Bowl a remarkable display of restrained good taste
a move that stunned media pundits worldwide, this years Super
Bowl was marked by understated elegance. "We felt the whole
thing has just become blown out of proportion," said NFL commissioner
Paul Tagliabue. "Football is only a game, and the professionals
that play our sport realize that they are simply entertainers. There
is a bigger world out there that is so much more important that
what we do here."
Ray Lewis set the tone for the week with his heartfelt display of
remorse over the deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar following
last years Super Bowl. "I am sickened to have been in
any way associated with this horrible crime," said Lewis. "I
can only imagine what their families must be going through. Ive
established a memorial foundation in their names and appointed members
of their families as trustees. Perhaps some good can come from this
terrible tragedy. Im also going to stop wearing that silly
bandana and doing those shameful dances whenever I make a big play.
was so surprised when I heard him say that, I nearly choked on my
chewing gum," said CBS analyst Mike Ditka. "Ray Lewis
could have reacted bitterly after the media heaped all that attention
on him for his behavior, but instead he took responsibility, and
tried to turn it into a positive. Rays actions have helped
me realize that its hypocritical for me to work in the media
after I said all those hateful things about them when I was a coach.
As of today, Im resigning as an analyst and retreating to
a monastery to discover the inner me."
critics hailed the game-opening exhibition of works of art by Salvadoran
painter Carlos Cañas and Indian artist Bikash Bhattacharjee
as "masterful." Tagliabue explained that "the nations
of El Salvador and India have recently been struck by tragic natural
disasters, and we wanted the world to see that there are real faces,
real people behind the death tolls. It would have been shallow and
repugnant to open the game with a vulgar display of American military
strength. In the past, weve used the game to build the NFLs
image with overproduced patriotic songs, followed by
the inevitable trotting out of heroes of the Gulf War
who pounded an overmatched adversary into submission. To do that
again would make us look like a bunch of greedy, self-serving pigs."
years crop of Super Bowl television commercials was also strikingly
innovative. Budweiser, for example, announced the end of its mind-numbing
"WASSUPPPP!" ad campaign in favor of a new series of ads
based on Maureen Dowds biting social commentary. "We
dont care if we lose market share," commented a Budweiser
executive who spoke under condition of anonymity, "were
tired of exploiting our less-educated clientele. Wed rather
do something daring that makes people think." Monster.com and
Hotjobs.com were surprisingly up front about the irony of being
among the few dot-coms to survive the recent shakedown. "Lost
your dream job at a dot-com?" trumpeted one Monster.com spot,
"Use Monster to find a new job at a faceless megacorporation.
At least itll pay the bills!"
game itself was, in Tagliabues words "just a game. Its
not important who won its just about having fun. Everyone
was enjoying themselves so much, we forgot to keep score."
just love playing football," said Giants quarterback Kerry
Collins. "I try not put a lot of pressure on myself or my teammates
its just another fun thing I do."
awhile, it just seemed silly to sit there and watch grown men delighting
in playing a game," commented one fan. "I think most of
us left after the halftime show so we could go play pickup games
in the parking lot."
uncanny spirit of this years Super Bowl was perhaps best exemplified
by the actions of the Walt Disney Corporation. "Weve
decided to stop asking the Super Bowl MVP to endorse Disney World,"
announced Disney CEO Michael Eisner. "We think people should
decide for themselves whether to visit our parks, rather than relying
on the endorsement of a celebrity. Personally, I think folks should
spend more time just enjoying nature."
have suggested that the real reason for Disneys policy-shift
is that Ray Lewis is the recipient of this games MVP award.
With Lewiss recent legal troubles and the fact that he doesnt
exactly look like a "Ken" doll, Disney may not be interested
in his endorsement. Given this years remarkable trend away
from cold corporate calculation, however, that suggestion simply
doesnt ring true to this reporter. Theres a new spirit
of kindness in the air isnt it time we all just sat
back and sucked it in?