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February 10, 2005

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I guess it is unavoidable that we experience a little Super Bowl let down. I mean, after two weeks of build up, it is just a football game. GaspÖ yes I said the Super Bowl is just another NFL contest, albeit, between arguably the two best teams the professional league has to offer.

Sure there were some remarkable plays. I particularly liked the catches made by the Eagles receivers, who spent most of the evening trying to snag errant tosses from Donovan McNabb. Was it just me, or did the Philadelphia QB look nervous all night? Sort of reminded me of the great Peyton Manning, who fought happy feet in the AFC championship game against those same Patriots.

Of course itís easy for this armchair quarterback to criticize. I didnít have to face those 11, hard hitting veterans that made up arguably one of the best defenses in NFL history.

I guess what Iím saying is, McNabbís performance was not necessarily an indictment of his ability, but more so a direct result of his opposition.

Can anyone argue that New England boss Bill Belichick is one of the greatest, if not the supreme coach in NFL history? Now there have been plenty of guys like Jimmy Johnson and Bill Walsh who headed teams that were as successful, if not better than the Patriots. But Belichick crafted a championship team against terrific odds. He was able to manufacture a new game plan every week, attacking his opponentsí weaknesses while varying his own attack to score enough points to win. The man is simply a football genius.

Maybe Iím a little biased. I must admit that I admire the New England leader. He keeps a tight reign on his players, and demands more obedience than most professional athletes are capable of. He doesnít toot his own horn and never tries to show up the opposition. Belichick goes to every effort to keep his teamís success in perspective, refusing to talk about how good New England is.

Of course that doesnít stop the rest of us from labeling the Patriots as the newest NFL dynasty after winning three of the past four Super Bowls.

Will they be back for number four in 2006? They will have to do it with a new coaching staff as the teamís two top coordinators have been rewarded with head coaching positions of their own (Cleveland Browns and Notre Dame). I suspect that will simply be another challenge that will fuel the consummate pros that Belichick seems to surround himself with year in and year out.

But back to the game. By halftime, I was already drifting off to different entertainment. Granted the second half was more exciting than the 7-7 tie in the first two periods. Heck the commercials werenít even good enough to keep me glued to the tube. There definitely were plenty of corporations that wasted the $2.4 million average price tag for the 30 seconds of air time.

While the Patriots won the game, Iíd say that Fed-Ex won the commercial contest. I thought their spoof on the top 10 components of a winning Super Bowl ad, was entertaining. And unlike the sultry web domain ad that featured a buxom super model at an FCC indecency hearing, the Fed/Ex ad worked, because I could tell you what company paid millions of dollars to get me to see their name.

Iíd say honorable mention would have to go to CareerBuilder.com. The internet job-finder ad hit home with all of us who feel like we are surrounded by a bunch of monkeys at work. Anheuser-Busch, the biggest Super Bowl spender, hit a home run with its touching salute to our nationís soldiers. It didnít make me want to reach for a cold one, but it did make me stop and reflect on the servicemen and women who werenít able to be in the midst of a Super Bowl party because they were protecting our nation.


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