By Matt Lincoln
From the beginning of the broadcast to the end of the night, Super Bowl XVL is going to rank as one of the most mediocre of the event's illustrious history. The hype of it being in Dallas, and with two of the sport's great franchises, just didn't measure up to the reality.
First what was good about it. The best thing we will take from this year's Super Bowl, is just how great of a performance Aaron Rodgers' put forth over the course of 5-6 games. Like Drew Brees last year, Rodgers was the key component to willing his team to a Super Bowl victory. Is he the best QB in the league? No one is ready to say that yet. But what I like is that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have 3 years or so left at the top of their games. Brees may have 5. But we've got another good decade of seeing Rodgers play, and there will be a time when we will say that Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game. This is just a chapter in his story.
Also, the Packers as a whole deserve a ton of credit for bouncing back from the injuries they incurred throughout the season, and then in that game. Charles Woodson broke his collarbone, and then stayed on the field, ready to take another snap. And he would have, if the Packers did not call timeout. That's about as anti-Cutler as you can get. But with guys with crazy names like Zombo and Peprah leading that defense, the three turnovers that the Packers forced were the three biggest plays from the game.
Before I get into what I didn't like, I'm not going to jump into the large group that's poking fun at Christina Aguilera. Even for her, that was one of the biggest stages she's been on, and she choked. It's not like she didn't know the words (you can google her performance at an NHL game when she was 11 when she nailed it perfectly.) She's been performing her entire life, and she got lost in the moment. I don't feel bad for her, and I don't feel embarrassed for her, but I can understand how something like that can happen.
Moving on.. as I correctly predicted here in this spot, the halftime show was abysmal. Other than the obvious microphone issues, there were also poor singing issues and nothing spectacular enough to put that performance above anything we've seen. Fergie butchering "Sweet Child O' Mine" sent music back 10 years. When it ended, I was wishing we had just seen 30 minutes of Usher, and the Black Eyed Peas had just stayed home.
What I did not correctly predict in the WLIT, was the winner of the game. The reason why I thought the Steelers would win was their playmaking ability on defense. I knew Aaron Rodgers would outperform Ben Roethlisberger, and that the Steelers would have a better rushing performance than the Packers. But what I banked on was that the Steeler D would make a few big plays in big spots, and it would be enough to win. But Troy Polamalu was nonexistent. James Harrison was invisible. I'm not sure I heard James Farrior's name during the broadcast. Those guys that are so good at making big time plays, made none. But the Packers no-name defense came up huge.
Also, I'm not breaking any ground here, but if there's anyway that a mult-bazillionaire could be the big loser in a situation, it's here with Jerry Jones. Sure he couldn't do anything about the terrible weather, but Dallas didn't do him any favors by not being ready for it. Also, the 400 ticketholders who got booted out of their seats doesn't look good on him. Dallas will not host a Super Bowl for awhile.
Overall, it was a compelling game, but it lacked the big payoff that Steelers vs. Cardinals, Patriots vs. Giants, and Colts vs. Saints had. And with neither Dallas nor the Black-Eyed Peas living up to expectations, it's too bad this is the last taste in our mouths if there's no football for awhile.