I know every sports-related blog in America will be starting with the Super Bowl today, and I’ll have plenty of thoughts on that in a minute.
But just to be a little different, let me tell you how amazing that Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game was Sunday afternoon. Sidney Crosby, the second-greatest player in the NHL, scores twice, and helps his team get up 4-1. Then Alex Ovechkin, who I’d stalk if I lived in D.C., and also the greatest player in the NHL, comes back with a hat trick and sets up the game-winning goal in overtime, as the Caps won 5-4.
As I keep saying, this rivalry right now, Caps-Penguins, is what hockey is all about. It’s thrilling every time they play, and anyone who wants to be introduced to how awesome hockey is, should make Caps-Pens their first required viewing. Great stuff.
**OK, now to the Super Bowl. Thought it was a really good game; not quite as dramatic as last year, but still really damn good.
First, the non-football stuff, the commercials:
— Absolutely loved the Google commercial about the guy studying abroad in Paris, which led to so many other things. I thought the Vizio spot was really cool, too, and the Monster.com ad of a beaver playing a violin, well, how could you go wrong with cute animals doing Mozart?
But I think my favorite ad was the Audi “Green Police” commercial; thought it was brilliant:
— I guess I have to weigh in on the Tim Tebow/Focus on the Family ad, which I criticized quite harshly on CNN.com here. It was totally harmless. I don’t know if the ad was originally more strident, and because of all the controversy Focus on the Family toned it down, or if it was just always that benign.
Again, my point in the column wasn’t to criticize Tebow; it was to point out CBS’s awful double standard: Homosexuals, bad. Christian anti-abortionists, good.
— I thought The Who were fine as halftime entertainment, though I was hoping Pete Townsend would break his guitar at the end. Though Posnanski had a great line: Will Pete Townsend break his guitar, or break his hip?” Maybe the NFL can get ZZ Top or The Monkees for next year.
–OK, to the game itself. One of the more shocking sports things I’ve seen in my life, not up there with Douglas knocking out Tyson (just watched that clip again, still can’t believe it happened), but still pretty stunning, was the great Peyton Manning throwing that interception late in the fourth quarter. Tracy Porter made a great play, but it was one of those deals where you couldn’t believe Manning really screwed up like that, and to have it returned for a touchdown? Wow.
–Drew Brees, you were fantastic. Didn’t hit any long balls because the Colts took that away, but picked apart the defense.
— Man, at 24-17, I was convinced we were headed for our first Super Bowl overtime game.
— Phenomenal game by Jonathan Vilma, the ex-Jet. So glad Mangini decided to trade him.
— Great text from my good buddy Scott Sterbens, fellow Jet sufferer, after the Manning pick: “He couldn’t have effed up like that in the last game against us?”
–Finally, how about the cojones Saints coach Sean Payton? Loved him going for it on fourth down in the first half, and the onside kick to start the third quarter took major guts. He knew he had to take risks to beat Manning, and he did.
— Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering, I still wasn’t sure who to pull for when the game started. I ended up cheering for the Saints; what a wonderful story for the city of New Orleans.
And now, no more football for a while. Sadness.