Super Bowl XLV was supposed to be bigger and better than ever, a testament to the state of Texas’ ego and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ colossal coliseum. But in the end, the biggest game in America was Super-substandard.
The week started off with a curious statement from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell regarding embattled Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Goodell offered the following to Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King: “Not one, not a single player, went to his defense. It wasn’t personal in a sense, but all kinds of stories like, ‘He won’t sign my jersey.'”
The commissioner illustrated the lack of support Roethlisberger apparently had while the NFL was investigating him for misconduct. But why did the NFL’s czar throw Big Ben under the bus during Super Bowl week? Not exactly public relations 101, to be sure.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the coldest weather Dallas had seen in two decades certainly was. The city was an icy metropolis on Tuesday and then was hit with six inches of snow Friday. Ken Hoffman of The Houston Chronicle wrote that the road conditions were so poor, “several times I saw my life flash before my eyes.”
But the worst was yet to come. On Friday, ice and snow fell from the Cowboys Stadium roof, injuring six NFL-hired private contractors. To Jones, it probably felt like the sky was falling at this point.
Not quite yet.
Upon their arrival to the Super Bowl, 1,250 fans were told that their temporary seats were unsafe — 850 ended up sitting elsewhere in the stadium, while the other 400 had to watch the game on TV inside the stadium, according to an NFL statement. The screwed-over 400 got triple refunds and tickets to next year’s Super Bowl.
“Triple reimbursement” translated to between $2,400 and $2,700 for those fans. However, the average Super Bowl ticket could’ve been resold for $3,559 on StubHub.
But it’s the experience that matters, right?
Well, the “experience” of listening to Christina Aguilera’s rendition of the national anthem and the Black Eyed Peas’ halftime performance was no more pleasant than being cheated out of money. Aguilera butchered the anthem, and the Peas looked like they were performing a live version of “Tron.”
Even the game on the field was shoddy. Sure, the winner wasn’t decided until the final minute, but the performance of both teams left fans wanting more.
Neither team could hold onto the ball. Pittsburgh committed three turnovers, leading to 21 points for Green Bay. And yet, the Packers’ receivers nearly handed the game to the Steelers, dropping so many passes that Braylon “Stone Hands” Edwards looked like Jerry Rice.
In FOX’s mind, the game was a huge success. The network said Monday that 162.9 million people watched at least six minutes of the Super Bowl, a new record for total viewership of any program in U.S. history and 9.5 million more than the record set by last year’s Super Bowl.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, even mediocrity.