Super Bowl a venue of warriors

Feb 9, 2010 5:04 PM

Burnt Offerings by Stan Bergstein |

But those TV ads not up to past glories

A few words on the Super Bowl, and then up the snow-stricken East Coast to New Jersey, for a look at the latest developments in the creaking boardwalk of Atlantic City.

In Miami Sunday in a bruising game, matching the two best teams in pro football and the quarterbacks who make them so, Drew Brees outlasted Peyton Manning, who rarely is intercepted but was in the decisive play of the game.

The most dramatic play of this championship match-up, for us, came when Colt tackle Dwight Freeney, at 6-1 and 268, burst past 6-5, 3l5 pound Jermon Bushrod, tossing him aside, and grabbed Drew Brees one-handed by the back of Brees’ jersey and hurled him to the ground like a rag doll. All this on an injured ankle that had kept Freeney from practice sessions for the last two weeks, and needed repairs again last Sunday. Easy to understand, watching that play, why Freeney is the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.

Among the Super Bowl commercials – an annual competition of its own – there were few in the 57 that were truly super. The best may have been Google’s Parisian Love, in which the various aspects of love in Paris were typed out in typical Google response style to a progressive series of questions, the last being Where to Find Cribs.

Other creative and entertaining entries were Coca Cola’s beautifully produced African sleepwalker, in which the subject walks past a series of repeatedly frightening events – a snarling leopard, in the midst of a moving elephant herd, a dizzying cliff-edge walk, a hippo encounter, snakes – grabs a coke and walks back; House Rules, in which little Jalen tells a big romantic visitor to keep his hands off his momma and his Doritos; and Awesomer, in which human dolphins perform twisting, leaping tricks for a conductor for Emerald Nuts and Pop Secret. Creative commercial television at its best.

So much for the Super Bowl.

In New Jersey, a major development. Gov. Chris Christie, in a press conference with Jon Hanson, former head of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, refused to rule out the possibility of slots at the Authority’s Meadowlands racetrack.

Asked twice about that possibility, the governor indicated that slots at New Jersey’s three tracks is still an option. "I’m not ruling it in, I’m not ruling it out," he said.

That development marks a sharp change, both in Gov. Christie’s stance and the first crack in the dyke of Atlantic City casino’s dominance. When combined with his Jan. 27 statement in which he said, "If Atlantic City government doesn’t get its act together, it’s very difficult for the state of New Jersey to encourage more growth and more development in Atlantic City, which is something that’s key for us to do." He presumably was talking about the city’s infrastructure, still crumbling behind the façade of the Boardwalk hotels and their casinos. Still, it opened the door, if only a crack, and let in a little fresh air for racing in the Garden State.

Barbara DeMarco, a lobbyist for the New Jersey thoroughbred horsemen’s association, commenting on Gov. Christie’s goal of self-sufficiency for the tracks, used an old but true rhetorical line. "If you’re a supermarket, and you can’t sell milk while others can, how can you make it financially? You can’t. When other states opened slots at tracks, while we can’t, we’re in that position."

In New York, the Post continued its unrelenting series blasting Gov. David Paterson for awarding the multi-billion dollar Aqueduct racetrack racino to a cozy collection of friends and political buddies, and to their choice of Vegas’ Larry Woolf and his Navigante group to run the operation.

The furor increased in volume when the staid New York Times took to the trenches in an editorial headlined, "Looks Sleazy to Us." That’s heavy artillery.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Stan Bergstein