The Game Of Steel

“Winning isn’t everything, but losing isn’t anything.”
–Charlie Brown (Peanuts)

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to check in on this blog. As I suspected, school has been monopolizing most of what used to be my free time. I have also been on a bit of a DVD-watching binge lately.

I finally saw a couple of last year’s big hits, Transformers and Spider-man 3. I thought the first two Spider-man movies were terrific. Like many others, I found the third installment in the series a little disappointing. I was hoping the fanboys would be wrong on this one, as I do not always agree with their opinions on such matters.

Spider-man 3 certainly wasn’t horrible, though. I really can’t even put my finger on where they went wrong with it. Something just didn’t quite work this time out. It still made tons of money, though, so maybe they’ll work the kinks out for Spider-man 4 whenever that comes along.

How about that game yesterday? I’m only a casual football viewer, my brother being the real fan of the family. Still, I’ve seen my fair share of football games over the years, and I must say the Giants’ upset victory over the Patriots may just well be the best game I’ve ever seen. It certainly was the best Super Bowl game in my lifetime, even though neither team is a favorite of mine.

I’m a sucker for underdog stories. I rooted for the Giants to beat the Patriots while watching the last game of the regular season back in December. The Giants missed winning that one by only three points. Last night, I was rooting for them once again.

I’ve also been watching more football than normal lately, including all of the playoff games for both the Giants and the Patriots leading up to the Super Bowl. My impression had been that the Patriots were definitely beatable — thriving more on reputation, lately — and that the Giants were dangerously underrated. Any team that can beat the Cowboys at home when they’re having a good year and then do the same again against the Packers at home is worthy of respect.

Yet, no one was giving them any — which was probably the best thing that ever happened to the Giants. So, while the media was focusing on who Patriots QB Tom Brady was dating and whether or not his ankle was sprained, the Giants were busy getting ready for a Super Bowl that others had written off as a mere formality on the Patriots’ inevitable march to a perfect season.

Fortunately, the Giants didn’t see the Patriots victory as inevitable. The Patriots didn’t get that perfect season after all. A perfect season certainly doesn’t end with a loss in the most important game of them all, after all. Though the Patriots may have won more games, due to the longer season of today, the 1972 Dolphins remain as the NFL’s only undefeated team.

Ironically, in all of their imperfection, after barely making the playoffs at all as a wild card team, the Giants managed to pull off the perfect season while no one was looking, one for the football history books — for how else could you describe a season capped off by beating the team that everyone else said was “perfect” or even “the best team in the history of the NFL”?

* * *

Maybe the exciting game last night will finally put an end to one of my pet peeves (probably not): People who go around saying that the Super Bowl commercials are better than the game or that they only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials.

As the Giants defied the Patriots, the commercials were as bland as the game was thrilling. Most of the ads suffered from attempting to be overly clever. The screaming squirrel comes to mind, among others.

The only one I really enjoyed was a beer commercial where a Dalmatian trains a horse, to the tune of Rocky. And that was probably more because I just watched Rocky II on Saturday night, so the nostalgia hit a chord with me. Funny that my favorite commercial was a beer ad, since I don’t even drink.

The Coca-Cola commercial where a Charlie Brown parade float swoops in at the last moment to steal a Coke bottle float from an Underdog float and a Family Guy‘s kid float wasn’t too bad, but mostly because it was good to see ol’ Charlie Brown, the ultimate underdog, win something for a change.

Charlie Brown appearing in a Coca-Cola commercial, does that mean there’s a chance we’ll finally see the original version of A Charlie Brown Christmas on TV or DVD at some point in the near future? Coca-Cola sponsored the classic special for the first year or two and there were actually product placements that were subsequently removed for future airings (at least according to what I’ve read; I’ve only seen the “edited” version of the special).

How about that Ford truck commercial that went as far to assume the winner of the Super Bowl, noting that there was a “Patriotic” sale and that the truck included a “championship” engine. Ooops.

* * *

One thing I can guarantee, no one watches the Super Bowl for the halftime show – especially not in the post-wardrobe-malfunction era. I flipped away to watch some of the “Puppy Bowl” on Animal Planet.

Speaking of the infamous wardrobe malfunction from a few years back, I wonder if this year’s postgame show will give rise to a new controversy. Turn a camera on people and they act like complete idiots. During the postgame show, I saw a “fan” making faces in the background before proceeding to flip off the entire viewing audience — with both hands, no less. I’m sure his friends and family are proud.

* * *

Sure, football may be just a game but there’s something to be learned from both teams this time out. The Patriots (and the media, once again) have taught us to never take anything for granted, while the Giants have reminded us of the most valuable lesson of them all: Never give up.