Without a doubt, this year’s Super Bowl game was the most thrilling of all time. Having watched some 50 telecasts of the premier football event, I thought that the top one was the unbelievable win of the Patriots over the Seahawks a couple of years ago. That game, though it was watched by the largest TV audience in American TV history, gathered 114.4 million viewers according to the Nielsen Company.
Actually this year’s game was a game of two halves with the Falcons winning the first half and the Patriots winning the second. What also makes it remarkable is that no team in Super Bowl history has ever come back from a 25-point deficit.
Prior to the game the Patriots were given a three-point edge because of their superior defense. In most football contests the best defense is able to control the best offense. This was not the case in the first half as the Falcons completely shredded the vaunted Patriot defense. Adding to the Falcons’ dominance was the fact that the usually accurate Tom Brady either over-threw or under-threw his receivers and when he did connect those same receivers dropped the ball.
All during the first canto we saw the usually stoic Coach Belichek scratching his head in disbelief.
Coming out for the second half, it seemed the Falcons were going to continue what many football pundits would call a “blow out.” However, midway in the third quarter, a number of fortuitous events occurred for the Patriots along with a number of miscues by the Atlanta team. The Falcons had an opportunity to put the game away at one point by making an easy field goal, but instead their passing attempt was the victim of a rare sack of quarterback Matt Ryan.
From that point on, Brady’s receivers started to hang on to the ball, highlighted by Edelman’s circus catch off the foot of a defender. Whenever it seemed the Patriots drives might stall, they were aided by untimely holding calls on the Falcons.
I agree with fellow columnist Jake Highton that the game should not have been decided by a coin toss at the start of overtime. I think that both teams should have the opportunity to possess the ball after the game has been tied in regulation time. In addition to viewing the Super Bowl on television, I had the opportunity to witness the first game in person. At that time some fellow had created a package to the Coliseum in LA that included air fare, lodging and ticket to the game. Some two dozen Northern Nevadans were on that trip and we saw a Green Bay Packers team defeat the Kansas City Chiefs. On that occasion the Coliseum was a little more than half full and the loud speaker announcer urged the fans to cluster in the middle in order to enhance the TV shots. My other connection with the Super Bowl came years later when the Reno Chamber of Commerce cut a deal with United Airlines to film a 60-second commercial about the Reno area. If the Chamber paid for the filming of the spot, United Airlines would put it in their national TV advertising schedule. Since I was producing a number of local TV spots for my clients, Chamber CEO Judd Allen asked me to help him with the production of the spot. Highlight of the production was to feature the winter time sport of skiing. With the help of local ski buff Larry Ballargeon, I recruited a cast of some two dozen people, male and female, who donned ski apparel and headed for Squaw Valley. Unfortunately the shoot was in mid-August and there was little or no snow on the slopes. I recall roasting in front of a large fire in the lodge and posing on top of the highest peak while a crew member tossed soap flakes to simulate snow as I pushed off. When the spot came out I was surprised to see actual Olympic skier Jean-Claude Killy, wearing a similar ski outfit, doing a number of kick turns down an actual snow-covered mountain. I learned later that United was so pleased with the spot they aired it during two Super Bowl contests.
One interesting note about this year’s telecast was that it proved America’s predilection with pop culture as Lady Gaga’s half-time performance outdrew the game telecast by some six million viewers.