I didn't really care who won this Super Bowl. I had picked the New York Giants to win in the newspaper, so I kind of wanted that to turn out correctly, but mostly I just wanted to see a great game.
And that's what we got Sunday night, with the Giants edging New England 21-17 in a game not decided until Tom Brady's Hail Mary bounced to the ground as the clock went to zero.
I thought the commercials were disappointing as a whole, I liked Madonna's halftime show more than I thought I would and I loved the game itself.
Having hall of fame quarterbacks on both sides -- and yes, I think Eli Manning just punched his eventual ticket to Canton -- makes such a difference. It means every play seems to have more weight because each QB can burn the other defense at any time. Here are 5 things I loved about this Super Bowl:
1) The "No-I-Don't-Really-Want-To-Score" Touchdown. Bill Belichick made a good move in the last two minutes. Knowing that the Giants were down 17-15 but inside the 10 with a chip shot field goal coming with only 15-20 seconds left if the Patriots played regular D, Belichick allowed the Giants to score instead.
But Ahmad Bradshaw didn't want to score. He got to the 1, realized he shouldn't go in, and then sort of fell over into the end zone anyway. That gave Brady the final shot, which made the game more dramatic anyway.
2) The way the Giants got to 21. If you looked at the score without knowing anything, you'd assume it was three touchdowns. Instead, it was a safety, two touchdowns, an extra point, a missed two-point try and two field goals. Those sorts of 21s are usually the way the casino beats me in blackjack.
3) Charlotteans playing well. Both the Giants' Hakeem Nicks (Independence High, UNC) and Chris Canty (Charlotte Latin) made key plays, and Nicks was especially effective.
4) Brady's drive just before the half. I'm not a big Brady fan personally, but I appreciate the excellence. He completed a startling 10-for-10 for 98 yards and a TD on that drive, and that was basically without TE Gronkowski, who could barely run and was hardly a factor.
5) Eli's throw to Manningham. On that final Giants' drive, Manningham's gorgeous sideline catch of a perfect Manning throw was the longest -- and best -- play of the game. It turned the momentum entirely and set up a great last two minutes, which is what you hope for anytime the Super Bowl is played.