No. XXII). And on that note, I'd have to disagree with Pat Yasinkas' assertion that the onside kick was not, in fact, a true gamble because Sean Payton calculated the odds to be better than 60 to 70 percent. Even if those were the odds, this was the SUPER BOWL: Payton was not only potentially risking the entire season on a complex play in which several variables (including a visibly freaked out kicker) had the potential to spontaneously implode; he was also defying tradition, spurning conservatism, and metaphorically expectorating in the face of John Facenda and Vince Lombardi and Hank Stram and George Allen. Payton made several decisions that would have been unthinkable 10-15 years ago, the onside kick foremost among them. And I'm not sure why the Super Bowl has suddenly gone from the most boring major championship game in any sport to the most exciting, but maybe this defiant shift in the coaching paradigm has something to do with it. This was football's liberal cerebellum, making itself more blatantly apparent than ever before. Never, I'm guessing, has there been an NFL season in which the two most exciting and memorable plays were a fourth down conversion that didn't work and an onside kick that did.
2. I open this question up for discussion: Who are athletes, in any sport, whose careers have advanced from "disappointing" to "transcendent" ... only to slip backward, and once again become "disappointing"?* Is this how we will now be forced to define Peyton Manning? Does one errant pass disqualify him from the moniker of Greatest Quarterback Ever? Are we judging too harshly, or does Manning's lone Super Bowl victory now stand out as the glaring exception in a career otherwise marred by an inability to finish? Honestly, I think we probably need some time to allow this one to settle before we judge. And of course, Manning still has at least 4-5 good years remaining in his career ... I have to imagine his impact on the way the game is played/called will most likely outweigh even a mistake as crushing as this one. But I could be wrong.
3. Am I the only one who found that Google ad inherently depressing? Because the underlying message had nothing to do with a love story between a boy and a girl--it had to do with our dependence on the Internet for everything we ever do. What Google was saying, essentially, is that our entire lives will, now and forever, be dictated by the results of what we type into a rectangular box. The message of the Google ad was that they own us, and they know they own us, and we know that they own us; ideologically, it was a bizarro version of Apple's 1984 ad, only this time Big Brother wins.
*Honestly, there are none that immediately come to mind, especially when it comes to Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Maybe Jim McMahon, but the Bears were never really good before the '86 Super Bowl. Maybe Mark Rypien, but if I remember correctly, his opportunities were pretty limited before the '92 Super Bowl. The only other Super Bowl-winning QB with such an arc of possibility is ... Eli Manning.
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