6 8.5 17.1

Credentials: Poor Christina Aguilera. We can just imagine her assuring us this was an accident of nerves: "I would never do anything to disrespect the flag or the red, white and mauve!" And while she'll eventually be back in the national anthem game, we wouldn't risk letting her try to recite the Declaration of Independence before the next Super Bowl.


4. Seating fiasco

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.9 7.8 15.7

Credentials: How is it possible that 400 people with tickets were unable to sit in their rightful seats because of safety codes? If we were on the case, our last-ditch strategy would be based on the assumption that surely the greater Dallas area has enough rusted-out Camaros in the surrounding parking lots that we could have boosted the bucket seats and arranged them around the field of play. Then, what the heck, let the customers take 'em home as the ultimate souvenir.


5. The commercials

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.0 7.7 14.7

Credentials: No matter which ad was your favorite or which you hated the most, the one that deserves the most examination is the NFL's own spot in which the league re-dressed nostalgic TV characters in licensed gear. And while it's all well and good that the world is finally aware that ALF is the universe's only Carolina Panthers fan, which TV characters were left on the cutting room floor? Does The Cape have a Raiders shield on his cape? Does The Situation have a Buffalo Bills tattoo on his six-pack? Does Carrie Bradshaw have a Steelers tramp stamp? Fans with too much time on your hands, start whipping up YouTube clips.


6. Halftime makeovers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.1 6.6 12.7

Credentials: Is the bordering-on-parody performance by the "Slash Eyed Ushers" the final sign that Super Bowl halftime as we know it is broken beyond repair? At the least, we'll find out how much of a control freak commissioner Roger Goodell really is: If all this halftime sniping compels him to grab a banjo and declare himself next year's entertainment, we're in for a treat.


7. Mets money

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.5 11.3

Credentials: Forget spring training. We're hooked on following the accusations that the ballclub's owners were complicit in never calling rat on $300 million in false profits from Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Look at the bright side, Mets fans: Even if the club is forced to pay back the victims, at least you don't have any World Series hardware of late you'd have to forfeit to anyone.


8. NBA trade deadline

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.6 10.8

Credentials: If the New York Knicks are desperate for ways to figure out how to pry Carmelo Anthony out of Denver by Feb. 24, maybe they can secretly ask the Mets if they need help in making any extra hidden Madoff money disappear. It would then just hinge on convincing the Nuggets' owners that Ponzi money doesn't come in marked bills.


9. John Madden

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.4 10.7

Credentials: Seeing you sit next to George Bush, we couldn't figure out which alternate universe we'd rather live in: One where you're vice president of the United States, or one where W. is your play-by-play man in the booth.


10. "Imported From Detroit"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.7 5.5 10.2

Credentials: Dear Motor City: Hey, tap the brakes! You've convinced us. No more cheap jokes at your expense, lest we look out the window and see Eminem pulling up in his Chrysler 200 so he can beat us up. You've got us so pumped up about your town, we can't wait to see what ads you come up with when the Lions win the Super Bowl. Or cover the spread in a Thanksgiving Day game, whichever comes first.


11. Daytona 500

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.8 4.7 9.5

Credentials: NASCAR's season opener is right around the corner, and tweaks are still being made to the rules in time for the Feb. 20 race. Hey, Chief Gearheads, are you going to bow to network pressure that your races might be too long? Any event on the schedule could easily be finished in under three hours if you try this: Whoever wins the pole each week is allowed to borrow one of the fighter jets once they're done with the flyover.


12. Texas fail

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.6 4.3 8.9

Credentials: Dear Jerry Jones, here's the good news about your prospects of luring the Super Bowl back to Cowboys Stadium in our lifetime: You can pitch it that all the screw-ups that were endured mean that the bar is set so low, no matter what happens in the Ice Cave next time it will be considered a King Kong belt-buckle-sized success. In the meantime, we're sure your to-do list is a mile long, but we'd like to add this: Always make sure the coin that's sent out for the opening toss never uses as its heads the likeness of Nate Newton.


13. Terrible Towels

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.1 2.4 4.5

Credentials: Sorry, Steelers fans. Your good-luck charm didn't work this time. But with the labor situation putting so much uncertainty in the air, at least we know you're going to keep waving it proudly no matter what. Besides, no one wants Pittsburgh's most televised piece of yellow fabric flapping around in public to be Ben Roethlisberger's boxer shorts.


Also receiving votes
• Tom Brady: The Patriots QB is the NFL's first unanimous choice as league MVP, and as always he has impeccable timing. The announcement comes just in time for him to unveil The Officially Licensed Tom Brady Valentine's Day Card, which reads: "You're the unanimous choice of my heart!" Yours free with the purchase of a his/her pair of UGG boots.

Never receiving votes
• Bon Jovi's money: Don't buy too much into reports that New Jersey's second- or third- or fourth-favorite rock star is looking to buy into the Atlanta Falcons. It's not that he'd have to pony up $150 million for a stake; apparently he's getting into a staring contest with Arthur Blank about having to prove that he knows all the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.


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