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Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Afternoon Quarterback

Congrats go out to the New York Football Giants.  They were the better team when it mattered and for whatever reason Eli Manning and his no nonsense coach (kudos Tom Coughlin for succeeding with good old fashioned discipline) are in Tom Bundchen and Gray Hoody's head.

The game itself was relatively well played and came down to a few plays.  If Wes Welker catches a 2nd and 11 pass maybe New England wins.  If Mario Manningham fails to keep both feet in on Eli's last drive...  If Bundchen had more arm on his interception throw...  If Gronkowski weren't hobbled....

Whatever.  Game over and the Giants reign supreme.  Case closed.  Season over.  Please bring on the baseball season.  Warm weather.  The sound of wood bats cracking on a sun soaked day.  Beach balls and Cracker Jacks.  Endless optimism that this can be our year.

Right.  The NFL has surpassed baseball as our pastime.  That's fine.  Football plays so wonderfully on television and requires half the thinking baseball does.  How can America not adore it?  And it does judging by the 1 bajillion people that watched last night.  And everyone has an opinion on the game, and halftime show, and ads.

New York City was a ghost town today.  Some 7 million people were expected to call off today before NY won.  That number had to be higher.  And tomorrow the City will host a ticker tape parade which surely means production stays down another day.

Don't want to be the one raining on the parade...  but can this objective, non partisan sports fan ask for some tweaks to America's Big Game?

1.  Let's give the team with the best record home field advantage.  As NY was driving to their anti-climatic winning score (a backward, stumbling touchdown given to them by New England) the Indianapolis crowd was eerily silent.  At $900 a seat just how many real fans were in attendance?  You know, the guys who show up at Met Life or Gillette Stadiums are 8am for a 4pm start.  The guys with buses outfitted in team colors.  The gang with grills and kegs used more in parking lots than their actual homes.  The fans who cause delay of games and offsides penalties.    Domes and turf should be off the table too...  but that has to start at the top.  

2.  Take away the bye week after the Championship games.  It is simply a money grab and excuse to build unnecessary hype.  We will all be watching regardless when it is played.  Keeping the teams on the same schedule makes sense for a few reasons.  It is what they do most of the year.  It makes the coaches, players and staff work harder to come up with an effective game plan.  They are fresher and more engaged when the first kickoff is handled.  My feeling is the 1st quarter, and rest of the game for that matter, would have more excitement/unpredictability with a week lay off than what we witnessed yesterday.

3.  Which is why the halftime show has to be omitted and/or shortened.  And I am one of the few who was actually entertained by Madonna.  This is an impossible task for someone like her.  Her entire image was built on simulated sex acts and lip synching to carefully produced/packaged pop songs.  Did any of us expect her to sing live and reinvent the wheel?  Kelly Clarkson handled the singing(wonderful job on our Anthem!!)  for the night.  Let's leave it at that.  The halftime show is spectacle and high production design (of which last night there was plenty.)  Oh, and there were bad acts and misplaced acts littering the stage.  Mash ups with M.I.A. and LMFAO.  Hastily thrown together medley's of a time gone by.  It was no different than the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and The Black Eyed Peas.  Ask a superstar to condense a show they would charge $100 from 2 plus hours to 18 minutes and expect mediocre at best.  

Worst of all the Giants did not see the ball on offense for about an hour!!!  How is that fair?  Play a game one way all year and then on the biggest stage the rules change???  Patently ridiculous.

Let's make the home team award a local marching band the halftime stage.  Keep the game moving as it does during the regular year.  Then, after the final trophy is awarded bring on an act, like Madonna or the Stones, and let them play a full concert (live on the host network.)  I mean seriously, were we all anxious to see The Voice at 11pm last night?  But after a high calorie, high alcohol day and night a live hour or 2 hour concert might be more appealing.

4.  Do not leak the commercials online a week before, a month before, a day before the big event.   Keep a secret Madison Ave!!!  And keep some clothes on David Beckham!!!  We get it...  women make up half the audience.  Madonna plus a half naked soccer star??  This isn't Glee!!  The Ferris spot was more depressing than uplifting too.  And Vampires are boring.  And what the hell are Hunger Games?

5.   Finally, tighten up the pre-game show.  It need not start at 1pm.  We can assume a player from each team has had to deal with adversity.  Perhaps a family member had an insufferable illness...  or was homeless...  or both.

Show me the game and make it a good one.  And for the love of God make it easier for the Seahawks to win one, just one!!!!


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