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Britney, Bradshaw and the British



Published: Mon, February 4, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Observations from a comfortable couch during our undeclared national holiday:

U What's better than overtime in the Super Bowl? A heavy underdog winning on a last-second field goal.

U Class: Example A -- Rams quarterback Kurt Warner staying on the field to congratulate the Patriots. Example B -- FOX analyst John Madden saying the Patriots shouldn't try for the game-winning drive in the final 90 seconds, then admitting the Pats knew what they were doing.

U If only those who doubt how special Super Bowl Sunday is in America had seen the pregame tribute to the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln and the United States of America.

In a word -- spectacular!

The words were powerful, the music (the Boston Pops) inspirational and the pictures stunning.

Say what you will about the evils of professional sports, but few organizations and events could bring together our former presidents for such a patriotic display. Hats off to the NFL production team.

Our children might not know Gerald Ford from Jimmy Carter from George Bush, but wasn't it great that they were exposed to some of our nation's history and a dose of patriotic fever?

U The British aren't coming, they are here! Rock legends Paul McCartney and U2 performed with so much enthusiasm, but also impressive was hearing McCartney's assessment of the Patriots' surprising first-half performance.

For a guy not raised on football (but whose songs are played in stadium celebrations everywhere), McCartney sure had a handle on how well the underdog Patriots were doing in limiting the high-flying Rams to three points. The bloke loves America.

U Fox analyst Terry Bradshaw couldn't resist singing a duet with McCartney on "A Hard Day's Night" at halftime. Wouldn't it have been nice for Sir Paul if the Hall of Fame quarterback had picked a Beatles song that featured McCartney on lead vocal?

U Farewell, Pat. After 50 years as a player and announcer, Pat Summerall rode off into the sunset with this fantastic finish.

Summerall was CBS' top NFL play-by-play announcer for more than two decades and brought (along with 21-year partner Madden) instant credibility to FOX in 1994 when the then-fledgling network outbid CBS for the NFC package.

His understated style, patterned after '60s colleagues such as Ray Scott, has been a reassuring comfort as hairstyles changed from Dick Butkus' crewcut to Joe Namath's sideburns to Deion Sanders' doo-rag.

Saturday, the NFL presented the broadcaster with its prestigious George S. Halas Award, an honor that only has been bestowed upon Halas, Pete Rozelle and Art Rooney.

Many feel today's game has passed Summerall by and his retirement is overdue. Summerall's performance Sunday offered little to change their minds. For instance, a third-quarter snap to Patriots upback Kevin Faulk fooled Summerall while those at home had a clear view of the surprise play.

Of course, Summerall's retirement means we'll never again here him read promos for "The Simpsons" or "The X Files" or any other FOX show. We suspect he won't miss that chore.

U Commercial scorecard: Anheuser-Busch scored with several commercials. The battling robot spot was cute and the one with horses honoring New York City was touching.

Charles Schwab deserves credit for creating a positive moment for surly Giants slugger Barry Bonds. Credit goes to 'Hammerin' Hank Aaron's cameo.

Britney Spears singing Pepsi jingles from the past half-century was clever, but it might not hold up well with repeated viewings. What am I saying, it has Britney Spears in it.

How about Led Zeppelin selling Cadillacs?

I still don't know what "mlife" is.

XTom Williams is sports reporter for The Vindicator. Write to him at williams@vindy.com.




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