Showing 1 - 10 of 14 posts found matching keyword: super bowl

Today is Groundhog Day. By the time you read this, you will know whether or not we should expect more winter based on whether or not it was overcast when a particular groundhog woke up. (The most famous prognosticating groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, has seen his shadow in 104 of 131 years, and his chroniclers say he has been "right" only 39% of the time.)

The last time I mentioned Punxsutawney Phil on this blog was in 2008. That was also a Saturday, one day before the Super Bowl. The Patriots were playing in that game, too. The Patriots lost in 2008. Could the same happen tomorrow? I think that's the question we should be asking the groundhogs. Even if it always picked the Patriots, it would still be right more often than it is about spring.

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In 2005, I watched Super Bowl 39 between the Eagles and Patriots at my father's house in Buford, Georgia, with my father and brother on Dad's large (26") CRT TV. We were cheering for the Eagles because they were Trey's favorite team (and, so far as I know, still are).

I don't recall feeling much drama in that game. I was confident that the Patriots would find a way to repeat as Super Bowl champions. (This would be their 3rd win in 4 years.) After the game, Trey claimed that he also expected the loss to the reigning champions, and that it didn't bother him to come so close to winning a Super Bowl only to lose to a great team.

I think he was lying.

Tonight, in the Super Bowl 52 rematch, the Eagles were finally the better team. Congratulations, Trey. You don't have to lie anymore.

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I attended the Super Bowl in person twice, in 2007 and 2009. It looks like I won't be doing that again.

In both cases, I purchased tickets for face value directly from the NFL after winning the opportunity in the annual NFL Super Bowl Random Drawing. For years, so long as football fans sent in a certified letter before May, there was a chance they could buy tickets in November for that January's game. Hopefuls could enter only once per physical address, and each year over 30,000 requests were received for approximately 1,000 tickets. Those were long odds. Now they're worse.

This year, the NFL canceled the program.

Why did they do it? Who knows. The NFL didn't explain its thinking when it updated its website to let us know that we couldn't enter this year. The league hinted they've got something else in the works for next year's Super Bowl LII, but still no word on what it might be. Given the league's guiding principle is the same as Gordon Gekko's — "Greed is good" — I'm not expecting great things.

I'm disappointed in this development, but not mad. I did get to go twice, after all. That's two times more than most. Good times.

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In general, I've never been a big music fan. In specific, I've never really cared for Prince, who died yesterday at 57. However, I do want to go on record as saying that I think Prince might have been one of the best performers in the history of pop music.

I saw him in concert only once. That once was nine years ago, at the halftime performance of Superbowl XLI on February 5, 2007. In addition to being Peyton Manning's first championship, it was also the first Super Bowl played in the rain.

Conditions were miserable. There was no warmth in Miami that evening. The rain was cold and steady, penetrating the ponchos that most of the crowd were wearing. The wind cut straight to the bone. Honestly, it was the least comfortable I'd ever been in a football stadium. I suspect that most of the nearly 75,000 people in attendance shared my opinion.

Of course, it didn't help that there wasn't much entertainment to take our attention away from the foul weather. Cirque Du Soleil was a terrible pregame act, bringing out some acrobats to do whatever acrobats do. Two note to future programmers: 1) it's impossible to see what a single acrobat is doing on the 20 yard line, and 2) football fans don't care about acrobats.

The game, when we got to it, wasn't much better. The Chicago Bears — and especially their hapless quarterback, Rex Grossman — were terribly outclassed by Manning's Indianapolis Colts. The Bears took an early lead, but then ran out of gas. Though it took a while for the score board to catch up, the game was a rout.

Honestly, by halftime, I was considering walking out of the stadium and calling it a night. When the public address announcer asked the fans to reach under their seats and light the small LED flashlights we were given, I said no. Enough was enough. Then Prince came to my rescue.

They assembled the stage at midfield and poof! Prince appeared in a cloud of smoke with his electric guitar — in the rain! He proceeded to put on one hell of an invigorating performance. He demanded that we clap, and we clapped. He told us to sing along, and we sang along. He closed, fittingly, with Purple Rain, and it rained. It was exactly what we needed to hear. It turned a disasterous outing into a night to remember.

So, while I've never owned a Prince album or seen Graffiti Bridge, I do recognize that the world lost someone special yesterday. Thanks, Prince.

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The fellow who pays me to open Magic cards was disappointed that I didn't mention him by name in my last post. That fellow's name is Randy, and this is my way of apologizing for not mentioning him earlier.

Randy loves to gamble. He'll bet on anything. That's not to say that Randy has a problem. I'm sure he could quit any time he could no longer find someone willing to take his money. He's preparing to have a second child, I suspect, because he's already lost the rights to his first kid.

Randy is excited about today's Super Bowl. He'll certainly be wagering on the game. That doesn't make Randy unique: it is estimated that about half of all adult American -- probably the male half -- will be gambling today's game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants. And like Randy, most of those bettors will be gambling not on the game's outcome, but on its details.

Proposition bets are wildly popular, Randy assures me. These "prop" bets are for the outcome of curiously specific events. Randy's personal favorite prop is to gamble on whether the first turnover of the game will be a fumble or interception. (Randy prefers fumble, but interception is the big favorite. [Actual outcome: interception]) Other examples of props for Super Bowl XLVI:

  • Will Tom Brady's first pass of the game be complete, incomplete, or intercepted?
    (Favorite: incomplete)[Actual: incomplete]
  • Will Eli Manning throw a touchdown pass in the first quarter of the game?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: yes]
  • Which quarterback will throw an interception first?
    (Favorite: Manning) [Actual: Brady]
  • Will more or fewer than 2.5 players attempt a pass during the game?
    (Favorite: fewer) [Actual: fewer]
  • Which team will cross the 50 yard line on offense first?
    (Favorite: Giants) [Actual: Giants]
  • Will any player draw a penalty for excessive celebration after a touchdown?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: no]
  • Will the jersey number be of the first player to score a touchdown be higher or lower than 80.5?
    (Favorite: lower) [Actual: lower (80)]
  • Will the Patriots convert a 4th down?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: yes]
  • Will the first missed field goal of the game miss left, miss right, or be blocked?
    (Favorite: miss left) [Actual: none missed]
  • Will the color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach be yellow, orange, clear, red, green, or blue?
    (Favorite: yellow) [Actual: purple!]
  • If Tom Brady's son is shown on TV during the game, will he be wearing a Tom Brady Jersey?
    (Favorite: yes) [Actual: not shown]
  • Will Kelly Clarkson's bare belly be showing when she sings the National Anthem?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: no]
  • Will Madonna wear an NFL jersey or shirt at any point during the Super Bowl halftime show?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: no]
  • Which number will be higher: the gross passing yards accrued by Tom Brady plus 63.5 yards or the number of points accrued by the college basketball teams of Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Illinois, and Northwestern on February 5 minus 63.5 points?
    (Favorite: even) [Actual: Brady]

I think Randy was going to tell me that the last bet is a sure thing for Brady, but he barely got through reading it when he excused himself to make a phone call. Don't worry, though. I made sure that he paid me in cash as soon as he came back.

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Yesterday's Super Bowl featured commercials from both Coke and Pepsi. Coke's two commercials (officially titled "Siege" and "Border") demonstrated that sharing a Coke and a smile could prevent wars in language-free spots that can air worldwide. Meanwhile, Pepsi's English-language only commercials (titled "Love Hurts," and "Torpedo Cooler") showed that PepsiMAX could start wars, as it broadcast its cans hitting girls in the head and guys in the nuts. Nothing says great taste like watching people get hit by soda cans!

It's worth noting that immediately after the game, the Pepsi ads made the top-ten in fan voting at and The Coke ads were preferred by professional reviewers at ad sites such as Advertising Age and the St. Louis Business Journal. Damn those elitists and their high-brow, peace-loving, immigrant-hugging Coca-Colas! Can't they see that Pepsi is the choice of the Tea Party generation?

It bears noting that the commercial voted best by voters was a mindless Doritos ad called "Pug Attack" featuring a small dog teaching a cruel owner a lesson by jumping on him. (That's the whole joke. That's it. Really.) This ad, like all the Doritos and Pepsi ads, was part of Pepsi's "Crash the Super Bowl" ad campaign that encouraged amateurs to submit their commercials and then rewarded them financially if they could stuff the Facebook-friendly Ad Meter ballot box enough to engineer the outcome.

Therefore, It isn't even clear that the so-called fans liked these ads. PepsiCo won this popularity contest by encouraging people to use social networking to artificially drive up perceived viewer response. People were simply were hoping to get paid if they said that they did. Maybe Pepsi needs to run a new commercial with the tagline: "Pepsi, if we pay you, will you say you like it?"

Curses! You win again, Facebook! I'd shake my fist at the sky in restrained rage, but I'm currently holding a can of Coke. Unlike those people in the Pepsi ads, I'd rather drink my soda than throw it at someone.

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An update to some previous blog entries:

First things first. On my last post, I covered the Scripps Howard celebrity Super Bowl poll. And now that the game is over (damn you, Saints!), it should be pointed out that the celeb who picked closest was Joe Mantegna, who predicted Saints, 28-17. Outperforming a majority of the celebs were video game simulations run by newfangled Madden 10 and classic Tecmo Super Bowl, both of which had forecast a Saints win. So keep in mind that the next time you need to turn to someone to advice, you'd be better off talking to a computer screen than your average celebrity.

On December 17, 2008, I mentioned that New York was planning to tax soda consumption. It failed to pass. According to the Houston Chronicle, a similar fate has just quietly befallen a federal measure with the same intent. Sure, raising taxes on an item to increase revenue and decrease health risks sounds good, but who really wants to pay an extra 15 cents per can of soda when they could instead pay higher income taxes? No one I know, that's for sure.

And speaking of predictions, last week I noted two separate incidents of single-vehicle accidents on the same stretch of road. Now another mysterious accident claimed the life of a third person, who was found mauled in the middle of that road. Police have no clues about the third death in three weeks on Newnan Crossing Bypass, but are guessing hit-and-run at 4AM in the morning. You heard it here first, people. Grab your .30-30s, the Great Deer Uprising of 2010 continues.

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Another year, another Super Bowl. But lest you fear that you don't know enough to make a good pick in your office pool, there's always a celebrity nearby to show you the way. For the 21st year running, Scripps Howard News Service has polled 103 of the world's best and brightest most desperate for attention for their Super Bowl picks. Figuring that there must be some wisdom in the masses, I took a look at the figures:

  • Sixty-two of the 103 stars polled (60%), including Haley Joel Osment, who has correctly predicted 9 of the last 10 Super Bowl winners, losing only on the Giants' improbable 2007 victory, took the Colts to win.
  • Mode score predicted for the Colts is 35. Mode score predicted for the Saints is 28. Four different celebs picked the Colts 35-28, including Pat Robertson, who apparently still feels that New Orleans will get what it deserves.
  • The celebs agree with Las Vegas, culminating in an average over/under of just better than 57 points. A very slight majority, 52 of 103 celebs, took the over.
  • The only NFL team owner to have a say in the poll is the Miami Dolphins' Serena Williams, who picks the Colts because she cryptically "knows" Peyton Manning. She was among the 10 celebs who declined to venture a guess at the final score. I could say something very critical here, but she'd no doubt threaten to kill me if I did.
  • Average final score predicted: 30-28. The only celebrity to pick the Colts winning 30-28 was Russell Johnson, better known as the Professor on Gilligan's Island.
  • The smartest celeb reporting is clearly Dennis Farina: "I hate to bet against Peyton Manning because I think he's probably the best quarterback since Dan Marino." Damn straight, Dennis! For the record, Farina, who previously won the Scripps Super Sage Award for picking the closest final score in the 2005 Super Bowl, picks the Saints, 31-27, which looks an awful lot like 30-28.

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Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23

This trip went much better than the last one. Primarily, it didn't rain on us, but it was also a better game. A much better game. As much as I dislike Kurt Warner, I definitely feel that he gave me my money's worth. And in the end, I think that the nearly 70,000 Steelers' fans in the stadium felt the same way.

Comic book geek note: the stadium attendant who was checking tickets at the gate waved me through with barely a glance. "My x-ray vision can tell that you've got the ticket," he said. It wasn't until several minutes had passed before I remembered that my ticket was easily visible in the clear plastic lanyard around my neck. It just sort of seemed to make sense to me that ticket collector was a good job for someone with X-ray eyes.

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I always thought that the only way the Cardinals would ever make the Super Bowl would be to buy tickets.Busy. Back soon.

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To be continued...


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