Tag:Super Bowl XLV
Posted on: February 8, 2011 4:21 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 5:24 pm

Behind the scenes at the Super Bowl

B. Roethlisberger couldn't lead his team to a last-minute victory (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In case you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes Super Bowl story, let me recount my night for you (and perhaps inadvertently pour salt in Steelers fans’ wounds).

Pete Prisco and Clark Judge were in the Cowboys Stadium main press box, and most of the rest of the writing crew were situated in the auxiliary press box. I, along with the CBSSports.com video personnel, was placed in the field-level media room.

This meant we were stationed directly in front of the Steelers locker room, but most importantly, we also were just a few feet away from both teams’ postgame interview spaces. My press pass didn’t allow me access to the locker rooms, but the NFL brought six to eight players from each team, so getting quotes was not a problem.

I watched the game in much the same way the vast majority of you did. I watched on a big-screen TV with plenty of free food and free drinks around (though, sadly, no beer).

I had a few different jobs during the game. Will was in charge of the chat, though I periodically took over when nature called, and Andy ran the Twitter account. I was in charge of writing up any breaking/injury news from the game, of which there was plenty, for the actual blog.

Then, most importantly, I was assigned to write the first lede story for CBSSports.com. That means, I was writing a quick game story/analysis that was supposed to be in by the time the game was over. Usually, when that happens, you’re rooting for a blowout by either team so you actually can hit ‘send’ once the final gun goes off.

Close games, after all, don't tend to be friends with reporters on tight deadlines.

That’s the direction we were heading when the Packers took a 21-3 lead in the first half, and at halftime, I began writing the story that eventually you saw here. Even though the Steelers drew closer and closer, I continued on with my original lede.

But I was getting nervous, and after the Packers kicked the field goal that gave them a 31-25 lead with about 2 minutes to go, I knew I needed to have a backup plan. This was the moment I dreaded. I had to start writing another “just in case” story, because if I stuck only with my original and the Steelers scored a touchdown and won the game late, I would have been completely screwed.

So, for the next few minutes (of real time, not game time), I furiously and ferociously tapped out a “Steelers win” lede. Here’s what the unedited version looked like:

DALLAS – Ben Roethlisberger, if he wanted, could retire tomorrow. He could walk away from the game on Monday, and he would be assured of one thing: a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That’s what happens when you lead your team back from an 18-point halftime deficit – the previous Super Bowl record for come-from-behind wins was 10 points – and complete xx to lead the Steelers to the xx win vs. the Packers.

You know, for whatever reason, I had never really considered Roethlisberger to be a top-five quarterback in this league. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t have the prettiest game or it’s because he takes more sacks than perhaps he should (of course, he makes fantastic plays by holding onto the ball for an extra second or two, as well). I don’t know why.

But now that he’s earned his third Super Bowl ring, there’s no denying it. Roethlisberger isn’t the best quarterback in the league. But he’s most certainly a top-five player.

Aside from cutting and pasting about five paragraphs that were applicable no matter which team won the game, that’s pretty much what I had at the time the Steelers turned the ball over on downs to clinch the Packers win. A last-minute, come-from-behind victory is always exciting for the fans, but as you can see, those kinds of games are the bane of a sports writers’ existence.

Luckily for me, the worst-case scenario did not occur. Which – and this is the most important aspect of the entire night – made my life just a little bit easier.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 8, 2011 3:01 pm

Aguilera nailed the Anthem (in rehearsals)

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

TMZ.com has found video of Christina Aguilera’s rehearsal of the National Anthem she so badly flubbed Sunday. This video was from Saturday, and frankly, she sounds pretty damn awesome.

She also nailed the “O’er the ramparts we watched …” passage.

It’s also rather telling that she cuts it off midway through because she obviously felt she was good to go.

It’s unfortunate she couldn’t pull off this version for Sunday’s performance. If she had, the national dialogue about her would have been much, much different.

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 10:07 pm

Goodell, Jerry Jones get their say

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

I’ve been asked over and over again how the NFL and Cowboys Stadium possibly could not have had all the Super Bowl XLV seats set up for the game. The answer: I don’t know why, but I know it was a major screw-up.

Will covered the story pretty extensively today, but let me add in the statements released by Dallas owner Jerry Jones and an important question asked to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at his news conference today.

From Goodell on why the seats were not set up in time: “We are going to do a thorough review of that. We don’t have all the answers to that, but it was obviously a failure on our behalf and we have to take responsibility for that.”

Goodell also said all the blame should be heaped on the NFL and not on Jones.

And Jones’ partial statement:

Cowboys Stadium was designed with the versatility to be fully capable accommodating the number of seats that were scheduled to be in place for Super Bowl XLV. The stadium configuration was part of the Host Committee bid that was approved by the NFL owners in 2007. The NFL, the Host Committee, the Cowboys, and the City of Arlington worked closely to ensure as safe and as enjoyable experience for as many fans as possible.

The incomplete installation of temporary seats left a limited number of sections unusable for yesterday's game. Manpower and timing issues caused inconveniences to some fans. At the end of the preparations, approximately 400 fans attending the game were not able to watch from those installed. We deeply regret their Super Bowl experience was impacted by this error, and we share that responsibility with the NFL.

We will also continue to work closely with the NFL in its complete review of Super Bowl XLV.

At the end of the day, the game on the field, and the stadium where it was played, exceeded the high level of expectation that the Super Bowl presents. It was a great game in a great venue, and it was an experience that will begin the process of bringing future Super Bowls to North Texas.

Our region displayed the type of tremendous commitment of resources, services, enthusiasm, and hospitality that validates our community as a most worthy home to this wonderful event in the years to come.

Our collective goals all along were to ensure that more than 103,000 people would be able to have an enjoyable game day experience on Super Bowl Sunday while also being a part of an event that ultimately produced the largest television audience for any program ever.

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 9:27 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 12:36 pm

Super Bowl ratings crush M*A*S*H - sort of

Green Bay fans celebrate Super Bowl XLV (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Whenever I think of the highest-rated TV programs of all time – which, quite frankly, happens about once a year – my mind always goes back to the series finale of M-A-S-H, because I knew for so many years, that was the record-holder.

In fact, before about five minutes ago, I still thought M*A*S*H held that mark. But no, I was wrong. As Will pointed out earlier today, Super Bowl XLV was watched by an estimated average of 111 million people a year after 106.5 million tuned into last year’s Colts-Saints matchup.

That means M*A*S*H, which held the most-watched record for 27 years, is now No. 3, surrounded by Super Bowls on all sides.

 "Super Bowl XLV caps what is arguably the most successful season that any sports league has ever had," Pat McDonough, senior vice president for insight and analysis at the Nielsen Co., said via the AP. "The number of people watching NFL games has never been higher, with 24 percent more people watching the average NFL game this year than just five years ago. The Super Bowl continues to be in a category of its own."

Aside from the Super Bowl for the past few years, has there been any kind of TV program that holds the public eye so consistently season after season? I’m no TV historian, but I tend to doubt it – certainly not with this number of people.

“Roots” drew humongous ratings in 1977, but that was only for a short time (and quite possibly, because LeVar Burton was the star). The Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding showdown at the 1994 Winter Olympics earned tremendous numbers, and the “Who Shot J.R.?” episode of “Dallas” gave CBS plenty of high marks.

But the Super Bowl every year is in an entirely different category – though if we’re talking about percentage of households who watched, M*A*S*H, with about 60 percent of the country viewing the show, still is the clubhouse leader (we have about 50 million more people living in this country than we did in 1983).

While the ending of M*A*S*H must have been a true cultural whirlwind – I assume this, anyway, because I was only a young tike at the time – the consistency (and continued improvement) of the Super Bowl ratings shatter anything ever produced.

It makes you wonder how a lockout would affect those numbers. It’s certainly something Trapper John never had to worry about.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 7, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 10:23 am

Super Bowl XLV most-watched TV program in history

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- The numbers are in. And Super Bowl XLV was the most-watched television program in the history of television, with a total of 162.9 million viewers. That's a pretty substantial increase over last year's finale, which totaled 153.4 million viewers.

And "the big game" also averaged 111 million viewers, which just boosts the "most-watched" resume. But there's one little dark sliver to this happy ratings cloud -- the impending lockout.

In the 7-Point Preview for Super Bowl XLV , I mentioned that labor problems would make Super Bowl XLV look like The Band's "Last Waltz." And you know what? It's looking like that will happen.

We could avoid the lockout, for sure, but it's going to take a ton of work in the next few weeks from both the NFL and the NFLPA for that to happen.

In the meantime, we're left to look at an amazing performance on the biggest stage and an ever-increasing -- almost to the point of being inexplicable -- popularity level for the NFL.

On the bright side, Aaron Rodgers has his Super Bowl ring and can always look back on this year and realize that he's the NFL's version of Robbie Robertson.

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 3:29 pm

NFL knew about seating issue before fans arrived

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- The most curious thing about the whole "fans paid for tickets but didn't actually have seats ready for them" issue at the Super Bowl was that the NFL had plenty of time to fix the issue. See, football hasn't been played at Cowboys Stadium since December 19 and the NFL's had control of the stadium since January 9.

So, surely they knew beforehand that the seats might not be ready, right? Indeed they did.

"We made a judgment that we had a very good shot to be able to complete it," NFL Executive VP Eric Grubman said at Monday's press conference. "We made a judgment that it was the right course of action to bring the fans in, rather than discourage them, or create a sense that they wouldn’t have the information necessary."

Yikes. But just how far out was the NFL aware of the problem? Pretty far, it seems (emphasis mine).

"We felt in the middle of the week that it was going to be a problem," Grubman said. "We did not feel until the game day that we had an issue where there was a distinct possibility that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate fans."

The sports media's been pretty kind today towards the NFL because of the way in which they're hooking the 400 displaced fans up -- free tickets to next year's Super Bowl in Indy, a trip down to the field, some nice swag and a hefty reimbursement.

But that was, insofar as I understand it, just for the 400 people who didn't get to watch the game at all. Several hundred more fans were put into the Party Plaza and weren't to thrilled about it. Additionally, all of these people traveled down to Dallas and suffered through some pretty nasty weather conditions and a brutal fan experience even though it could have been avoided.

Jumping the gun and alerting everyone about the problem with the seats would have created a bit of a fiasco, sure, but at the very least it would have given the fans who purchased those tickets the option to hold off on their expensive travel plans.

If there is indeed a lawsuit filed on behalf of the fans involved, it's going to be a public relations mess, even if the legalese on the back of the fans' ticket stubs eventually gets the case dismissed. And it's something that could have been avoided with a little more foresight into how fans would react to finding out they might not be able to use the tickets for which they'd already paid.

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 12:44 am
Edited on: February 7, 2011 11:17 am

Super Bowl Scene: Sunday night

Super Bowl XLV (US Presswire)Posted by Andy Benoit

DALLAS -- It’s all over. Super Bowl Week is in the books. It was one of those weeks that felt both short and long. I’m sitting in Section 327 at Cowboys Stadium in a row of über-focused writers trying to make deadline (tension, as always, is palpable). The field is still littered with piles – PILES – of confetti. The teams have left the building and a bunch of the media has gone home. The experience of being at the biggest sporting event of the year was marvelous.

This was my first Super Bowl. I had been told that the energy in the stadium would be bizarre. “For the first 10 minutes it’s incredible,” one NFL lifer told me. “But then it levels off and becomes somewhat flat because there are so many corporate folks and non-fans in the building”.

This proved to be true, but only to a certain extent. Cowboys Stadium seats over 100,000, which is roughly 30,000 more than a typical Super Bowl venue. That meant 30,000 additional tickets for fans. And the type of fans that shell out the big bucks to attend a Super Bowl tend to be passionate. There was plenty of noise and enthusiasm throughout the game.

Personally, a tough adjustment was watching the game live. The media auxiliary press box was in the corner of the Packers end zone. It was great because it was out in the open and closer to the field. When the action was down on that end of the field, great. But when it was on the other end, the best option was watching the big screens (Yes, screens.) Only problem: the big screen on the left (the huge one) had the action going in one direction, while the big screen on the right had the action going in the opposite direction (like a mirror). It was obnoxiously confusing at times. And, not to complain, but the Cowboys Stadium broadcast had limited camera angles and a director who, for reasons unknown, thought it was better to show close-ups of the quarterback right up until the ball was snapped. Thus, in order to see the play, you’d have to look at the formation down on the field, then look up at the big screen after the snap. Again, I’m NOT complaining. Just saying it was a mildly confusing way to watch football.

The energy of the halftime show had that “leveled off” aura that I’d been told C. Woodson (US Presswire)about. Most of the people in the building enjoyed seeing the Black Eyed Peas, but they weren’t intense fans of the group. So the patrons were more inclined to clap than cheer. At least Usher’s arrival sparked the building a bit.

When the game ended, there was a stark contrast of contrasting energies in the stadium. Looking to the right and seeing the euphoric Packers sideline made the heart race; looking to the left and seeing the distraught Steelers sideline made it sink. Truly. There was a lot of emotion in the building.

After writing some postgame analysis I meandered down to the locker room area. I needed to go left down the concourse but instead I went right. I didn’t realize this until I got halfway around the stadium. Good mistake, though. Because I went the wrong way, I was fortunate enough to catch Charles Woodson walking down the hall…with the Lombardi Trophy in hand.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 7, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: February 7, 2011 12:43 am

Packers WRs fight back after drops (VIDEO)

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

DALLAS – The drops were beginning to frustrate Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, and they were really beginning to annoy WR Greg Jennings.

Over and over again, Green Bay’s receivers dropped very makeable catches from Rodgers, stalling drives and killing momentum. Jordy Nelson (nine catches, 140 yards, one touchdown) had a fantastic night, but he dropped a few. James Jones (five catches, 50 yards) recovered pretty well, but he flubbed a potential touchdown catch. Brett Swain blew one as well that bounced off his hands and his legs before it hurt the turf.

Jennings wanted to say something, but he knew he couldn’t harp on the negative – on the, “What the hell are you guys doing out there” aspect. Still, receivers coach Jimmy Robinson urged his No. 1 guy to say something, especially with team leader Donald Driver out for the game.

“As one of the head guys, you understand that guys sometimes have to pull themselves out of the hole,” Jennings said. “When you have a drop, you have to be able to bounce back. All I said was, ‘We have to be great. Period. We have to be great. We can’t afford to have that in a game of this magnitude.’ The guys responded and we made the plays down the stretch. Ultimately, we got the job done.”

For much of the second half, though, the receivers were shaky. And on the Packers first drive of the fourth quarter, the carelessness struck again. With the Packers leading by four, Rodgers faced a third-and-seven after Nelson dropped another pass. But with the Packers desperately needing to continue the drive and put points on the board, Rodgers zipped a throw to Nelson.

Nelson easily made the catch, gaining 38 yards, and the Packers eventually scored a touchdown to take an 11-point lead.

“I can say for Jordy on that drive, for him to make a play on the very next play after he dropped one, it erases that drop out of your mind,” Jennings said. “When you can do things like that, it makes the game a lot easier even though you just made the ultimate boo-boo in our profession.”

The Packers prevailed without their emotional leader, as Driver – who injured his ankle in the first half and never returned – watched the second half from the sidelines. Without Driver, the Packers needed some kind of spark to kick-start an offense that failed to gain a first down in the third quarter.

Jennings helped provide it by fooling Steelers S Troy Polamalu.

After the Steelers cut the lead to four points in the third quarter, Green Bay’s defense forced a fumble from Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall, and after driving deep into Steelers territory, Jennings found himself running toward Polamalu, who was playing in a Cover-2.

Two weeks ago, while playing the Bears in the NFC championship game, Jennings cut inside against that defensive scheme and continued on his post route. That played worked a few times against Chicago, but against Pittsburgh, Jennings tried something different, cutting outside on a corner route and catching a wide-open touchdown pass.

“They were definitely playing for the post,” Jenning said. “We had gashed Chicago a couple times, and I’m sure they saw that in their film preparation where if they show a Cover-2 look, I’m going to be bend it into the post. But we kept the corner route on, and I was able to get behind him. (Polamalu) just dropped me. He completely dropped me.”

As a result, the Packers dropped the Steelers. And, at the same time, alleviated some of the annoyances created by a couple wide receiver drops.

“I,” said Rodgers with a laugh, “am not frustrated any more.”

Below is video of Jennings discussing his 31-yard catch on third-and-10 on the Packers final fourth-quarter drive.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com