My youngest son, Bill, who works for the National Football League, called me from inside the Superdome last Sunday night.
"Would you believe this," he screamed over the din of 70,000+ people. "Hollywood couldn't have done better."
I agree. Stop and think about it, no matter what your football, or non-football, preferences are. Start out with a pre-game show that features the Boston Pops doing all kinds of musicale Americana, throw in Sir Paul McCartney, and then add a backdrop of red, white and blue. Shades of immediate post-September 11 and the President's new-found friendship with Britain's Prime Minister.
Now, start the player introductions and the New England Patriots come out refusing to be introduced individually but rather as a team. They are resplendent too in their red, white and blue uniforms with the quasi-modern flag on the helmets. They are 14-point underdogs to that slick machine known as the St. Louis Rams with their very cool-looking uniforms and sporting the label, "The Greatest Show on Turf."
Toss in a halftime show featuring Ireland's U2 amidst a heart shaped stage and the unfurling of a gigantic banner that lists all the victims of the September 11th attack. Blow your mind yet? Sure, it's high-tech, spectacular kitsch but still pretty effective.
And then, let's not forget the game itself, one of the best ever in Super Bowl history. A young team takes it right to the experienced favorites and with 81 seconds left and the score tied, the Patriots, led by a second year quarterback who is starting his first Super Bowl game, takes his team up the field from back on their own 17 yard line for the place kicker to win the game in the last second from 48 yards out.
All the while, I am listening to John Madden on television imploring the Patriots to just run out the clock and to settle it all in overtime. But, not these Patriots. Young Americans, I call them, with the chutzpah and the aggressiveness to say, "We're going to win it here and now." Shades of Kabul.
Kind of gets to you doesn't it? It certainly did to me. And to top it off, did you see that wonderful and moving commercial courtesy of Budweiser about their Clydesdales who are hooked up and travel over snow to stand alongside the skyline of New York City? As the camera pans, we see the Statue of Liberty come into view and then the camera tilts down and the front legs of the horses are beginning to bend. As the camera pulls away, we see these wonderful animals bowing to Lady Liberty and Ground Zero.
No way could Hollywood do this justice. What did Lord Byron say again? "Truth is always strange--stranger than fiction." Yeah, ain't that so!
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