The best ever?
Sometimes in the heat of the moment, it's easy to get lost in hyperbole. So now that it's two days later and we've all had a chance to take a step back, let the confetti settle, get our wits about us and catch our breath again, can we still call Super Bowl XLIII the greatest ever played? The answer is … yes. Let's rephrase that: YES! A 100-yard interception return for a touchdown, the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in Super Bowl history, 23 fourth-quarter points, which featured three scores in the final 3:03, including a safety. Then cap it off with a two-minute Steelers drive that brought back memories of Montana-to-Taylor and Manning-to-Burress. Maybe the key is to get the Steelers involved in these things. They've played in seven Super Bowls, and all have been relatively close. Four of them — their two victories against the Cowboys in the 1970s, their victory against the Rams in the 1979 season and Sunday — were packed with drama fitting of the name "Super Bowl."
The economy hit the Super Bowl hard. There weren't as many celebrities to be found. Some parties were canceled. And many newspapers, TV and radio stations cut way back on their coverage. Despite all of that, Tampa's week drew rave reviews from around the country. Example: Sports Illustrated now lists Tampa as the No. 3 Super Bowl site behind San Diego and Miami. SI wrote, "Great weather, great stadium and a veteran host committee that knows its way around a Super Bowl would be just three of Tampa's strengths." There's talk that Tampa will go after the 2014 Super Bowl, and it's hard to imagine the city will not get it, not after last week's splendid showing.
Is there any way to allow NBC to do the Super Bowl every year? The network has the best studio host (Bob Costas), the best studio analyst (Cris Collinsworth), the best play-by-play announcer (Al Michaels) and the best game analyst (John Madden). Throw in Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann, plus guest analysts Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren. Add a couple of amazing technical toys like the "NBCee It" close-up replays and you have a near-perfect telecast. We can debate whether Sunday was the greatest Super Bowl ever. But there's no debate that NBC had the best Super Bowl broadcast ever.
Is there more of a class act out there than Cardinals QB Kurt Warner? After a bitter loss that, perhaps, could cost him a shot at the Hall of Fame, Warner answered every question on all the postgame shows with nothing but a smile and everything but an excuse. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger told him after the game, "It was an honor to play against you." The rest of us can say, "It was an honor to watch you."
Three stories that gave us headaches
1. A fight on Radio Row between two radio guys who, frankly, we couldn't pick out of a two-man lineup.
2. That the Bucs named an offensive coordinator — a pretty darn important hire — smack-dab in the middle of Super Bowl hysteria.
3. That not one player, coach or even assistant to the assistant equipment manager said one controversial thing. No trash talk. No guarantees. No smack. Nothing. It proved the Steelers and Cardinals are two classy teams, but it made for one boring news conference after another.