Review: Super Bowl XLIX

Even though I would not consider myself to be an NFL fanatic, I have a certain affinity for the Super Bowl.

I was born in Pittsburgh the year before the first one, and although we moved to North Carolina soon after that I’ve always been a fan of Pittsburgh teams (note that I do root for the Panthers as well, but when I was growing up there were no national sports teams in North Carolina).

Pittsburgh won Super Bowl IX on my ninth birthday, and continued on to win four of the first fourteen titles. Pittsburgh is the only team to have won six Super Bowls and is tied with Dallas and now New England at eight appearances.

When neither Pittsburgh nor Carolina are in the big game, I usually pull for the underdog, but I also tend to base my choice on who is in a better position to compete with Pittsburgh’s legacy. This year I wasn’t emotionally invested in either team, but since New England had the stronger Super Bowl record, I was pulling for Seattle.

Actually, all I was really hoping for was a good game, and this year’s title match didn’t disappoint.

Toward the end of the half it was 14 to 7, New England, but the score really didn’t reflect the game. New England was having a much better time of it on the field, and it was only an interception that kept the Patriots from having an even greater lead. But in a gutsy move, the Seahawks went for the touchdown instead of a field goal with minutes left and managed to tie it up at the half.

The halftime show was headlined by Katy Perry, and it was a nice change to see someone not eligible for AARP perform. Ever since Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” the NFL has leaned toward, say we say, “mature” acts. Even Prince was 50 when he did the halftime show. They also mentioned Lenny Kravitz, but while I think he is a very talented performer, I have no idea what he was doing there. Perhaps they wanted some adult supervision. Speaking of adults, I was happy to see Missy Elliot make a surprise appearance and add some life to the show. Perhaps it was because she’s been around as long as Tom Brady – I saw in the EW’s “Chart Flashback” that her song “Hot Boyz” was number seven on the Hot 100 back in 2000.

Speaking of entertainment, if my teams aren’t in it I watch the game for the commercials. My favorite was the Doritos airplane one

followed closely by the one from Loctite.

After the break it was all Seattle, and they increased their lead to ten. When the Patriots went three and out late in the third quarter, one might have thought the game was over.

It wasn’t. The fourth quarter was all New England, and with two minutes left in the game they were leading 28 to 24.

I find it amusing that when I watch football, if my team is up in a situation like this I am certain that the other team will rally and win, and if my team is down I think there is no way they will possibly score enough to win.

While this was a great game, one of the best Super Bowl games ever was the Giants vs. Patriots in Super Bowl XLII when the Giants put an end to the Patriots’ perfect season with an insane catch by David Tyree toward the end of the game. It seemed like history would repeat when Jermaine Kearse bobbled a pass deflected by Malcolm Butler but managed the completion. This left the Seahawks on the Patriot’s five yard line with over a minute on the clock and a strong running game.

Of course, in one of the worst calls in championship history, Seattle decided to throw it and Butler redeemed himself with a game winning interception.

Even then it wasn’t over. With Brady back in the end zone, he couldn’t just take a knee, but an unfortunate penalty gave them the five yards they needed to seal the outcome.

But what really disappointed me, and made me happy that New England had won, was the brawl that happened after the play. There was an actual fight, lead by Seahawk Bruce Irwin, that resulted in his ejection from the game – the first time in Super Bowl history and the first one I’d ever seen in 40 years of watching NFL games.

Combine that with the trash talk, the “poopdown” and not only did New England outplay Seattle, they outclassed them, and I just wanted to congratulate the winning team.