Super Sunday

There's not a lot of new news to report from our house.

Last week was a busy one. My regular work required me to go hard during the day, and then my graduate work had me pretty tied up at night. On Friday night and Saturday morning I attended my graduate classes, and I spent the remainder of Saturday afternoon in my office trying to get some extra work done. Last night we watched the big KU-Missouri game ... which the Jayhawks should have won, but I'm not going to waste my time griping about it.

Yesterday, we did our usual church and Sunday School routine and then came home for a couple hours and grabbed some lunch before heading back to the church for the afternoon. Our church is offering Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course; Kates and I registered and think it will be good for us to pick up some financial pointers in these tough economic times. We'll be in that course for the next 13 weeks.

And then -- cue NBC Sunday Night Football music -- the Super Bowl ...

* * *

Let's start with the musical performances ...

Kelly Clarkson’s national anthem gave me chills and made me smile. It was perfectly simple, and I loved the sound of children accompanying her.

Madonna's halftime show? I didn't like it so much.

The dancing was awkward and bordered on awful. I would have been content to watch Madonna pace the stage and sing instead of seeing her perform some of those lame kick moves and prance around with toga-clad men. The cameos by LMFAO and Cee-Lo (Spinner tweeted: We've decided we all want Cee Lo's sequined snuggie) were nice, but ...

What was M.I.A. trying to pull when she flipped the bird to her nationally televised audience? ... For the record, I was looking away from the TV when the gesture occurred. A few minutes later I saw a tweet from someone wondering if anyone else saw what he thought he'd seen. And by the end of the game it was all over the internet -- with pictures.

The one upside of Madonna's show were the special effects, particularly during “Like a Prayer.”

Here's a blog from The Washington Post that closes reflects my observations of the performance.

* * *

I've said in recent years that I've thought the quality of the Super Bowl commercials has waned over the years, as if we've been primed to expect commercials that are more comical, more explosive, more dazzling than the year before. Thus, I watched with considerably lower expectations this year.

On top of that, we got a whole week worth of previews this year as some companies leaked their Super Bowl commercials early. Sure, I get that the internet is changing the media landscape, but the leaks make companies' decisions to throw millions of dollars at a 30-second spot during the big game even more questionable.

One of the most-talked about commercials during the week leading up to the Super Bowl, of course, was the Honda spot with Matthew Broderick reprising his Ferris Bueller. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thought it was overrated.

My favorite commercials -- hands-down -- were those from Chevy ...

As well as Volkswagen's doggy/Star Wars commercials -- great follow-ups to last year's classic Darth Vadar kid. The latter commercial from this year was one of those released early ...

I give honorable mentions to Hyundai's spot just before kickoff that featured employees singing the Rocky theme.

Best Buy ...

NFL.com's "Timeline" ...

And Samsung's commercial because of its ridiculous incorporation of that one-hit wonder, The Darkness's "I Believe In A Thing Called Love."

You can watch more of the best and worst commercials here.

* * *

Like most years -- last year being the exception, of course, when the Packers were playing -- the game was mostly background noise.

After we returned from church the second time, Kates and Phoebe made a grocery store run while I took in the pregame. They returned with plenty of goods and fixings to build some homemade sub sandwiches; I made a toasted seafood sandwich. And it was good.

At 3 years old, Phoebe is at an age now where she's starting to understand when something exciting is happening and can join in the fun. Rather than just being present in the room and being content with some blocks.

"Welcome to the Super Bowl, Phoebe!" I said in the midst of a high point in the game.
"I'm not there," she said, shaking her head and licking her ice cream cone.

She sat next to Kates on the couch, eating her supper and dessert, watching the game and taking it all in. Later, she intently watched as Kates and I judged the halftime performance and debated whether Madonna was lip-syncing. "I think she's really singing," Phoebe proclaimed.

If I had to tell you which team I was rooting for, I picked the Giants. But I wouldn't have minded a Patriots win, either.

I like the Giants for their scrappy play, Eli Manning as the ever-underdog, and because there's a Bearcat on the roster.

I like the Patriots because I think of them as a classy organization that has been built more on steady leadership than buying the best talent. And when a franchise has that going for them I don't mind watching them pile up the trophies as a true dynasty -- even though most fans now loathe the Patriots because of their success.

As it turned out, the Giants got the best of the Pats again, in another classic championship game that closely resembled the classic championship game they played a few years ago -- with Mario Manningham playing the role of David Tyree. (... And Letterman's rant after the Giants won that Super Bowl remains a classic.)

Something told me all week that the Giants had the edge again. And the moment Tom Brady was called for a safety  to end New England's first possession set the tone for the rest of the game. ... The Giants played with the Pats and then put the game away when they needed -- with an unusual touchdown run.

Here's some good reads I've collected leading up to the Super Bowl and afterward ...

Pregame ...
a Blocking for the Patriots Coach So He Can Do His Job
a Family Ties a Plus for Mannings
a Peyton Manning a Cheerleader for His Brother
a For Belichick, Fond Memories of New York (Giants, Not Jets)
a Early Patriots Were a Comical Traveling Sideshow
a Brady’s emergence and a super season started Patriots’ decade of dominance
a For Giants, Quarterback and Coach Together in Excellence
a Catching On After a Last Chance: Giants’ Cruz Defied Odds at UMass
a With Coach After Coach, the Same Vigilant Face

(Updated 02.07.2012) Post game ...
a Super Bowl XLVI Line by Line ... A light slideshow of drawings worth watching.
a Talent won out, as Patriots lost out in Super Bowl XLVI
a Sequel has same ending
a History repeats
a As losses go, we’ve seen worse
a In save situation, an opportunity lost
a Settling In at the Top of Their Game
a Bradshaw's Reluctant Touchdown puts to rest an unusual Super Bowl
a Situation hard to grasp for Welker
a Manning, Coughlin are content
a In the end, Giant difference in talent

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