2010 Super Bowl surpasses finale of “M*A*S*H”

Super Bowl XLIV between the Saints and Colts was watched by more than 106 million people, which surpassed the 1983 finale of “M*A*S*H” to become the most-watched program in U.S. television history.

From ESPN.com:

Nielsen estimated Monday that 106.5 million people watched Sunday’s Super Bowl. The “M*A*S*H” record was 105.97 million.

The “M*A*S*H” record has proven as durable and meaningful in television as Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs was in baseball until topped by Hank Aaron. Ultimately, it may be hard to tell which program was really watched by more people. There’s a margin for error in such numbers, and Nielsen’s Monday estimate was preliminary, and could change with a more thorough look at data due Tuesday.

“It’s significant for all of the members of the broadcasting community,” said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. CEO. “For anyone who wants to write that broadcasting is dead, 106 million people watched this program. You can’t find that anywhere else.”

And people wonder why companies spend so much on one 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl. It’s incredibly hard to get that many people to tune into your product or brand at one given time, so companies have no problem shelling out millions for ads on Super Bowl Sunday.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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Will the Saints become a dynasty?

I know what you’re thinking: Great, the Saints win one Super Bowl and now the media wants to anoint them the Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s or the Cowboys of the early 90s.

Relax – I’m not doing that. But I bring the topic up because there’s a case to be made that the Saints have all the pieces in place to become a mini-dynasty this decade.

Over the next couple weeks, the Saints will ensure that centerpiece Drew Brees finishes his career in New Orleans by giving him a very large contract extension. Whenever the time is right, they’ll also do the same with head coach Sean Payton and make sure that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is happy where he’s at in order to keep their two playcallers intact for years to come as well.

With those three vital pieces in place, the Saints could challenge for multiple Super Bowls and not be a one-year wonder. Continuity breeds success and considering they have a family-like atmosphere in their locker room, the team won’t have a hard sell on its hands in trying to bring free agents like Darren Sharper back to New Orleans next season.

But as I’ve highlighted below (after the jump), they do have some huge hurdles to overcome if they want to build upon their success from the 2009-2010 season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tebow’s Super Bowl ad hardly worth the stir

The most anticipated Super Bowl ad came and went on Sunday night without causing the stir many people thought it would. In fact, it’s safe to say that one could have seen it and still completely missed its message.

Leading up to the Super Bowl, the conservative group Focus on the Family put together a 30 second ad starring Tim Tebow and his mother, in which the former Heisman Trophy winner’s mom talks about how she nearly lost him during her pregnancy. The commercial sparked debate before it was even broadcast because of its expected anti-abortion overtones.

Here’s the ad:

When I first heard about the ad, I thought it was going to be an in-your-face message speaking out against abortion. Instead, the ad was light – almost hokey even, and I thought it did its best to steer away from controversy. It makes you wonder what all the fuss was about before it aired. (Although I get why some people didn’t want it to be shown when they first heard about it.)

On a related note, did anyone else feel as though the commercials for the Super Bowl this year were average at best? The laughs came and went for me after Betty White was trying to run a dig route over the middle of a tackle football game and got plastered. But even that one fizzled at the end.

I must admit the Doritos samurai guy was pretty funny too, although anyone that had a full laugh come out of their mouth during that Bud Light auto-tune commercial featuring T-Pain needs to be beaten with a sack of dirty underwear. The same goes for that beaver ad.

Freeney shows his toughness in Super Bowl

One player that will be overlooked in the Colts’ crushing 31-17 loss to the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV is Dwight Freeney, who played the entire game despite having a tear in his right ankle.

Freeney missed two weeks of practice in hopes that his ankle would be completely healed by kickoff and while he wasn’t 100%, he gutted the pain out and turned in a banner first half. In fact, he made one of the best plays of the half when he sacked Drew Brees and forced the Saints to settle for a field goal attempt when they were driving deep into Indianapolis territory in the second quarter.

But following the game, Freeney admitted that the long layoff for halftime hampered his ability to play in the second half. He said his ankle stiffened up and despite his best efforts to loosen up on the sidelines, he just wasn’t the same player that he was in the first half.

Regardless, his teammates respected his effort.

From ESPN.com:

“He worked is tail off, three, four times a day,” Colts safety Melvin Bullitt said. “I knew he was going to play. There was no doubt in my mind he wouldn’t. That’s just the type of person Dwight is. It’s hard we couldn’t get the win for him with him coming back so soon off an injury like that. It’s very disappointing. He came up with a big play at a crucial time for us.”

We could play the “what if” game until we’re blue in the face. But had Freeney been healthy and played the entire game at 100%, there’s a possibility that Brees wouldn’t have completed 32-of-39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

Of course, none of that matters to Freeney or the Colts but considering many people (myself included) thought he wouldn’t be effective, what he did in the first half was impressive.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Brees completes true underdog story

It takes a special person to turn rejection into greatness.

Some forget that Doug Flutie replaced Drew Brees during the 2003 regular season because the former second round pick couldn’t get the job done. That prompted the Chargers to acquire Philip Rivers in the 2004 draft and had he not held out that year, San Diego may have never taken another look at Brees.

Brees played well in 2004 and 2005, which is why he was able to stick around in San Diego as long as he did. But the Bolts faced a major decision at the end of the 2005 season about what to do with Brees and Rivers. Do they commit to Brees and trade Rivers? Do they let Brees walk in free agency and go with an unproven Rivers?

That decision was essentially made for them when Brees suffered a shoulder injury in the last game of the ’05 season. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder and when he went back to the Chargers looking for a new deal, they offered him a five-year, $50 million contract that paid only $2 million in base salary the first year and the rest was heavily saturated in performance incentives.

The Chargers essentially offered him a deal they knew he would reject, which he did before hitting the open market. The team he wanted to play for, the Dolphins, was interested but they used his shoulder injury as an excuse to pass on him and sign Daunte Culpepper instead. The only team that showed any true trust in him was the Saints, whom he eventually signed with in March of 2006.

Fast-forward four years to Sunday night in Miami. After shaking off a jittery first quarter, Brees went on to complete 32-of-39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints’ 31-17 win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. He earned the MVP trophy by outplaying Peyton Manning, which is no easy feat. Brees was absolutely brilliant, as the Saints relied on him and the passing game the entire night. They trusted him to win them their first ever Super Bowl, just as they trusted him in ’06 when they were the only team that was truly interested.

But despite the fact that he’s now a Super Bowl and MVP winner, what makes Brees special is not his on-field heroics. He’s special because at no time did he ever complain about his situation or seek revenge on the Chargers and Dolphins for taking a pass. Instead, he took everything in stride, embraced the city of New Orleans and turned a bunch of negatives into one huge positive. Not everyone can do that and that is what makes Brees’ story so impressive.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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