Archive for the ‘Super Bowl XLIV’ Category

One thing I aimed to accomplish on my first Super Bowl trip: Get into a good party without using my credentials (which probably wouldn’t help me much anyway) and without paying. Tickets to some of the best Super Bowl week parties are scalped for anywhere between 300 and 5,000 dollars.

I attempted to exploit every resource I had, even asking many of the players if they could hook me up.

The Saints’ Leigh Torrence said he had a connection for me, but that didn’t pan out. She had already been bombarded with requests from people “who knew a player.”

I called several The Score business partners. All of them told me I was too late — all the comp tickets had been handed out weeks before.

I called an old friend who used to work as a bartender in the Miami area. Nothing there.

Time to give up? Was I resigned to spend the weekend in my hotel lobby bar? Not quite. I developed some leads as the week wore on.

I did some stuff with the Lingerie Bowl participants throughout the week, and had a tentative invite to their afterparty Saturday at the famous Hard Rock Casino and Hotel.

And Score co-worker Randy Urban was headed down to South Florida to shoot some segments with Budweiser with the participants on the Bud Plane.

In the end, both of those connections delivered. And so I was faced with a choice no man wants to make: Party with the Lingerie Bowl winners or party with the Bud girls?

After consulting with some well-placed sources with veteran Super Bowl party experience and after spending approximately 45 minutes curled up in the fetal position fearing I’d make the wrong choice, I went with the “Jamie Foxx and Friends party at the Bud Light Hotel.”

That’s right, Bud takes over an entire hotel on South Beach for Super Bowl week. And at 6:00 the next morning, when I returned home to my hotel fearing the shape I’d be in on Super Bowl Sunday, I wasn’t regretting my decision. ESPN ranked the party as one of the best of the week, with only a few other events getting more props.

Usher and Jamie Foxx co-hosted the event, with Usher putting on a pretty good show (although his dancing could use some work). Here’s a video I took:

I didn’t have my camera, mainly because I just had no room on my person, but here are some awful pictures I took using my BlackBerry:

Bud Light Hotel

Usher performing

Jamie Foxx drinking vodka on stage

UPDATE: This dude got a way better video than me:

Here are some additional thoughts on Super Bowl Sunday.

+ Many of us wondered if the Colts’ young and inexperienced group of wide receivers would hurt them on the ultimate stage. And that was indeed the case, with Pierre Garçon dropping a third-down pass from Peyton Manning in the second quarter. At that point, the Colts were driving to build on a 10-3 lead, and the drop was ugly. I’m not sure the Saints would’ve come back down 17-3.

+ Looking back on it with about 12 sleepless hours of hindsight, it’s obvious that the Saints’ onside kick to start the second half will go down as the most memorable play of this Super Bowl. And man, we’ve had some good ones lately. You could probably argue that four of the top 10 plays in Super Bowl history took place in the last three years.

1) 2008: David Tyree’s catch
2) 2009: Santonio Holmes’ catch
3) 2009: James Harrison’s 100-yard interception return
4) 2010: Sean Payton’s gutsy onside kick

And Larry Fitzgerald’s late score against the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII was pretty fantastic, too.

+ One more note on the onside kick. Had the Colts recovered it, it still would have been a great choice, and I’d still be saying it. Teams should do this more against quarterbacks like Peyton Manning.

+ Sure, Reggie Wayne and Dwight Freeney played for the Colts, but their injuries appeared to make a difference. Freeney was only effective in the first half (his bad ankle stiffened up during the extended halftime), while Wayne was nonexistent until the second half. (Although he claimed today his knee didn’t bug him.)

+ Not Jim Caldwell’s best game. Could you let Manning go deep here or there? And what’s with the 51-yard field goal attempt from the 51-year-old Matt Stover?

+ It’ll be forgotten because of the eventual result, but did you see Manning’s throw to Dallas Clark, who had four defensive players surrounding him, in the third quarter? One of the best passes of Manning’s career.

+ It’ll be forgotten because of the eventual result, but did you see Joseph Addai break Darren Sharper’s  ankles? Amazing cut.

Drew Brees secured the Vince Lombardi Trophy ... literally.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — I spent a lot of time after the New Orleans Saints’ 31-17 Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts just cruising around the New Orleans locker room, trying to capture some raw celebration.

Some of the notable things I saw and heard:

+ The guys had a quasi-inside joke that I was loving. They’d be walking around, laughing and screaming, “IT’S THE CATALINA WINE MIXER!” This is why. (NSFW language.) Anyone who has played competitve sports knows that random inside jokes and punch lines bring players together — this was one of those for the Saints.

+ Not gonna lie. I expected some champagne and music. It was more subdued than I anticipated it would be, this being my first Super Bowl and all.

+ The guys kept teasing Drew Brees, who wouldn’t surrender the Lombardi trophy, mainly because he was locked in a corner with the media until an hour after the final whistle. “Drew, let go of the damn trophy,” said Paul Spicer. “I licked that thing, Drew, just so you know,” yelled another player.

+ I promise I’d reveal it if I knew who it was, but one of the players screamed, “&#$@ you, Tony Dungy!” Dungy, the former Colts head coach, picked Indy to win big.

Here’s some raw footage of the guys letting loose after the game:

That’s it for me from South Florida. Boarding a flight early Monday morning and headed back to Toronto. But just because the season’s over doesn’t mean the Goal-Line Stand won’t keep pumping out content. Check back daily for commentary on the world of the NFL.

You can catch me personally in a few different places, too. This week, for example, I’ll be on Toronto’s Fan 590 Monday at 9:20 p.m., Sun TV’s “The Grill Room” Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., Rogers TV’s “First Local” Thursday at 6:00 p.m. and Rogers TV’s “High School Sportzone” Friday at 10:30 p.m. Football will be the primary topic of conversation in all or most of those cases.

Until next year...

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Don’t lie. Until Sunday night, you had never heard of Saints special teamer Chris Reis. In fact, you might still have no idea who he is.

But it was Reis who made the single biggest play of the Super Bowl Sunday night, recovering an onside kick to start the second half. Reis and I had already spent some time together earlier in the week, specifically on a fluffy segment called, “Name that Pierre.” I caught up with him after the game to talk about his big play:

The world through Drew Brees' eyes.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — New Orleans Saints fans kept telling me this week that they’d celebrate tonight and for weeks to come, win or lose Super Bowl XLIV. I’m guessing the party will be at least a tiny bit better now.

New Orleans outplayed the Indianapolis Colts for three quarters, outscoring Indy by a margin of 31-7 after falling behind early on. Sean Payton and his staff didn’t try to avoid losing — they did everything they could to win.

They mixed up defensive looks all day, even switching between 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. They attempted and recovered a game-changing onside kick to start the second half. They gambled on a first-half fourth-and-goal, didn’t succeed, but stopped the Colts on the next drive and kicked an important field goal to go into halftime with the momentum on their side.

They did the little things right.

And they had Drew Brees — the NFL’s best quarterback. (I said it.)

Brees was pretty much flawless in the second half, earning the game’s MVP award. He might never be as popular as Peyton Manning, and a small part of that will have to do with the fact that his numbers might never compare to those of Manning (although a much larger part will have to do with the fact that he’s smaller and quieter than Manning), but tonight, Brees was the better player.

He wouldn’t let go of the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the game, holding onto it for dear life as he talked to the media – a process that lasted nearly 45 minutes. Poor, poor Super Bowl MVP.

And the dude’s not superhuman. He talked after the game about the fact he struggled to sleep in the nights leading up to the game:

 
Empty Sun Life Stadium.
Saints fans dominate.

 

Even the cops are Saints fans.

 

Swings outside Sun Life Stadium.

Paul Blart: Super Bowl Cop

What's left of radio row at the NFL media center

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — All the hype for two consecutive weeks, and everyone sort of disappears only 24 hours before the game itself. Tumbleweed just rolled past my chair here in the media workroom.

Everyone hits the beach today, I suppose. But after recovering from a crazy Friday night on Miami Beach, I’m back to work, putting together a football blogger “roundtable” that I’ll be publishing to the blog at some point next week, while I return to hibernation in blustery Toronto.

At 5:00, this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be announced here. I’ll be at the press conference and will have the real-time results on my Twitter account. Tonight, I’ll be back on Miami Beach checking out some of the parties. I plan on doing a blog post Sunday afternoon recapping the atmosphere of the evening.

It’s been a big week for the Goal-Line Stand. Thanks for reading and keep coming back for more.

Oh, and here’s a list of the finalists for the Hall of Fame, with my picks in bold:

Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Don Coryell – Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

Roger Craig – Running Back – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Dermontti Dawson – Center – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles

Russ Grimm – Guard – 1981-1991 Washington Redskins

Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

Rickey Jackson – Linebacker – 1981-1993 New Orleans Saints, 1994-95 San Francisco 49ers

Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

Dick LeBeau* – Cornerback – 1959-1972 Detroit Lions

Floyd Little* – Running Back – 1967-1975 Denver Broncos

John Randle – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks

Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Jerry Rice – Wide Receiver – 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Seattle Seahawks

Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Emmitt Smith – Running Back – 1990-2002 Dallas Cowboys, 2003-04 Arizona Cardinals