First came a pregame ceremony featuring the bipartisan support of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush and the crowd chanting U-S-A as cameras caught misty-eyed players on sideline. The halftime show ruffled neither the prudish nor the cynical--hey, no matter the cheese factor, you have to love a Beatle. Then the league got a three-point game, crowned a modern dynasty and called it Super Sunday.
Big-time gambling does not end on Super Bowl Sunday. Consider: Ex--White Sox outfielder Magglio Ordo√±ez landed five-year, $75 million deal from the Tigers--even though he missed 110 games last year with knee injuries.
All gussied up, city wowed crowds with nightly fireworks over the river, unending politeness and sunny, balmy Super Sunday. NFL commissioner called Jacksonville the Little Engine That Could, and said he expects the league to bring Super Bowl back.
For two weeks now we've been hearing about The Game, The Game, The Game. Of course, we're talking about 50 Cent and Dr. Dre protégé The Game (Jayceon Taylor). His debut album, The Documentary, opened at No. 1, then held at No. 2 on Billboard chart.
Nets Vince named an NBA All-Star starter for fifth time, while averaging 28.5 points as New Jersey won five of six. And don't feel bad Jimmy didn't get pregame face time with other ex-Presidents. He drew crowd to Jacksonville bookshop on Friday and signed his latest book, Sharing Good Times.
Mouthy Eagles wideout called out Patriots secondary days before the Super Bowl, telling Rodney Harrison, "I have something for you." Then he complained his team didn't give him podium time to meet the press. Mitchell had little for Harrison or Philly fans--one reception, 11 yards--while Harrison had two picks and a sack and was game's best defensive player.
People just don't seem to be paying them any mind. Ordo√±ez snagged that contract; Eagles' Terrell Owens ran wild with screws in his ankle; and Pats' DE Richard Seymour cut down the run and pressured Donovan McNabb in Seymour's first game back from MCL tear in his left knee.
The city faced complaints about shortage of hotel rooms and taxis, traffic crawled, and cold (sometimes wet) weather dampened festivities in days before Game. Nothing hurt more than the gouging: Souvenirs at ubiquitous riverside vendors cost more than at the airport.
L.A. radio star, and Eagles fan, Ralph Garman bought (for $760) a bowl of Apple Jacks a woman put on eBay after, she says, the Jacks miraculously settled into the Eagles' logo. "Every little bit helps," Garman told Knight Ridder last week. But instead of lucky charms, he got a cereal killer.
After loss on Sunday, Minnesota has dropped seven of last nine day games. Coach Flip Saunders: "All of a sudden [your routine] is different. You get up and boom, you're going to the arena." Tough noogies, Flip. Some folks' alarms go off in the dark. And tougher noogies, T-Wolves fans. Six more matinees ahead.
JEFF GROSS/GETTY IMAGES (MITCHELL)
PRESTON MACK-US PRESSWIRE (BOAT)
JONATHON DANIEL/GETTY IMAGES (GARNETT)
DAVID BERGMAN (CARTER)
AL BELLO/GETTY IMAGES (FIREWORKS)
JULIE JACOBSON/AP (PATRIOTS)