By Rafael Ford
Super Bowl XXXV has finally been played, and the consensus is that it wasn’t half bad.
After all the hype of the last two weeks, the battle for defensive supremacy was decided as the Baltimore Ravens became this year’s NFL Champion with a commanding 34-7 win over the New York Giants.
I say half bad because, as usual, the game itself left little to get excited over. Most of the points came as a result of a three touchdown, 36-second frenzy of special teams offence and the always flashy-Ravens defence in the third quarter.
Does this seem somehow wrong to anyone but me? Surely, most sports fans would agree a match-up of premier professional clubs playing for top team honours in any league would command attention. It should be exciting, it should be full of energy from start to finish to make you crave the beginning of the next season. This should be the case in the NFL and it’s not–unless you were watching the halftime extravaganza, which seemed to have a unique circus quality to it befitting the hallowed league.
Without a doubt, keeping the fans entertained during the break is important and tickets costing what they do, it should be expected. However, what imagination is required to bring N’Sync and Aerosmith together in a music menagerie? Why couldn’t that creativity have been realized in a fourth-down gamble once or twice in the most important game of the year?
Hats off to the Giants for a second quarter attempt at a double reverse pitch back to the quarterback, but unless you count the Super Bowl game record 21 punts, that was about all you got. Where was the Statue of Liberty play? How about a fake punt or an onside kick?
No doubt, both teams deserved defensive respect, but isn’t fourth and two in a championship game the time to roll the dice? Those are the highlight reel moments that send a weak-kneed fan to the floor and cause salivation at the word of the new season. But none of this happened.
Perhaps being from the land of hockey fights and three-down-in-the-air football where creativity wins games and brings out the crowds has hindered my judgement. Perhaps I have no idea what our southern cousins crave in pro sports and should not comment on a culture that isn’t my own. However, at about the same time every year, Canadians patiently sit through the intense buildup of hype and emotion piped in from the lower 48, intended to lure the curious football fan into watching the three-hour showdown. Like so many other football fans, I submit to the hype in anticipation of a great battle only to feel I’ve wasted my time.
The NFL is a professional league and the Super Bowl is the climax. I just wish the pinnacle of a story was better than the lead-up. I still hope for a Super Bowl where the half-time show does not overshadow the game. Most of all, I hope for a Super Bowl that is, at the very least, more than half bad.