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NBC succeeded by sticking to the formula, starting a full 5 hours before kickoff with its John Williamspenned "Sunday Night Football" theme music the tune that sounds like it was borrowed from a swordandsandal flick. The day ended with a thrilling game, better than anyone could have expected.
Cris Collinsworth and Bob Costas appeared on the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium, and Costas promised: "Super Bowl Sunday is a game, yes. But it's also a national party, and over the next five hours we'll capture as much of the football and frivolity as we can."
Some of the show inevitably felt forced and foolish. But overall, NBC delivered solid coverage, using a 300framepersecond "XMo" cam for replays on each goal line and at midfield. It came in handy when Santonio Holmes caught the winning TD pass in the Steelers' 2723 victory over the Cardinals.
"Today" personality Al Roker's thankless job was to have various celebrities come on to flog their latest projects (who won't be identified and given further free promotion here).
Once the game got under way, director Drew Esocoff kept the camera shots crisp, punching up quick cuts and appropriately timed closeups, while Al Michaels provided spoton playbyplay as always keeping on top of the action with alacrity and accuracy. When he gets excited, it feels real something we've known since the 1980 Winter Olympics.
And while it's hard not to think of Frank Caliendo's John Madden impersonation, marked by incoherent ranting, the excoach clearly delivered observations and insights without devolving into the arcane world of X's and O's. Between slick graphics and Madden's simple explanation, the term "receiving radius" could be understood even by those who only watch the big game for the commercials.
During cheap jerseys an Arizona fourthquarter drive, Madden noted, "They could still use the middle," and just like that, QB Kurt Warner threw a big completion over the middle. Then Larry Fitzgerald caught one over the middle as the Cardinals took a late, shortlived lead.
And he wasn't afraid to opine that James Harrison should have been cheap jerseys thrown out of the game, after the league's defensive player of the year kept pounding on an opposing player.
Michaels and Madden played off each other as well as ever, too, especially when the game tightened up and came to an exciting conclusion.
Just before Holmes caught the decisive TD, Madden offered: "They're going to have to do something to Santonio Holmes for the deep one, because he had that. I mean, he was open and the ball went right through his hands."
It didn't go through his hands wholesale jerseys on the next pass.
"Caught for a touchdown!" Michaels yelled. "Unbelievable! Incredible!"
He and Madden rightly anticipated that the play would stand up to official review.
"The emotions in this game have been over the moon," Michaels observed.
NBC's pregame marathon succeeded in being fastpaced, using shorter features and allowing the talent to tell stories.
Costas' teteatete with Springsteen was entertaining, with popculture maven Costas asking The Boss why he chose to do the halftime show this year after being asked numerous times before.
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but remains wary of Pitt
They won't like this in Chicago, and they'll like it less in Pittsburgh.
Mike Ditka Iron Mike, the quintessential man's man has come to Kordell Stewart's defense.
Stewart, the most disliked athlete in the history of Pittsburgh sports, is 03 as quarterback of the Chicago Bears. His own personal numbers 49.8 passing rating are just as bad.
But Ditka, the Aliquippa ugg outlet native, Pitt graduate and Hall of Famer who coached the Bears to a Super Bowl win in 1986, defended Stewart's play.
"It's not Kordell's fault," he said. "You can't blame it on him. When he came in, I said he might not uggs outlet online be the longterm solution but he might be a shortterm remedy. But they don't have the people. They grossly overestimated their talent.
"They say he's making a lot of bad decisions. Well, you make bad decisions when somebody's in your face on every down. I'm not sticking up for him, but Johnny Unitas would make bad decisions behind that line.
"Anyone who watched him in the great year he had here in Pittsburgh two or three years ago , knows he played great quarterback. He made great decisions. He threw the ball well. But if you don't have time to do ugg outlet online it, you start forcing the ball, you start getting rid of it before you should, you're not accurate."
Ditka was in town yesterday in his role as spokesman for "Tackling Men's Health," a program sponsored by the NFL and pharmaceutical giants Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline.
"Men are notorious cowards, well, not cowards, but hardheaded about going to doctors, admitting they have health problems, not recognizing symptoms, not admitting symptoms," Ditka said.
"We want to get men in the habit of seeing their doctor."
Was Ditka under a doctor's care when he had a heart attack in 1988?
"Are you kidding me? I was Iron Mike. I was fine. I was working out every day. I was on the stair climber 30 minutes a day. Everything was great. Then boom."
Ditka looks good. He was dressed entirely in black jacket, shirt and pants. He said he works out two hours a day, and looked fit enough to resume a coaching career. But it's not likely he's ready to take on the 21st century player.
"These guys think they're rock stars," he said. "There's a tremendous lack of respect for the game. If you play the game, you play it hard all the way until the whistle blows. You don't celebrate, you don't try to embarrass your opponent.
"If you're going to be a showboat, if you're going to pull an autograph pen out of your sock, pull it out when you get knocked on your butt, pull it out when you drop the pass.
"I have nothing against spontaneous celebration. But there's no room in the game for showboats."
Ditka was a twoplatoon end at Pitt from 195860. The ball was thrown little in those days, and his most acclaimed play for Pitt came on defense. But he achieved Hall of Fame and legendary status with the Bears as a passcatching and blocking tight end, as the toughest man in football.
He keeps a close eye on his alma mater, where he also lettered in baseball and basketball.
When it was suggested to Ditka that Pitt was doing well, he took exception.
"If you call giving up 400 yards to Toledo doing well. That should be impossible in college. You can't gain that yardage in warmups. When I read that, I was shocked.
"They've got Notre Dame coming up and the brunt of the schedule. They have a great offense, a very good quarterback [Rod Rutherford] and a great receiver [Larry Fitzgerald]. If the defense catches up to the offense, they're going to be there."
Ditka hasn't seen Fitzgerald in person, just on TV.
"He's more than pretty good, he's outstanding. He's unbelievable. Antonio Bryant was good; this guy is probably better than Antonio Bryant. He's probably as good as anyone who every played at Pitt, maybe anywhere."
But there are aspects of college football that Ditka doesn't like. The players too often are unable to be part of the student body because of the time constraints placed on them by their sport.
"That's bad," dealssales.weebly.com he said. "If you're going to be an athlete you need an outside social life, you need friends away from football. I had lots of friends who weren't athletes in college. I had a fraternity life. I enjoyed meeting other people in my college life. It wasn't all about football."
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