It’s the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown!

Okay, first things first: I know my headline isn’t the right title for the Charlie Brown Super Bowl episode. I also know this shot of Lucy pulling the ball away is from a different episode. But they both work and I like them, so they are staying.

Anyway, there was a big football game last night if you haven’t heard. For those of you keeping score at home, Green and Yellow beat Black and Yellow, 31-25.

One of the funnier side bets I came across was a bet on what color the Gatorade bath will be. Red was the favorite. Should have bet against it.

Typical of most Super Bowls, Super Bowl XLV was not just a game, but an experience. What goes in to a Super Bowl experience? There is the game itself, the storylines, the hype, the commercials, the entertainment and, of course, the food. I love the 16 or so Sundays during the year I put the feet up on the La-Z-Boy and watch the Bills, but the Super Bowl is different.

I usually watch the Bills alone, or with my brothers. But I can’t remember the last time I watched a Super Bowl alone. It is a social event that transcends the restrictions of normal sporting events.

It reminds me of a scene from “Miracle” before the USSR semifinal game… the announcer (Al Michaels? Ken Dryden?) says:

…there are a lot of people who do not know the difference between a blue line and a clothesline. It’s irrelevant. It doesn’t matter. Because what we have at hand, the rarest of sporting events. An event that needs no buildup, no superfluous adjectives.

I’m trying to withhold a bad joke about the irony of “no superfluous adjectives,” but I think you get the idea. It’s more than football.

The key to a good experience is watching the game with good friends and eating good food, but that’s about the only variable you can control. Everything else is in the hands of the players, the NFL, the performers and anyone with $1 million for a commercial.

The game itself was a good one, and the experience was an enjoyable one as well. But when you look at it, SB XLV is a great example of a whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I can say anyone had a great day.

It didn’t start well. Christina Aguilera botched the National Anthem. Give her a break, she’s only heard it a few hundred times. Ronan Tynan for XLVI, anyone?

How about the Packers or Steelers? Pittsburgh had three turnovers and Green Bay nearly blew an 18-point lead. Let’s keep looking.

James Starks? I’m really proud of the guy and he ran well, but his final numbers were nothing special. It’s awesome a WNY guy started in the SB and averaged 4.7 yards per carry, but he had 11 touches and totaled 52 yards. That’s not a phenomenal day.

Jordy Nelson? His final line of 9-140-1 looks good, but how many balls did he drop? Could have been seriously costly.

Ben Roethlisberger looked like a soccer player out there. Ouch my leg! Next play, 18-yard run. Oh, and he did bad things in a club bathroom last summer.

Greg Jennings had two touchdowns.  HE PUT DA TEAM ON HIS BACK. Or he had four catches. Your call.

This video contains vulgarity. Please be forewarned if you choose to play it.

The Volkswagen Passat? The Darth Vader commercial was really funny. Know what’s funnier? The car won’t be available for purchase until July. And the kid has never seen Star Wars (<– commercial video there too).

The Black Eyed Peas? Don’t make me laugh. At first I was like, “Oh no, Fergie’s microphone is too quiet.” Then I was like, “Oh no, her microphone is too loud.” The Peas came on my iPod earlier while writing this, and I couldn’t take it. I had to change it.

The city of Dallas? I thought having the SB at the palace was supposed to show the NFL what a mistake it is going to be having one in New York City. Except it snowed in Dallas. What does NYC–or any northern city–have to lose? (Super Bowl L in Buffalo! Or is that a joke in itself that it’s Super Bowl “L”?)

And how about the NFL selling tickets that didn’t exist? That’s so embarrassing. Word is they repaid the 400 ticket holders either multiple times face value, or $2,400. Only problem is many bought those tickets second-hand for way more than that (plus airfare, hotels, etc.). I don’t care if the NFL brought them on the field after the game or that it gave them free tickets to next year’s SB. That was pathetic.

Shaun Suisham. That field goal missed by what, 30 yards? It was from 52 yards out, but he’s an NFL kicker. I’ve hit from 40.

And speaking of embarrassing, I wonder how Alex Rodriguez feels right about now. I’m a die-hard Yankees fan and I’m wearing a Yankees hat right now. But even I was embarrassed for this guy. If that was me being fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz, I’d be bragging about it because I’m a regular person and that is a hot, blonde actress who happens to be rich and famous. But A-Rod is a somebody, and he can get any woman he wants. No amount of money or time spent with a hottie can heal that embarrassment.

Lastly, who on Earth dressed the commentators last night? Joe Buck and Troy Aikman did not look sharp. Neither did anyone in the studio at halftime. This is the Super Bowl, people! How do you not bring your ‘A’ game? Really, Joe, with that plaid shirt? Really?

Honorable mentions: The Steelers defense, sideline reporters, people who watched Glee after the game, pizza delivery people, anyone that would have won his squares pool if Pittsburgh kicked the extra point instead of going for two, anyone who made apparel in advance that said “Steelers 2011 Super Bowl Champions” on it, chickens that got used for wings, and Brett Favre.

So who were the winners of SB XLV?

Television. A record 111 million people tuned in to FOX for the game, reports say, meaning you made up .0000009 percent of the viewing audience.

Aaron Rodgers played pretty well, and won the MVP award. He wasn’t fantastic, but a lot of his good throws were dropped.

Packers fans are definitely winners. Who cares about anything else? Your team won the Super Bowl! Added bonus for shareholders (or whatever the technical term is since they aren’t a publicly traded company). It’d be awesome to say, “My team won the Super Bowl,” but even better to say, “MY team won the Super Bowl.”

Usher Raymond IV (and to a lesser extent, Slash), simply for the fact that the Peas shut up when it was his turn to perform. Slash would get more credit if Fergie didn’t have to sing/howl along to his song.

Whoever choreographed the dancers at the halftime show. I don’t know (or care) enough about the technical aspects of the dancing and patterns, but I liked the light-up people. Nice touch.

Ticker tape. I always wanted to have the confetti stuff showered upon me. I wonder how much it costs to buy all that tape. Some kids in Mexico probably worked really hard to make it.

John Madden. I guess if you have your own video game, you too can sit with the former president at the Super Bowl. Or is the real winner here George and Laura Bush, who got to sit with Madden? I don’t hold the texting thing against him. I assume he used his phone at some point during the game, and that’s just the shot they used. Not the same as A-Rod. Multiple places online say that Madden and Bush have sat together at games before. Interesting.

Any town that had a player playing in the game. Like Nick said, that is absolutely something to take pride in (read that!).

The NFL Rules Committee. Phew, we never had to try out those new overtime rules! People wouldn’t have known what was going on.

Jerry Jones’ monster scoreboard. This thing had more TV time than Charles Woodson…

…Which brings us to our next winner, the Players’ Union. What’s that you say? An 18-game schedule will cause more injuries? If only we had proof…

It seemed like someone was getting injured every series. That was nuts. That can’t happen. I like the idea of watching more football, but not at that expense. I’ve been injured before, and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

This is a reminder that, oh by the way, I hope there’s football next year. I’m going to miss it.

Week 2 NFL picks

Three points wasn’t enough for the Bills to cover the spread last week, however, if they wouldn’t have given Miami an intentional safety the game would’ve at least been a push.   

Reggie Torbor makes his first start for the Bills on Sunday

Buffalo looked so bad though that the odds makers give them the largest spread for any team this season to date; 13 points. Even that might not be enough.  

GREEN BAY (-13) over Buffalo
You’ll be seeing plenty of this and this on Sunday. I really have a hard time allowing myself to pick against my team with a spread this big, but I can’t say it isn’t deserved. The fact that the Packers are without starting running back Ryan Grant makes things interesting (and former UB back James Starks could see some action), but it comes down to one question, and the answer is yes, Aaron Rodgers is that good.  

Kansas City (+1.5) over CLEVELAND
They beat San Diego and now… they’re the underdog against the Browns? Can’t see the logic there. Jamaal Charles is legit.   

CINCINNATI (+2)  over Baltimore
Two weeks in a row I’m worried over the Bengals. Last week I got burned. Baltimore won last week despite having difficulty moving the ball, but I don’t know if they can pull out another one. I won a fantasy game last week because Ray Rice had a TD vultured by Willis McGahee, too. Not sure how that’s relevant, but always nice to bring up. Bengals kick a 46-yard FG at the end of the game for the win.  

TENNESSEE (-5) over Pittsburgh
Still not sold on the Steelers. Vince Young, of all people, is leading the league in completion percentage. Chris Johnson, who recently Tweeted that the league has already drug tested him three times this season, runs loose again.  

Philadelphia (-6) over DETROIT
Detroit may be worse than Buffalo. Plus they are without promising second year quarterback Matthew Stafford. Vick was exciting last week, and could give this weak defense fits.  

DALLAS (-7.5) over Chicago
This game is tricky. In a matchup of two teams who both played like crap last week, I’m forced to pick which one will rebound better. I’m taking Romo and the ‘Boys for the second week in a row—but this time it’s at the palace.  

CAROLINA (-3.5) over Tampa Bay
No way Tampa starts off 2-0. The Panthers put up more points in a loss against the Giants than the Bucs put up versus Cleveland last week. Give me Carolina at home.  

Arizona (+6.5) over ATLANTA
I was surprised the Falcons couldn’t going last week, even against a tough Steelers D. They face a weaker defense in Arizona, but I wonder how much worse Derek Anderson really is than Dennis Dixon. I like Atlanta to win the game, but not by a touchdown.  

MINNESOTA (-5.5) over Miami
Minnesota is no Buffalo. If the Dolphins let them hang around like last week, this one could get ugly.  

OAKLAND (-3.5) over St. Louis
I really have to pick someone to win? This game will definitely be decided by one team losing it rather than the other winning it. Sam Bradford made some mistakes last week, so I guess I’m going with the home team.  

DENVER (-3.5) over Seattle
After allowing the first six points of the game last week, Seattle scored 31 unanswered for the blowout. Denver on the other hand got shown up by David Garrard. Hopefully order is restored to the world as the Broncos get back to Mile High.  

The Manning brothers face off for the second time in their careers Sunday. Peyton won the 2006 match, 26-21.

Houston (-3) over WASHINGTON (best bet)
After beating the Colts by 10, they’re only giving Washington three points to work with? Mrs. McNabb must be putting a little something extra in their soup. I’m riding the A Train all day.  

Jacksonville (+7) over SAN DIEGO
Yes, I’m picking against San Diego two weeks in a row. I know Kansas City caught Rivers and the Chargers off guard last week and they should rebound, but Jacksonville has enough momentum from last week to keep it close.  

New England (-2.5) over NYJ
Geez. This game would be my best bet number two if I had one. Who made this line? Did they watch last week’s games? Revis Island is a mere speed bump for Brady. (Another 0-2 division opponent. Yay!)  

NY Giants (+5.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
The last time the Manning brothers met, the Colts won by five. Since then, I’d have to say Eli is on the rise and Peyton has stayed the same, if not slightly down. Add that to the fact that Indi got run into the ground like an elephant stampede last week, I’m leaning to the Giants.  

New Orleans (-5.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
I’m still a fan of Frank Gore and Mike Singletary, and after last week I’d really like to think they’d come back for the win. If it was against anyone but the Saints, I’d pick the 49ers. Brees & Co. narrowly escaped the Vikings last week, but they just have too much talent for San Fran.  

 ——  

Bit of a rough start last week, but it was to be expected. Turns out picking straight winners is a lot easier than winners against the spread.  

Buffalo News standings (best bets)
Sullivan 9-4-2 (0-1)
DiCesare, McKissic 8-5-2 (both 1-0)
Northrop 7-6-2 (1-0)
Wilson, Gaughan 6-7-2 (both 1-0)
It’s Always Game Seven 5-8-2 (1-0)  

In the words of Herb Brooks, “It’s gonna be a dramatic comeback.”