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Omaha! Oma.....oh-MAMA!

February 9, 2014
By SHAUNNA DUNDER-HERSHBERGER - Times Leader Lifestyles Editor (sdunder@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

While he didn't actually say that, you could just tell by the mortified look on He-who-must-not-be-named's face when, on Denver's very first offensive play of the Super Bowl, the center wildly snapped the football out of his quarterback's reach and into the endzone. Denver quickly covered the ball for a safety, but the stench of doom already hung in the air for He-who-must-not-be-named and his minions.

And just like in Harry Potter, the evil wizard Voldemort is finally defeated by an upstart, young wizard. (Oh, stop whining - that's not a spoiler. I never even saw or read the last Harry Potter but everyone KNOWS Harry beats Voldemort. Duh.) Magic wands weren't involved in this battle, just some defensive magic. By the Seahawks. Not by the Broncos.

The much-hyped matchup between the league's best offense and the league's best defense didn't pan out to be quite as riveting as anticipated. Instead, the REAL battle was between the Denver defense and the Seattle offense. Except that really wasn't much of a battle either. I had an inkling that Denver's defense was rough around the edges, but they made Seattle's offense look like the 1999 St. Louis Rams. The entire game, the Broncos defense scrambled around down field, rarely pressured Russell Wilson, and in general looked like they'd have difficulty stopping a baby crawling through molasses. I don't know why a baby would crawl through molasses, but I'm just giving you a general idea of how inept the Broncos defense looked. I've seen Swiss cheese with less holes.

That's taking nothing away from the Seahawks, however. They played perhaps their best game of the season on all fronts - offense, defense and special teams, scoring touchdowns from all three. The Broncos as a collective whole played its absolute WORST game of the season, from offense to defense and to special teams.

If you'd have told me one team would score 43 and the other only 8, I - and probably most of you - would have reasonably surmised Denver had the 43. Denver didn't just lose. They were beaten. Badly.

To me, this had the same feel as Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002 between the heavily-favored Oakland Raiders and the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Raiders entered the game with a powerful offense and tons of experience, but they were the ones who looked tense and scared. The Bucs were loose as a goose - they were simply enjoying the moment, which proved better motivation than whatever was fueling the Raiders' tanks ("Don't screw up, don't screw up, don't screw up!" is not usually the inner dialogue of champions). I got the same vibe from the Broncos and Seahawks. The angry horses looked tight from the start, but the marine birds flapped around freely, fired up and ready to make a statement.

And so, the Seattle Seahawks win their first Super Bowl ever, in very convincing fashion, in the very first cold-weather, outdoor Super Bowl. Perhaps that mantra "Defense wins championships" really holds water after all.

Also of note:

- Tis a coat not fit for man, but beast.

Joe Namath served as the official coin tosser for this year's Super Bowl, and he made certain nobody would forget the moment. As only Broadway Joe could, he waltzed onto the field wearing a grossly outlandish oversized mink coat. That coat was so obnoxious and large that it looked like it was swallowing Namath whole, leaving only his head, hands and stumps for legs peeking out. Everyone was apparently stricken dumbfounded by Namath's attire, so much so that Namath tried to pull the wool (or mink) over everyone's eyes by tossing the coin too soon. Referee Terry McAuley yelled out, "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" which actually caused the masses to draw their eyes away from the man-eating mink, albeit briefly. Namath, most famous for guaranteeing a Super Bowl win for the Jets in 1969 and then delivering on a stunning upset of the heavily-favored Colts, has seen his share of problems during his later years. Now 70, Broadway Joe has suffered with alcoholism and other health problems. In an article in the New York Post just days before the Super Bowl, Namath admitted he has brain damage due to the long-lasting effects of concussions he sustained throughout his career. Not to make light of the situation, but I'm quite sure that alcohol didn't spare too many of those brain cells either. Still, despite all this, the legend of Broadway Joe lives on, at least until the coat finally eats him.

- Next season, He-who-must-not-be-named will resume his "real" name in my column.

It's hard to totally blame He-who-must-not-be-named for Denver's poor performance, since it's awfully hard to control a game when your defense can't get off the field. In addition, Seattle's defense was in his face the entire night, forcing two picks (one returned for a touchdown by Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith) and a fumble. He had numerous passes batted and deflected. But He-who-must-not-be-named can't just blame the stingy Seahawks defense. A few times, I think the shadow of his brother, Eli, hit the field, because He-who-must-not-be-named made some horrible throws across his body back toward the center of the field - those are Eli's favorite passes to throw! In fact, your future commissioner loudly expressed discord at He-who-must-not-be-named's insistence of throwing across his body. Ugh! Honestly, I can't believe he didn't have more passes picked off. So where does this leave He-who-must-not-be-named on the list of great NFL quarterbacks? If he'd won this one as expected, he'd probably be right up there at the top. But now he's kind of in that "he's great but" category. Records mean little when you can't bring home the most coveted trophy of all at the end of the season. And I'm willing to bet He-who-must-not-be-named would trade every single one of those records this season for his second Super Bowl ring.

- The 80s called. They want better commercials back.

If you were too busy restocking the food, taking a bathroom break, or flipping the channel to the Puppy Bowl to see the commercials, you're in luck. Let me recap them for you: you missed NOTHING. Aside from the fondness I had for the Radio Shack commercial that resurrected awesome 80s stars like Alf, the California Raisins, Teen Wolf, Mary Lou Retton, Hulk Hogan and more, the Super Bowl commercials were mediocre at best. Was it just me, or did they all seem a little too... heavy? No, we didn't get any Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair type ads this year, but it seems like the slap-stick comedy commercials of just a few years ago are ancient history. Bud Light always delivers at least one good, funny commercial.

I don't even remember seeing them advertise this year. I'm sure they did, but clearly it was anything but memorable. And sadly, the game became unwatchable pretty much right after the Seahawks ran back the opening kickoff of the second half, so the only thing left at that point were the commercials. Even the "funny" commercials this year barely made me crack a smile. Perhaps the saddest commercial of all? The series featuring Tim Tebow talking about how contracts were too binding. Here's the definition of hypocrisy: Tebow advertises against "binding contracts" yet practices daily hoping to return to the NFL by, guess what, signing a contract! Better luck next year, advertisers. Perhaps you should check in with those wily NFL marketing veterans for some creative ideas.

And so concludes another NFL season, as well as another season of my snarky observations. But fear not! You can always check out my NFL blog "Laces Out" on timesleaderonline.com, as I will periodically update it when the mood strikes me just right for an NFL fix. Hopefully that's enough to hold you over to next season. I know it will be tough, but just try. For me.

Until September, enjoy the off season, my friends!

 
 

 

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