1. I think this is what I liked about the Super Bowl:
a. Headline of the Week, from Saturday's New York Post: "Piggy Peyton Trying to Steal Eli's Show.'' Well, I didn't see it that way, and it wasn't that way, but since when has that stopped the Post's headline writers?
b. Good to see Chris Doleman truly humbled by his election of the Hall of Fame. "The only thing bigger is being in God's kingdom,'' Doleman told Dan Wiederer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
c. This is Indy hospitality: Two friends from New Jersey decided late in the process to come to the Super Bowl. They couldn't find a hotel room within 60 miles, and so I reached out to friends I'd met a couple of times at Indy Tweetups and gotten chummy with, Angie and Mike Six of Fishers, Ind. I knew it was level-jumping, but I asked if they'd mind putting my Jersey friends up. No problem! Have a super day! They got along fine, had a good time together, and made new friends. Cool scene.
d. Great call by referee John Parry on the safety on the Pats' first play of the night. Terrific call, because in the Super Bowl, you're playing with an all-star crew, and it means the field judge and/or the back judge had to see Brady throw it away and report it to Parry and then Parry had to have the guts to call it.
e. Henry Hynoski. Sounds like a fullback. Plays like one.
f. And recovers fumbles like a champ.
g. Jason Pierre-Paul's block of a Brady pass, which held the Pats to a field goal early.
h. Rodney Harrison once said the toughest blocking back he ever faced in the NFL was Brandon Jacobs. Well, on the Giants' third series, Jacobs met Rob Ninkovich trying to get around the corner and hit him, stood him up, and knocked him back. Loudly.
i. The hands of Hakeem Nicks.
j. Matt Light, who really rose to the challenge.
k. Brandon Spikes, who was everywhere.
l. The Patriots deferring looked really good, with a 96-yard drive to end the first half and a 76-yard drive to start the second.
m. Kevin Gilbride's play-calling. I liked how he stuck with the run because it was working pretty well (28 carries for 114 yards) and because the Patriots threw some coverages that Gilbride and Victor Cruz couldn't conquer.
n. Man-of-the-people Mark Davis stopping and talking to Raider fans around Indy. He loved it.
o. Tom Coughlin was walking off the NFL Network set on the field after the game, and Flava Flav, the guy with the big clocks around his neck, hugged him affectionately. We all, apparently, can get along.
2. I think this is what I didn't like about the Super Bowl:
a. Mark Herzlich inactive. Bummer.
b. Twelve men on the field. Are you kidding? On this stage? A 12th man on the field, and what's worse, no one running to get off? That's as bad a play as I've seen a Bill Belichick team make in a long time. No wonder he was getting into it on the sidelines with defensive play-caller Matt Patricia after that.
c. I'd argue that's the play of the game.
d. Kevin Boothe's holding call with 4:27 left in the first half. Huge, because the Giants converted the run into a first down, and they'd likely have been able to whittle the clock way down before halftime, and maybe score a touchdown to make it 16-3 before the half.
e. Gronk. No agility.
f. This is something I don't understand. Never will. The Patriots deactivated running back Kevin Faulk -- who has been around since the Coolidge presidency -- in favor of rookie Steven Ridley. Who did not play.
g. Slightly more understandable, but still aggravating: Tiquan Underwood was waived the night before the game and defensive end Alex Silvestro signed to the active roster. Silvestro didn't play either.
h. The Pats' time of possession, 22:55. That, plus the defense allowing Eli to complete 75 percent.
i. What a horrible break, tight end Travis Beckum of the Giants going out with a torn ACL.
j. The Giants' three fumbles. Amazing none was costly.
3. I think Myra Kraft weeps.
4. I think my line of the night comes from Steve Serby of the New York Post: "You just don't throw on Chase Blackburn.''
5. I think the league, the Rams and the city of St. Louis avoided one of the major headaches of the 2012 offseason by agreeing to a deal to put one game in each of the next three years in London Sunday.
6. I think the halftime show was terrific. Loved that Madonna finished with "Like a Prayer.''
7. I think that was a cringing moment, when Gerald McCoy, working for whatever that Chad Ochocinco channel is, got up at the Madonna press conference and asked her for some career advice. Ouch. But I hand it to McCoy for his honesty when I saw him during the week. I told him new Bucs coach Greg Schiano would bring hardline discipline and organization to Tampa Bay. "Good,'' McCoy said. "We need it.'' We saw that last year.
8. I think if the NFL has the Honors Show again next year, it should be done live. I caught part of the taped show, and it seemed like a fun deal, but why would fans watch it if two hours beforehand they knew the results, which were all over the internet? By the way, not a big fan of the invented categories. Fantasy Player of the Year, Play of the Year, and, of course, the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year. (I am so shocked that Tim Tebow won an award at the NFL Honors show. Who would have guessed that?) That award should have been called the GMC Never Do An Awards Show Without Finding a Way to Exploit Tim Tebow. After all those invented awards, I was left with one question: Where was Instant Replay Challenge of the Year?
9. I think I'd like to applaud Aaron Rodgers, and not just for winning the MVP. (Lots of suspense there.) But for bashing the effort put forth by players at the Pro Bowl last weekend. As you know, I've given up on the game. It's a silly, meaningless, stupid exhibition. Most players work harder in a Saturday morning walkthrough practice than they do in the Pro Bowl game. The NFL should cancel it immediately.
Not that I'm blaming the players. Who wants to get hurt in an exhibition game, with millions on the line if you suffer a freak injury? I've been asked a lot what's the solution, and what should the league do about the game. I say: Eliminate it. Forget the skills competition. Just end the season with the Super Bowl, and if you want to honor all the men voted to the Pro Bowl, bring them to the Super Bowl site and introduce them on the red carpet at the Saturday night show, and make that show the football Oscars. Overwhelm the place with football players, coaches and stars. Make it appointment television. And good for Roger Goodell, telling Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic Sunday that if the game can't be improved the league will consider abolishing it.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Man's Gotta Eat Dept.: Gene Steratore, the NFL ref who did one playoff game this year and doubles as an NCAA ref, was in Ann Arbor Wednesday (Indiana-Michigan), the Bronx Thursday (Marist-Manhattan) and Hartford Saturday (Seton Hall-UConn).
b. Interesting being with Randy Moss (the announcer, not the pass-catcher) Sunday for NBC on the pregame show. Told me a great story. Moss, of course, is a big horse guy. "I've been to 31 of the last 32 Kentucky Derbies,'' he told me while we waited to go on TV Sunday afternoon outside the Giants hotel. "The first one was amazing. They have a seniority system in the press box, and I knew one of the veteran writers, a guy from Arkansas, the Arkansas Gazette, who was going to watch it off the TV monitor because he couldn't see that well. So he told me I could use his seat, which was No. 2 in the press box. A great seat. But he said, 'I better take you down and introduce you to the two guys next to you so they don't think you're stealing the seat.'
He takes me down, and I meet the two guys. He said 'This is Dick Young.' Then, 'This is Red Smith.' Wow. I was 21. They were the two guys who'd covered the Derby the longest. I've been to every Derby since then but one, and never had a seat quite that good.''
c. Tremendous commercial about Chrysler, Clint Eastwood.
d. Somehow, I don't think Clint Eastwood's an MMQB reader.
e. Is Deion Sanders really this popular that he's in commercials out the wazoo? Does America love Deion that much?
f. Met Rooney Mara in the Giants' locker room postgame. That was odd. Nice, polite, gracious. Know where she was a week ago today? Japan. Promoting "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.'' Know where she'll be later today? At an Oscar's luncheon in Los Angeles.
g. Coffeenerdness: "Six-shot tall Americano,'' Lions CEO Tom Lewand ordered Sunday morning in the second-floor Starbucks in the JW Marriott here. Second time I'd seen him order it this week. Imagine six shots of espresso, with just a touch of scalding water. That's Lewand's drink of choice every day. Now there's a serious coffee man right there.
h. Thanks, JW Marriott, for the Starbucks being open at 4 a.m. today, when I desperately needed it.
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