Indianapolis’ week in the national spotlight is over, and it ends with the city looking very good. That’s the beauty of low expectations: you assume there will be snow and ice and sub-freezing temperatures and when you get sun and temps in the 50s all week, it seems like the best week ever. Downtown was flooded with friendly locals. The out-of-towners were pleased that pretty much everything worth doing was a short walk from wherever they were at the moment. Instead of a bunch of columns complaining about the Super Bowl being in a cold, northern city instead of New Orleans or Miami, there were columns about how surprisingly entertaining Indy was and, amazingly, how this just might not be a one-time thing.

We’ll see about that last part, but Indy did a very nice job as host.

The game wasn’t a great one, but thanks to the exciting finish, it will be remembered. And the adopted local favorites won, knocking off Indy’s least favorite foe, so the locals were happy.

This won’t be a running diary, but it is a bunch of stuff I scribbled down during the game, or put in my memory banks during the week.

The girls were very excited about the Super Bowl. M. and C. were both fascinated by the idea of Peyton Manning’s little brother being the quarterback for the Giants. C. even made a construction paper Eli in class on Friday1. I shared the story of the Manning family with them, which awed them even more. Their dad played? They have another brother who got hurt and had to stop playing? Is that what happened to Peyton? During warmups Sunday, the big sisters would announce each time they saw Eli. It was the first time they’ve been excited about sports, so I enjoyed it.

Their excitement level was so high that, just before kick off, they ran upstairs and watched the Puppy Bowl instead of the real game. Maybe next year they can graduate to being real football fans.

When I commented on the great weather this week, M. said it was probably because of Catholic Schools Week. While I’m sure her teachers would be thrilled by that, I think she missed my point.

As I was watching the game, I wondered if there has ever been a less imposing good team than the Patriots. Sure, Brady is an all-time great. Gronkowski, when healthy, can be a game changer. But beyond those two, it’s a bunch of generic guys filling their roles perfectly. That’s always been the Patriots’ way, but it seems odd for a team to be that close to winning a title with only one superstar on the roster.

Hey, did you know Chris Snee is Tom Coughlin’s son-in-law?

How many people do you think NBC assigned to scan the stadium, looking for Peyton? Am I wrong, or did they never catch him? Four years ago, he was sitting in the back of the Manning family suite, and we only saw his head. Did he learn a lesson and stay further back? Was he moving around? Did he stay home, or at St. Elmo’s, or some other place he could stay semi-private? And did last week’s drama have anything to do with it? Plenty of fodder for the local sports writers to use in the coming weeks!

Shows I learned about Sunday: Swamp People, Moonshiners, and Pitbulls & Parolees. What the hell is wrong with this country?

Quality 80s music references in a couple commercials. Audi using Echo & The Bunnymen’s The Killing Moon was great, although how that fit their campaign I didn’t really get. And Budweiser using a modernized version of The Cult’s She Sells Sanctuary was a nice surprise.

Not to mention Madonna at halftime. The 80s are cool again. Her performance was solid, certainly visually stunning. But am I the only one who thought she wasn’t going all-out? And why was NBC’s video so poor? Prince’s performance in Miami in 2007 remains the best recent halftime performance.

Bruce Willis is GI Joe? I always thought Joe was a kick-ass guy in the prime of his physical abilities. Not a guy pushing 60.

Back to the commercials, most people seemed to agree it was kind of a crappy year. Is it the moribund economy that is keeping companies from taking chances? Can we somehow blame the death of Steve Jobs, a man who was always striving to make great commercials? All I know is I chuckled a few times, but I groaned more.

Perhaps no commercial made me groan more than Pepsi’s commercial that featured Elton John. How is he relevant in 2012? How many people under 30 were staring blankly at the screen, wondering who the hell he was?

There was much consternation about the Matthew Broderick Honda commercial last week. I did not see it until Sunday, and don’t get all the fuss. My reaction was more Hmmm than outrage.

There was a commercial for Nicorette at some point Sunday, I think before the game. M. asked me if the people in the ad were going to cigarette. That made me laugh out loud.

Who knows what would have happened, but the Patriots receivers who dropped balls in the fourth quarter are the goats of the game. I know it was tipped, but that ball to Deion Branch on the final drive could have been huge had he been able to haul it in. He had a lot of room to run.

The Catch 2 was obviously the highlight. David Tyree’s miracle catch four years ago was crazy, lucky, fluky. It was an Oh my God, the football gods are on our side! moment. Mario Manningham’s was pure skill. A perfect, gutsy throw and an even better catch. A fine addition to the pantheon of game-turning Super Bowl moments.

Other than Manningham’s catch, my favorite moment was Raymond Berry’s walk with the Lombardi Trophy. That might be my new favorite sports tradition. The reactions of the players are great, but I especially love how the random people in the line, like the equipment guys, react. And Berry appeared to be suitably sedated, where last year Roger Staubach seemed annoyed about halfway through the line.

I also enjoy when rich owners get all fired up when presented the trophy.

Why do 8000 cameramen and reporters need to rush the field the second the game ends. Players and coaches are trying to celebrate, but are out-numbered about 10-1. I’m not sure how people don’t get hurt in those crushes.

The Indianapolis Colts are now on the clock, and the countdown for spring training begins.

  1. Her whole class made football players, and decorated them with either Giants or Patriots colors. Two years ago, M. did the same project, but she made a Peyton before the Colts’ loss to New Orleans.