Yes it was a classic Super Bowl, and America’s most popular sporting event delivered more excitement than any of us could have hoped for. And that was just on the field. Here are a few other moments worthy of note in case you missed them:
1. During the beautifully sung, country-fied “America the Beautiful” by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, and then during the National Anthem by Kelly Clarkson (also well done), a few great moments occurred. First, as the cameras panned the crowd and players, you could see two of the most classy people in sports today, Tom Brady and Tom Coughlin, speaking the lyrics. What a site to see as they prepare for some of the biggest moments of their lives!
2. Also during these performances, when the camera showed a Patriots player, some Giants fans booed. And when it showed a Giants’ player, some Patriots’ fans booed. But when the camera showed troops in Afghanistan dressed in their fatigues standing at attention with their hands over their hearts, the fans of both teams ROARED.
3. The father of Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was in the stands for the game. But he is something different than a typical father watching his son. He is actually blind, and this is the first of his son’s games that he attended. He is Haitian and speaks French, and through some method the play-by-play was being delivered to him verbally through a headset. (As a side note, Pierre-Paul did not start playing football until his junior year of college at University of South Florida, yet he ended up a first-round draft pick by the Giants).
4. In the pre-game, NBC took the cameras into both locker rooms, the Giants first. There you could see the Giants jogging in place, pacing back and forth, hopping up and down to stretch and manage nerves. In the Patriots locker room, players were almost all sitting in folding chairs seemingly resting before the game. I hoped it was a sign of things to come, and perhaps it was.
5. Prior to the game, Madonna had commented to broadcaster (and former NFL player) Chris Collinsworth that she “had never been more nervous” before a performance. That speaks to the magnitude of this game and its meaning and audience around the world. It would even make Madonna, who has performed in front of huge audiences around the world for decades, nervous.
6. Chris Collinsworth, who broadcasts an NFL game every week and has been doing so for at least a decade, responded to Madonna’s comments: “I can relate”. A very interesting honest moment from a top professional who didn’t sound the slightest bit nervous, but admitting that he indeed was.
7. At one point GE had a commercial that emphasized their manufacturing in the U.S. One can’t help but draw the potential conclusion that this was a political “tip of the hat” to Obama’s State of the Union Address and his demagogic “economy built to last” regarding manufacturing (which will never account for more than 15% of American jobs from now to eternity). Keep in mind that Immelt is the the CEO of GE, and head of President Obama’s Job Council.
8. 17 minutes into the biggest game of his life, Giant tight end Travis Beckum tore his right ACL. Imagine all the work Beckum had done to prepare for the season and during the season, and how excited he and his family and extended family must have been to be at the Super Bowl. And just like that, in an instant, he’s out of the game, and subject to extremely challenging rehab following surgery.
9. In November of 2011, Giant linebacker Chase Blackburn was a substitute teacher contemplating becoming a full-time teacher. The Giants, riddled with defensive injuries, called Blackburn in November and asked him to join the team prior to the regular season game against the Packers. In the 4th quarter last night, Chase Blackburn made a game-changing interception of perhaps the greatest quarterback the NFL has ever seen. In the Super Bowl.
10. The Clint Eastwood “Halftime in America” Chrysler commercial was perhaps the most inspiring and compelling of all the commercials last night. However, it should have been asterisked to say “Italian car company Fiat owns 53% of Chrysler”, and “The American people are still owed bill $10’s of billions of dollars” from Chrysler. But, as Modern Family’s Cam would say, nothing Clint Eastwood does could possibly be bad! : )
11. All week long there had been talk and speculation about whether Ron Gronkowski, super-star Patriot tight-end, would be able to play in the game in spite of a severe ankle injury. On Saturday it was revealed that he would play, but he would be heavily taped. It was subtle and difficult to see, but I think I saw something when he made his first catch of the game. A Giant defender tackled him, but as Gronkowski was going down the Giant seemed to take care not to land on or twist Gronkowski’s ankle. Tough guys they are, but humans as well.
12. 8 weeks ago, sportswriters in New York were loudly calling for Giants coach Tom Coughlin to be fired. The Giants were 7-7. They are now 13-7 and Super Bowl Champions, and Tom Coughlin is almost surely headed to the Hall of Fame. As Coughlin said post-game last night, “Anything is possible for those who believe”.
Super Bowl XLVII was a classic, both on the field and off.