First and foremost…apologies for my extended absence. As I've alluded to many times before, in addition to writing I also work full time in health policy. Most of the time this isn't too big an issue, but every January the legislative season here in Hawaii kicks off, burying me under an unholy mountain of bill reading, testimony drafting, etc, etc. It's no excuse for my absence, but if you would like to lob a complaint to someone, please feel free to contact my board and let them know it's some crap.

Really…I'll wait here while you do.

In the meantime, allow me to offer my own preliminary thoughts on the Super Bowl. Per usual, I will break this down one aspect at a time…

Pre-Game: Admittedly, due to the very early start time here in Hawaii, I didn't watch a great deal of the pregame hype. (Part of that was also not wanting to see four hundred extended segments on Richard Sherman's rant two weeks ago…but that's another talk for another time). Normally I am a big fan of the Fox show (I am a Howie Long fan going back to his playing days), but this week it was a little less than usual. Part of that was the absence of Terry Bradshaw (Home w/ a real life tragedy…w/ which we wish him the best) and part was the incessant pimping of Muppets Most Wanted… Final Grade: B-

Halftime Show: I know Bruno Mars is the patron saint of Honolulu, and was picked as a blatant shout out to a younger generation, but I've never been a huge fan. That being said, he was high energy, made solid song choices, and left no worries about a wardrobe malfunction. For a Super Bowl show, that's a win.

Unfortunately, Mars was not the only performer this evening….The Red Hot Chili Peppers were a mess from start to finish. Their choice of “attire” and on-stage antics gave the strong impression that they still thought it was 1997, and the lead singer's dirty ‘stache gave them a very “creepy old guy” vibe, enough so to bring the whole thing down. Final Grade: B.

Venue: 
A lot was said going into the Super Bowl about how the weather would undoubtedly be a negative factor on the proceedings. Didn't turn out to matter one bit, turning in a low-40's forecast that was warmer and clearer than both Denver and Seattle.

The bigger issue here ended up being the host city of New York (a blatant money grab by the NFL if there ever was one…something the league has become quite adept at under Roger Goodale's stewardship). For most cities, the Super Bowl is an event. When the league went to Indianapolis a couple years ago, it consumed the town. Everybody in town talked about it, wanted to be a part of it, wanted to make visitors comfortable and ensure they had a good time. As a friend of mine texted me yesterday from the Fox set in Times Square…”Aside from this five acre area, you can't even tell it's here. Business as usual for NYC.”

The Super Bowl deserves better. Final Grade: C.

Commercials: 
To the casual fan, food, friends and commercials are the only reasons to watch the game. In recent years, spots for commercials have risen to $4.5M per 30 second slot, meaning most companies no longer weigh in and those that do certainly aren't buying multiple slots and wasting them trying to make us laugh. This year Budweiser had one or two good ones (the puppy-clydesdale friendship was my winner), and maybe two more stood out. Beyond that? Bupkus. Final Grade: D+.

Game:  
I won't go into all the X-and-O's of this one…ESPN and CNNSI are doing splendid jobs of that as we speak. I will say though, it was a classic throwback game to the late 80's-early 90's era, when the issue was never in doubt and the game was effectively over by halftime. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman did their best to try and manufacture some drama, but it was obvious from the first woefully errant snap that Denver was never in this one. Final Grade: D.

Overall Final Grade: C-. 
Before anybody goes thinking I've been exceptionally harsh, just talk to somebody that watched the game. I think you'll find I'm being a little generous with this one.

Like I said before, the Super Bowl deserves better…

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