It’s an event. An occasion. Something for everyone.
It’s the sports extravaganza that is the Super Bowl. A snapshot of the United States of America.
All there for the world to see inside a superdome in New Orleans.
Alicia Keys, at piano, provided a sophisticated rendition of the Star Spangled Banner national anthem and at half-time Beyonce produced a spectacular mini-concert complete with stunning light show.
Little did we know that ‘‘lights’’ would turn out to be the operative and significant word.
Out on the field the favoured San Francisco 49ers were up against the ravenous Baltimore Ravens, who had swept all before them including the New England Patriots, in what shaped up as a close, tense, nail-biting, heart-stopping affair between two rugged defensive units and a couple of outstanding young quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, who became a deserving MVP award recipient.
And then the daddy of them all - the rival coaching siblings John and Jim Harbaugh. Their proud parents Jack and Jackie with grandkids and other family members sat together in the grandstand.
One can only imagine what was going through their minds.
For a 60 minute game it does go on. And on. And on.
When there’s a power outage that shuts down the lights in the stadium for more than half an hour, the game seemingly goes forever.
However, that’s the nature of the beast. Watch and learn. This is America. This is their Big Show. The $4 million for a 30 second ad break says it all. Television rules. Look out the NRL and AFL.
I have to declare an interest. I like the game (as I like all football codes). I find American football or gridiron fascinating (no, not boring). And no, I don’t understand the finer points and tactics of this game. (That said, there are decisions in basketball that leave me bemused and confused too. Friday night at the WEC when the Hawks play the Tigers will have me and many others wondering how that can be a foul against Wollongong but not against Melbourne for something similar).
But I digress. Back to the Super Bowl. I support the 49ers. Have done since I can remember.
So this Super Bowl was going to be something special. A return to those glory days of the 1980s and ‘90s with those super quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young in the driver’s seat.
Well, Super Bowl XLVII did turn out to be something special except the result wasn’t quite what I wanted.
What will separate this Super Bowl from the other 46 played so far - and more than likely those in the future - is that it’s the one when the lights went out.
Even more relevant is that this turned it virtually into two separate games. The pre-lights out and the post-lights out.
No sooner than Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones returned the kick-off to the second half, a record-equalling 108 yards for a touchdown for the Ravens to lead 28-6, than the stadium’s lights began to dim.
After the 34 minutes interruption, the game then became all San Francisco.
It’s now American football history that the 49ers just fell short 34-31, with the Ravens claiming the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the second time.
Lights failure aside, the big winner was the Big Easy. New Orleans hosted a Super Bowl to remember.
Just seven years after Hurricane Katrina flattened the place.
That really does deserve all the accolades, and then some.