Monday, February 7, 2011

Twitter is my Super Bowl MVP

So my Super Bowl Sunday began with this:

 That's what now resides on the home page of my favorite illegal streaming site.  I had been planning to watch the game on my computer, which I'd done the last month since we officially shut off our Direct TV.  Our TV viewing habits have so changed that basically the only thing we were watching as it was broadcast were live sports ("we" meaning "me"), and once my buddy Kevin turned me on to this particular site, there was really no reason to keep paying those bills.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I clicked my bookmark at 6:30 EST Sunday night and saw that the feds had spoiled my fun, apparently as part of a pre-Super Bowl crackdown on anyone that might wish to spoil Fox's God-given right to force us to watch their broadcast.

I was apologetic.  Surely God (figuratively) and country (literally) weren't going to deny me the culmination of the NFL season over my morally questionable practices?  In Sarah Palin's America?  Outrageous.  So I turned to the last refuge of the internet desperate: Google.  Various searches, like "Super Bowl watch online" and "Super Bowl live stream" confirmed only that the game was NOT being streamed legally anywhere, and that the remaining options were even more dubious then my previous site.  More then once (well, twice) I gave up, only to think "maybe if I tried this..." or even "how bad could the Malware be...".

Then I noticed, though, as part of my search, a similar query had gone out from Alleycat17 on her Twitter feed.  Yes, the famous Alleycat17!  I know, right?  Anyway, she tweeted this, just minutes before my search, and as I impatiently reloaded the page, I thought about what to call myself.  A Tweet Leech?  Can that be a thing? Finally, my patience and hard work were rewarded with this.  Success!

And I thank you as well, Winchester84.  You do, in fact, rock.

The feed I ended up watching came from Sky Sports, the big ESPN-esque channel in the UK.  While they used the normal Fox broadcast. they augmented things with their own analysts, culled from the dregs of all potential football talking heads in the country.  In the studio (which was presumably in London, though it was never said, and everyone on camera was an American, and I don't know why they'd bother flying them across the Ocean, but who the hell knows, I don't know why they had them on in the first place), was Some Guy.  He was joined by onetime Eagles fullback Cecil Martin (the worst game I've ever heard.  Seriously, at one point he said "The Steelers are out of this game right now, but they're still in this game."  What the what?) and former NFL quarterback Jay Scroeder, who looks less like a former NFL quarterback then anyone else ever.  Let's see if we can find a relatively current picture:
Your next school board vice-president
He actually had more hair on the sides and less on top last night, which made him look more like a weenie.  A refreshing change from Joe Theismann, though.  They also had a crew at the game, including a British guy whom, we were told, "knows more about the Pittsburgh Steelers then anyone" (a comment sure to set US-UK relations back decades), a guy names Sean, whose last name I never caught and who disappeared at halftime, and (I'm not making this up) the wide receivers coach at Southern Methodist University.  Seriously.  He's got to be, like, 400th on list of possible Super Bowl analysts.  And I could understand if this broadcast was for, say, the Ivory Coast.  But this is the UK!  You gotta step it up!  At least get a position coach for an NFL team!

As for the game itself... it was fine.  I don't think you'll ever see clearer proof that the key to winning in the NFL is turnovers.  The Packers won because the Steelers turned the ball over three times, which Green Bay converted into three touchdowns.  The end.  There was an odd stretch, from basically the second quarter into the third, where Pittsburgh seemed to impose their will on the game without ever actually taking the lead.  I know everyone's talking about Mendenhall's fumble being the key play of the game (and it was) but I thought Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin's decision to go for a 52-yard field goal after a nice drive stalled was a big deal.  Pittsburgh at that point had established a big advantage in field position, and if they'd just been a little patient and pinned Green Bay back, they'd be able to go back on the attack with a short field quickly.  But Tomlin got jumpy, surprising for a guy that doesn't seem to rattle.  And I thought his counterpart, Mike McCarthy, did kind of a lousy job at calling plays.  He called an Andy Reid-esque 40 pass plays to 10 runs (roughly) and every Eagles fan in the world will tell you that's no way to win.

But win his team did, because Pittsburgh was oddly tight, and Aaron Rodgers made enough plays.  Good for him  I think NFL fans around the country have been pulling for him, just to stick it to Brett Favre.  I also thought the broadcast was pretty good.  I know I'm in the minority, but I generally enjoy Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, and I thought they did a fine job.  Unlike when I'm watching a game called by, say, CBS' Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, I didn't find myself talking back to the screen in exasperation the way my wife finds oh so funny.  And, because I wasn't watching the US broadcast, I didn't see any commercials, which is just fine with me.  Perhaps the single most overblown aspect of American culture, outside of the Tea Party, is the notion that the Super Bowl commercials are somehow special or noteworthy.  Perhaps that was true twenty years ago, but now it's just mostly the same bullshit Budweiser commercials we suffer through the rest of the year.  I've gotta check out that Darth Vader VW add, though.

And finally, I did catch a bit of the Black Eyed Peas performance (muted, naturally).  And guess what: they sucked!  But at least they looked goofy doing so.