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Yes, Virginia, It Was a Super Bowl
February 4, 2008  | By David Bianculli
 
It was a huge upset, but not at all upsetting. Last night's Super Bowl XLII ended with Eli Manning and the New York Giants robbing the New England Patriots of the lead, and their perfect season, in the final minute of play. It was a great game - and in every way, it was great for broadcast network television.

For once, the biggest TV audience of the year got to watch something worthy of its attention. It was worth watching, and impossible to turn away from, until the last second - literally the last second, when Tom Brady and the Patriots turned the ball over on downs, and the Giants won, 17-14. Fox's Terry Bradshaw called it "the greatest Super Bowl I've ever witnessed" (but that excludes, I guess, the ones in which he was playing).

super-bowl-predictions.jpg

But it was a great game. Who saw it coming? On Fox, not Bradshaw. Not Howie Long. Not Jimmy Johnson. But the other guy with whom they traded predictions all season, Frank TV comic impressionist Frank Caliendo, did. Before the game, he was the only one of the four to put the Giants in the win column.

Other off-the-field observations:

The post-Super Bowl episode of House was a good move by Fox, a very strong episode that ought to earn it some new viewers. But the commercials, this year, were well below par.

super-bowl-ad-coke.jpg

Best commercial? My vote would go for the Coke ad set during Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, with giant balloons of Stewie from Family Guy and Underdog fought each other over a giant inflated balloon bottle of Coke - which was won, in the end, by good old Charlie Brown.

I also liked the Fed Ex ad with the giant pigeons, the Vitamin Water ad with Shaq as a giant jockey, and - how deliciously twisted - the cavemen from the Geico ads doing a Geico ad complaining about the poor makeup and casting on the TV series Cavemen. Which, of course, was based on the Geico cavemen.

(Oh, and the terminator from The Sarah Connor Chronicles tackling that annoying NFL Fox robot? Priceless.)

Oh, and ads for movies stood out, too. The Iron Man promo was exciting, the Adam Sandler ad for You Don't Mess with the Zohan made it look like an instant hit, and the Disney-Pixar Wall-E movie looks like fun, too.

But for once, today, the commercials aren't the best thing to talk about. There was that final drive by Manning... and everything else about the game itself. Brought to you, it's worth remembering, by free TV.

 
 
 
 
 
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