Monday, February 04, 2008

Superbowl XLII

On Friday I found out that this weekend was Superbowl Weekend - the XLII (42nd one, to be precise). Now American Football used to be one of my few indulgences with respect to the culture of the USA, way back when Channel 4 used to show it around 11PM. It later moved to the early hours, at which point, (surprise, surprise) the viewing numbers dropped so much that they decided to stop showing it altogether. So now, in the UK, we get one dose of gridiron a year on terrestrial TV.

In the recent past, the event has been broadcast by ITV, so I went searching around the commercial TV station listings for Sunday, and could no find no sign of the event. Oh dear, thought I. Yet another year where I go without. So imagine my pleasure when I discovered, quite by accident, on the page on Superbowl XLII, that it was going to be on BBC2! No commercials need apply!! Yes, I know many citizens of the USA watch the Superbowl just for the ads, but, frankly, I couldn't give a damn for ads, US or UK.

So, for once, my TV license fee has gone to pay for something I actually want to watch! (soap-opera producers, soccer companies, 'reality' show makers, go spin!)

Finally, the game itself? Brilliant.

In the run-up to the event, the New England Patriots have had an amazing season - unbeaten though the regular season, and the play-offs. They were even taking pre-orders for 19-0 merchandising before the weekend! (19 wins, no losses - the full 2007/8 season)

Every pundit out there though the Pats would walk it. The New York Giants, on the other hand, had a poor start to the season, but ended with a 10 away-game winning streak, but are led by a much criticised quarterback, Eli Manning.

In the game, it became clear quite early on that both teams were up for this. (In the past, the Superbowl can be an anticlimactic conclusion to a tense and exciting series of playoffs). The Giants defensive team (and their defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo were absolutely stunning. The Pats might have been leading 7-3 by half-time, but the Giants were winning the ball game! Then, in the last two and a half minutes of the last quarter, the Giants and Eli Manning were given their moment to really make the winning plays. They made over 83 yards in 12 downs, to score a touchdown (received by Plaxico Burress) with 35 seconds on the clock. The Pats just couldn't bring it back from there, though, to give them credit, they tried very hard!

All in all, a game that had me awake throughout (not an easy task when it starts at 11:30PM and goes on until 2:30AM!), and on the edge of my seat (absolutely literally) for the last 5 minutes of play (that took about half-an-hour to play because of timeouts, etc).

Go Giants!

(trademark lawyers, please take note, I am not infringing the NFL's trademarks because I'm not trying to convince any member of the purchasing public that what I have here is the Superbowl XLII event - no consumer confusion, no trademark violation)

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