Friday, February 11, 2011

Sports Q&A: Super Bowl XLV Edition

By Jeffrey Boswell

Are the Packers the favorites to win Super Bowl XLVI?

Yes, the Packers are the early favorites to win, just ahead of the Patriots at most betting sites. Of course, a lot can happen between now and next season's playoffs. But whatever happens, the Packers should be prepared for it. If the 2011 season, and Super Bowl XLV itself, showed us anything, it's that the Packers have the depth to overcome injuries. And chances are they won't face as many injuries as they did last year. Plus, the emergence of James Starks, coupled with the return of Ryan Grant, will give the Packers a solid and deep running attack.

Don't count on a repeat, though. Green Bay got hot at the right time, just barely making the playoffs and very nearly losing their first playoff game at Philadelphia. And, the NFC North will be tough, with the Bears and the improving Lions sure to challenge the Packers. And who knows what the Vikings will bring. In addition, the NFC East and South feature five, maybe six, teams capable of winning the NFC.

Early Super Bowl XLVI forecast: Chargers over Falcons. Or Jets over Cowboys. Or Eagles over Colts.

What was the downfall of the Steelers?

Of course, 3 turnovers doomed the Steelers, as did their inability to handle Green Bay's wide receivers. Despite all of that, though, they were still in the game late in the fourth with a chance to drive for the potential game-winning touchdown. What hurt them was having only one time out (after having wasted two time outs earlier in the second half) with which to travel the length of the field. That, of course, is not to say Pittsburgh would have scored with two or three time outs, but it couldn't have hurt.

Is Aaron Rodgers officially free from Brett Favre's shadow?

Sure, Rodgers has equaled Favre's haul of one Super Bowl championship, but Rodgers has a ways to go before he can be totally free from the specter of Favre. Luckily, at only 27 years of age, Rodgers has a plenty of time to amass an NFL-record number of touchdowns and interceptions, and plenty of time to alienate fans with retirement indecisiveness and perverted sexual scandals.

Will the Steelers Mike Wallace be a top-five fantasy pick at wide receiver next year?

Yes, and he should produce like one. That is, barring an injury, like one he could get catching a pass on a bubble screen and running directly into the path of a pursuing lineman or linebacker. The Steelers used Wallace in this capacity much too often on Sunday, and Wallace took some big shots. When he ran routes upfield, he either scored or nearly scored (Roethlisberger overthrew him on what would have been a touchdown). Wallace had 60 catches for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, so it's not a stretch to expect a huge year. Give him 80 catches and you could be looking at 15 touchdowns.

Was the President Obama/Bill O'Reilly sit down symbolic of the negotiations between the NFL and the players union?

No, football fans actually care about negotiations between the NFL and the players union. In fact, if the NFL Network aired the negotiations, they'd probably get better ratings that a State of the Union address or The O'Reilly Factor.

Who is the worst interview? Greg Jennings or Aaron Rodgers?

It's a tie. They both said a whole lot of nothing. When I hear an interview immediately following the Super Bowl, I expect to hear some talk of football. All Rodgers and Jennings gave us were some confusing ramblings about "teammates" and "God." Jennings kept saying "God be the glory." First of all, that's grammatically incorrect. Second of all, what's next? A cheap bracelet promoting "G.B.T.G.?" What would Jesus do in this situation? Or "W.W.J.D.?" He'd order Jennings to say something worthwhile, like how he felt when Donald Driver left the game. Or how he beat Troy Polamalu on his second touchdown. Or why he wasn't dropping passes like his teammates?

As for Rodgers, he's a Packer quarterback, so he's probably much more comfortable texting than talking.

Are Cameron Diaz and Alex Rodriguez dating?

It certainly looks that way. Apparently, she's got him eating out of her hands, among other places. I myself would have been more intrigued had I seen Chad Ochocinco feeding popcorn to Terrell Owens.

How did Lea Michele's singing of "America the Beautiful" compare to Christina Aguillera's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner?"

I'd call it a draw, but only because I judged with the sound muted. Michele looked better, fresh, gorgeous, and tanned, in stark contrast to Aguilera, who resembled a lipstick-wearing ghoul.

I'm as red-blooded as the next American, but I've found that singing patriotic anthems at sporting events has become all about appearances and vocal acrobatics and less about America. I'll give Michelle the edge, since she nailed the lyrics, and may have even added some in what was probably the slowest singing of that song ever. I thought I'd never hear the end of it, which is what Aguilera is experiencing after flubbing the lyrics to a song she learned in the second grade and has performed hundreds of times. After being universally criticized for her acting in Burlesque, she'll now face an equal amount of bad press for her singing, thus earning the nickname "Pan-tina."

In her defense, she did nail all of the words to her apology on Monday. By the way, is Aguilera starting to look a bit like Cyndi Lauper?

Was the halftime show featuring the Black Eyed Peas one of the worst in Super Bowl history?

If it's not the worst, it's certainly in the conversation. Luckily, those outfits the Peas were wearing looked to be pretty thick-skinned, which will come in handy since they are sure to face a heap of criticism. Hopefully, it will help them take their lumps, their lumps, their lovely little lumps.

Did the Peas sound horrible? Let's just say the number of nose-bleed seats in cavernous Cowboys Stadium was dwarfed by the number of ear-bleed seats. It was so bad, Slash rose from the earth, and Usher fell from the heavens, and I didn't even know either one was dead! What's a sure-fire way to get Axl Rose and Guns 'N Roses back together? Have Fergie butcher "Sweet Child O' Mine."

Of course, some of the blame falls on acoustics and shabby sound engineering. Or does it? I'm of the belief that the lack of sound quality was an intentional oversight, the results of which gave the Peas an alibi for sounding like a band that should never leave the studio.

But let's at least credit the Black Eyed Peas for spreading their inspirational message. What's that message, you ask? Here it is: if you aspire to fame in the music industry, don't let anything hold you back, not even a complete lack of vocal talent.

Was Brett Favre happy for the Packers win?

Of course he was. Word is he was so happy, he couldn't hide his "excitement," and texted it to a number of female acquaintances.

What were some of the memorable commercials?

For simplicity, I liked Bud Light's "Hack Job" ad, where a kitchen makeover is simply a six-pack on the counter. Quick and to the point and no celebrity needed. Convincing? Charlie Sheen thinks so. Toss in a bag of coke and a few hookers and porn stars to go with the Bud Light, and you've got an entire home makeover, not just a kitchen makeover.

Volkswagen's Passat commercial featuring a Darth Vader-costumed kid using the "force" to start his father's car was cute, but it needed an ending twist. Such as, the car running over the kid. Or, the kid revealing to his father that he, in fact, is his father's father. What moves product better than anything? Incest.

Doritos: I love it! A finger-licking, pants-sniffing co-worker? Sounds like a day in the life of a New York Jets employee while Brett Favre was quarterback.

Kim Kardashian for Shape-Ups: It's rumored that the bodacious Kardashian will soon star in a Skechers shoe ad geared towards men, for footwear called "Bone-Ups."

Joan Rivers as a Go Daddy girl: It's ironic that Danica Patrick, with only one win in her Indy Racing League career, co-starred in a commercial with Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser. As for Rivers, she's never looked better, nor has a paper bag. Rivers plays pretty about as well as Shaquille O'Neal plays Terry Bradshaw.

Ozzy Osborne and Justin Bieber for Best Buy: This may have been the most disappointing advertisement of the night. Sure, Ozzy and Bieber together is an odd pairing, but Best Buy should have taken it one step further. Have the two switch roles: Ozzy as the virginal teen idol, and Bieber as the legendary rock madman. Ozzy with the Bieber hairstyle? Funny! Bieber biting an out-of-date cell phone in half (as opposed to biting the head off of a bat)? Priceless!

The "Cowboys & Aliens" trailer featuring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig: What? No Clint Eastwood? Oh, that's right. He's directing. As I watched the trailer, I kept expecting to see a bottle of Bud Light, or Sigourney Weaver.

Kenny G for Audi?: What's this? Audi has resorted to pimping saxophone god Kenny G to pawn cars to Americans? What's this? Kenny G has resorted to ridiculing himself to pay the bills?

Eminem for Lipton Brisk Iced Tea and Chrysler: I was disappointed. Not in the ads themselves. But that Eminem did two ads, with neither featuring Rihanna.

Will Ben Roethlisberger's subpar performance tarnish his reputation as a quarterback who thrives under pressure?

No, not at all. If anything, it will only add to his legacy. In Super Bowl XL, Roethlisberger played horribly and won. In Super Bowl XLV, he proved that he can play horribly and lose. That's versatility for which most quarterbacks would kill.

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