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The game: I spent hours yesterday jotting down every important play and tidbit that came to mind, from the opening kickoff to Roger Staubach's Lombardi trophy march. If you'd like to relive all the action, please check out my Super Bowl XLV running diary. But if you're more of a summary type, here you go: The Packers are a deserving championship squad and -- based on youth and no real holes on either side of the ball -- likely will be seen again in February sooner than later.
The MVP: Welcome to the Elite Club, Mr. Rodgers. A strong argument could be made that Aaron Rodgers had already gained entry into this club, at some point between this regular season or even last. But for those that always saw this as a Big Three (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady) crew, Rodgers, with his shiny new ring, has definitely crashed the party. Not only that, but after Rodgers' three-touchdown, 304-yard MVP performance, an obvious question arises: Is Rodgers now the NFL's best current quarterback? (Side note: Number of Brett Favre mentions during the game broadcast: ZERO.)
The ads: Unless you're a car collector or a big technology geek, you were probably underwhelmed by Super Bowl XLV's commercials. I mean, do we really need a car that gives us audible Facebook updates? It just transform us into robots now... My favorite, Volkswagen's "The Force" spot, was one of the few with an actual plot. The Chrysler/Eminem spot was stylish, had a fluid theme and served a nice consolation prize for Lions fans who must feel eons away from an NFC North crown at this point. Nothing else really wowed me, but if a particular spot is still etched in your brain, for reasons good or bad, please share.
The music: Today's gonna be a good day ... because I don't have to listen to the Black Eyed Peas! Can't you hear the remnants of strained voices just from reading those three words? Put the weak vocals and microphone problems aside -- their brand of "hip-hop" just doesn't translate musically to a big stage. Someone on Twitter accused me of being "an old lady" for railing on them, but the funny thing is that literally everyone I know that's a BEP fan is also a card-caring member of the AARP. Usher, an actually talented entertainer, somewhat salvaged the halftime show with his unable-to-be-duplicated dance moves. ... What to say about Christina Aguilera? Botched national anthem lyrics and trying to put 10 cherries on top of a song that should only be sung with the notes Francis Scott Key intended (See Jim Cornelison). ... The winner of the day was Lea Michele, whose overly dramatic rendition of "America the Beautiful" was overshadowed by all the other disasters. Lea, you have a great voice, but you're no Ray Charles. Note to the NFL: You might want to audition your musical acts in the future.
The broadcast: Fox is to broadcasting what the Black Eyed Peas are to music -- a lot of modernism and polish but, under all the glitz, a pretty vanilla product. Now we had ourselves a close game that didn't lend itself to a lot of peripheral talk, but Troy Aikman and Joe Buck really kept it straight and focused only on the action, which would have been fine if this were a regular-season affair with a more acute viewership. But two things I wish Aikman and Buck had done a better job of: 1. Analyzing rules and schemes in a lay-fan way of speaking, since much of the audience doesn't watch more than this one game a year. You can be technical and educational at the same time. (See Cris Collinsworth). 2. Mini-conversations about the NFL's breadth, on topics such as the pending lockout, the season's major storylines, top draft prospects, etc. I see this as a missed opportunity to transform the once-a-year viewer into a multiple-times-a year viewer.
All in all, the game itself was king and that's the way it should be. Thanks for sharing a great NFL season and hopefully we'll get confirmation of a 2011 season in the coming weeks. Until then, as Fox aptly stated, the countdown to the draft begins today.