Phil Mickelson predicted it! Among all the football experts and prognosticators who had most of the country convinced that the Super Bowl would be a high scoring game and that the Colts would win, it took a golf star to get it right! It doesn't matter that Phil's prediction was a result of a random competition in a Callaway spot that aired during the pre-game show which featured Phil hitting two golf balls -- one ball with 'N.O.' on it and the other with 'Colts' written on it and whichever team's was written on that ball he drove furthest, would win the game. And wouldn't you know it, he got it right. The 'N.O.' ball went further. Nice going, Phil. It just goes to show you that when it comes to sporting events and outcomes, nobody really knows for sure.
And for as much research and stats that go into analyzing these games and predicting the winner, that is why they play the game -- anything can happen. And the Saints out-played the Colts and Sean Payton out-coached them. That onside kick the Saints decided to do to start the second half was a risky but brilliant call that paid off. Thank goodness the Saints recovered Tom Morstead's kick after it bounced off of Hank Baskett. Once the Saints regained possession, the game took on a whole new life. New Orleans played with renewed confidence and the Saints went marching on to victory.
And what a deserving win! The Saints helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the state and its spirit. And now the French Quarter and beyond deserve to celebrate. There may not be enough bourbon on the Street it's named after to go around. If it takes a Super Bowl win to help lift the area's spirit, then that was a good enough reason to root for the team, as President Obama did.
Now, on to the half-time show: Did Roger Daltrey sound amazing or what? The guy can still sing! And that light show: very cool.
The commercials weren't all that hot. The babies talking in the E Trade commercials are always fun to watch. The spot with David Letterman, Oprah and Jay Leno was interesting. And whenever you see the Budweiser Clydesdales, you know the spot is going to be heartwarming.
I do give Tim Tebow credit for taking a stand and doing that Focus on the Family spot with his mother Pam. The controversy the spot received before it aired outweighed the spot's impact when it did indeed air. The message in the ad was so subtle, one may not have known what the spot was all about unless you read between the lines or heard all the noise about it before it aired. Whether its message was clear or not and whether you agree with the message or not, is not my point. My point is this: how many athletes can you think of who have enough guts to take a stand on any issue? Superstar athletes such as Jim Brown, Michael Jordan, Tiger and others have been criticized in the past for not taking a stand on any issues. Tim is fearless on many fronts and his taking a stand on such a controversial issue so early in his career reveals what we can expect from this leader in the future. I remember saying after the very first time that I met Tebow that I could see him running for office one day.
And imagine being Archie Manning, father of three sons, two whom have led their respective teams to Super Bowls in three of the last four years, with Peyton winning one in 2007 and Eli leading the NY Giants to the Super Bowl title in 2008. With perhaps the exception of the Williams sisters - Venus and Serena -- and the excellence they achieve in tennis, the Manning family has to be the 'First Family' of Sports -- the top sports family in America. How many Dads, ever, can say they have two sons who have won Super Bowls and a son who may go down in history as the top Quarterback ever? Had Peyton Manning won this Super Bowl, that coronation would have been a done deal. But either way, Archie Manning has to be one proud human being. And although his Peyton could not get the job done this time, his home town did and so father Manning has nothing to be sorry about.
New Orleans winning the Super Bowl is a wonderful ending to a story that took way too long and endured too many hardships. And once again, that is why the games are played and why sports are so special. The fairy tale endings and the positive impact a team can have on an individual, a community, an entire country.
To order DVD copies of Ann's interviews with legends in sports, visit her web site at annliguori.com