So the game has been played. A new champion crowned. The celebrations are raging and the tears are flowing. But how did CBS, the advertisers, and the game itself end up? Let's take a look....
CBS Pre-Game: When it was focused on actual football, the pre-game show was excellent. There were many great features on the players, especially those lesser- known ones who we should keep an eye on, as well as some interesting pieces on the players from New Orleans and the effect the city has had on them following Katrina, as well as the effect they have had on the city. Powerful stuff.
The rest of the good? The jailhouse interview with Plaxico Burress. The first time he has spoken publicly since his arrest provided a glimpse into his incarceration. I would have liked more insight into what his days are like beyond "wake up every day and thank God for getting him through", but it was still enlightening. watching the hosts demonstrate plays on their makeshift field. Nothing gets across information better than seeing it demonstrated in front of you. Plus, Dan Marino still throws a hell of a pass.
The bad? Katie's interview with President Obama. He is dressed casually, it's pre-game for the Super Bowl, and Katie is hammering him about the healthcare debate? ZZZZZ! How about treating him as the First Fan, asking about his Super Bowl memories, who he was watching the game with, and so on. Yes, one football question was asked, but someone should alert CBS that pre-game of the biggest game of the year is not the time to debate policy, unless it was his opinion on salsa versus guacamole. The forced tie-ins with all the advertisers. Yes, I get it. Companies pay millions to be associated with the game and in-show placement is the thing these days. But really, did we need to see Pizza Hut pizzas on the desk in front of them? Did we need the new "Director of Fandemonium" from Monster hanging around? And please, having Phil Mickelson hit golf balls with the new driver from Calloway being presented as analysis and thoughtful prediction was just horrible. The only good part of that segment was watching his caddie boot a football off the tee poorly. Lastly, the forced laughter between the hosts. Nothing they said made me even come close to cracking up the way they did at their own jokes. Just be normal and we'll all enjoy with you.
Overall grade: B-
The ads: For the most part, I liked them. I thought the McDonald's ad with Lebron James and Dwight Howard was the best, though airing it right before kickoff may have been a mistake as it seems to be missing from most polls. A great re-make of the classic Larry Bird/Michael Jordan "H-O-R-S-E" spots from years ago. I also thought the Bridgestone ad (killer whale a la "The Hangover") was very clever, the Bud Light house of cans, the Snickers spot with Betty White got big laughs here. The biggest laughs - The CBS promo spot with Letterman, Leno, and Oprah. No clue how they got them all in the same room to shoot this and keep it a secret, but kudos to CBS for getting it done. The E-Trade ad ("That milk-aholic Lindsey." "Milk-a-what?") and the VW spot (punch bug) with Stevie Wonder and Tracey Morgan also got a great response here. As usual, Go Daddy tried too hard. I also thought the Doritos spots kept missing the mark between funny and pandering. The Tebow ad that caused so much controversy? Ehhh. A big shoulder shrug to that. Much ado about nothing.
Overall grade of the ads: B+
The Game: CBS excelled here. Nantz and Simms did a terrific job keeping us informed with all the storylines we needed to be aware of, especially Dwight Freeney's ankle, which had been the biggest pre-game story of the week. Their camera angles showed us all we needed to see, especially on the reversed call for the two-point conversion. Additionally, great job by CBS tracking the Saints players carrying the Gatorade bucket to soak the coach - seemed they ran half the field with it - and just knocking down anyone who got in their way. Classic. As for the game - the score makes it seem it was more a blowout than it was. A great game not decided until near the end of the 4th quarter. You can't ask for more.
Overall grade: A
Misc Entertainment: Queen Latifah was good, Carrie Underwood gave the best rendition of the anthem since Whitney Houston, and The Who rocked. One other note on The Who - Daltrey can still sing and Townshend can still play (though I missed his flying splits from days of yesteryear, I loved the windmilling), but cutting down the songs as they did just didn't work for me. I get it - time constraints don't allow for three or four 7-minute rock anthems, but as a classic rock fan, it was too much of a teaser for me. Can only hope they decide to tour again. One last thing - with two of the original members of The Who now dead, would have loved some acknowledgement of who was playing the drums and bass.
Overall grade: A
Post-Game: Only one note here. Watching football Hall-of-Famer Len Dawson lug the Vince Lombardi trophy to the podium was painful. The thing weighs a ton, and he was practically assaulted by Saints players all wanting to touch it. I didn't know if he would ever get there, and if he did, he would get there safely. Maybe next year, we just have the trophy on the podium. Beyond that, the usual kudos from owner, coach and players. Fairly standard.
Overall grade: A-
So as another Super Bowl goes down into the history books, we can look back on the one from 2010 with good memories, some upset stomachs from eating too much, and an eye on Dallas next year.