There was a winner and a loser from Super Bowl XL. Pretty simple, right?
Oh, but there is so much more to a Super Bowl game and week.
Winner: Jerome Bettis
No, this wasn't classic Bettis – 14 carries for 43 yards and no touchdowns, despite numerous red-zone attempts. But he kissed the Lombardi Trophy here in his original hometown, will be a hero in his football hometown forever and, after retiring, will one day set up residence in Canton, Ohio, which is almost smack dab between the two cities.
"Truly amazing," Bettis said. "It's a dream come true.
Winner: Ben Roethlisberger
Like Bettis, Big Ben didn't play his best game – just 9-for-21 for 123 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. But he made a tough run for a touchdown. And, most importantly, he is the youngest quarterback (23) to win a Super Bowl. Who cares how it happened?
Loser: Sports Illustrated cover jinx
But only barely. The magazine screwed up when it started selling its "Steelers Championship Package" on its website before the game even started. If you typed in "www.sipittsburghoffer.com," up came an order form for all sorts of Steelers championship junk. But there was no such Seattle package. In fact, when you typed "www.siseattleoffer.com," the Pittsburgh one came up.
The Jinx looked alive when Kelly Herndon was streaking down the sidelines the other way with a Ben Roethlisberger pass. Fortunately for whoever made the error, the Steelers hung on. And the magazine got some free publicity.
Winner: City of Detroit
Maybe it was because Jacksonville set the bar so low last year – the people tried but the city just lacked the size and infrastructure to host such a monster event. Maybe it was because the weather wasn't too bad. Maybe it was the casinos or the 4 a.m. nightclubs or because the town really knows how to party or because whiny sportswriters had become cliché. But Detroit got a ton of positive feedback, reaped $100 million-plus in revenue and had a blast in the process.
As an added bonus, the local media did a good job ignoring the few rip-job newspaper columns that were printed. It was a refreshing change from the thin-skinned Florida Times-Union, which tried to respond (poorly) and only invited more scorn.
Losers: Freddie Prinze Jr. and Brian Austin Green
Apparently, they have a new comedy on ABC. Judging from the in-house promotion they did on Ford Field's Jumbotron, the show sucks.
Loser: Chuck Howley
In one of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s and Brian Austin Green's promos (a trivia question, unfunny comedy sketch), the MVP of Super Bowl V had his name misspelled.
Maybe the network can combine Heather Graham's canceled sitcom, "Emily's Reasons Why Not," with Prinze Jr.'s "Freddie" and come up with "Emily's Reasons Why Freddie Sucks."
Usually getting into the Maxim Magazine party is a tougher ticket than the Super Bowl (no joke). If you don't know someone to get on the list, you can't get in. Ever. But this year, the magazine partially outsourced its invitation list and mayhem (or honesty, depending on your point of view) broke out.
The promoters sent out emails looking for women to attend as long as they sent in suitably hot pictures of themselves. According to the Detroit Free Press, the email claimed, "Please do not attempt to bring any male accompaniment, they will not be admitted under any circumstance." Who could argue with this?
Then there was the FAQ section of the email:
"Q: What should I wear?
"A: This is one of the hottest parties you will ever go to, and you're only getting in because you're a hot chick … Your job is to make Carmen Electra, Paris Hilton and Jessica Alba look bad.
"Q: I don't really look like the photo that I sent in, will that be a problem when I check-in?
"A: Yes … we still retain the absolute right to refuse entrance to anyone we want. That means your girlfriend that is the 'designated driver,' the one that 'offends spandex,' the one that makes you look hotter and thinner …"
My friend Lewis Kay, who handles the party, fired the local promoters, which is understandable. But I think they were just trying to be honest. And isn't that the best policy.
Winners: Cleveland Browns
They gave most (or all) of their allotment of tickets to members of the United States military who had been injured overseas. Good for Cleveland, but how could the Browns be the only team that thought of this?
Losers: A team of captains
In 1986, the Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots played in the Super Bowl. As a young football fan growing up outside Boston, I was all for the Pats. That is, until the coin flip when the Patriots sent like eight "captains" out for the coin flip, and the Bears sent Mike Singletary and Mike Singletary only.
"Our team sucks," I said right then and, indeed, Chicago proved that New England did.
Multiple captains is the dumbest idea in sports. What's the purpose? You either have a captain or you don't. There is only one Captain Crunch, Kangaroo, Morgan, America and so on. The Patriots should have sent out Hog Hannah and then they would have stood a chance. Instead, they showed confusion and weakness and got mocked even by their junior high-aged fans.
So what happens Sunday? Each team sent out six captains for the coin flip. That's not a sign of leadership, that's a couple of boy bands. It's something out of pre-kindergarten soccer. It's the coach saying he doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings in an era where everyone is above average.
The Steelers should have sent Bettis, and the Seahawks should have sent Steve Hutchinson. Old school.
Winners: Seahawks cheerleaders
As Pittsburgh hasn't had cheerleaders since the Steelerettes were disbanded in 1969, this wasn't much of a contest. Although considering the white boots the Sea Gals wear, it probably wouldn't have mattered. Seattle didn't win the game, but at least it has the Sea Gals.
Winners: The Rolling Stones
Yes, we would have preferred Eminem, Kid Rock or even some Motown – something from the rich musical history (or present) of Detroit. A 62-year-old rock star from England is a bit unnerving.
But here's why the Stones still rock. They got the gig because the NFL still is reeling from the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction controversy and figured the Stones are harmless. But Mick Jagger didn't tone down the lyrics, forcing ABC to dub out two parts of the act.
According to The Associated Press: In "Start Me Up," the show's editors silenced one word in reference to a woman's sexual sway over a dead man. The lyrics for "Rough Justice" included a synonym for a rooster that the network also deemed worth cutting out. Anytime a guy in his 60s can make the AP use the term "synonym for a rooster" is OK with me.
Owner Dan Rooney never wavered in his belief that Bill Cowher was the perfect man for the Steelers' job, even when the team missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. Likewise, Cowher never has batted his eyes at other teams and jumped ship. They've been together for 14 seasons, and on Sunday they finally reached the mountaintop.
"I'm just happy for him," Cowher said. "It was for him. He's a special guy."