Friday, September 08, 2006

More from NFL 2006 Opening Night

The pomp and pageantry was present, along with a giant hanky
Last night's opening game for the 2006 NFL season featured some good play, a bad (non) call, and an so-so pregame show from NBC. Here's my rundown of what went on and what went right & wrong with Kickoff 2006:

-To the surprise of absolutely nobody the first images the fans were treated to on NBC's premiere regular season game in over 5 years were that of Madden 2007. We all know that Madden has long since past the point of being remembered as a credible broadcaster and Hall of Fame coach; he has now crossed into caricature ("BOOM!") and incessant pitch man territory("Ace is the place"). So when the opening montage featured clips from the recent video game bearing his name, while it was not a surprise, it was a tad sickening nonetheless. Just think how many times this season they are going to milk that cash cow in their broad-casts. If they can figure out how to get Madden to able to telestrate the real game using the Madden action, it will be done.
-The NBC pregame show was pretty mellow as far as Opening Night for the reigning Super Bowl Champs go; I'd give it a 5. Nothing tops the Pats opener when the networks & NFL started all of this Thursday night pageantry in 2003. Here's the highs & lows:

LOW- Diddy, or Puffy, or Lip-Synch-y, performing from Miami, then Rascal Flatts live at Three Rivers. Wow. Really got me ready for some football, with some Cristal and a shot of Kentucky whiskey.

HIGH- fireworks over the Three Rivers waterfront and Heinz Field. That display was better than some 4th of July presentations, and as my buddy the River Rat once pointed out, there is no prettier sight than coming up the river and seeing that junction where the stadiums are located- except lit up by a gazillion fireworks. Awesome

HIGH- Former Steeler greats like LC Greenwood and Franco Harris on the field to celebrate the past Championship teams (hmmm, no Terry Bradshaw)

LOW- the unraveling of a giant Terrible Towel along with the 2005 Championship banner. Really, a giant hanky.C'mon, for what?

- The Bus, Jerome Bettis, arriving on the field in a giant customized school bus to the delight of the fans, and myself. If you look closely he tried to throw Coach Cowher under it again.

HIGH- Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor, who died last week of brain cancer, was honored in a tribute capped by his son Corey coming on the field and waving a Terrible Towel. Now I saw a use for that giant Hanky.

LOW-Pop singer Pink, looking like a cross between Courtney Love and Keifer Sutherland, singing the new Sunday Night Football anthem to the tune of Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You". And I hate NBC for replacing Hank Williams,Jr. with Pink.

All of that pomp and circumstance led into an avalanche of Peyton Manning in an Uncle Rico wig and Reggie Bush vs. Diet Pepsi Machine ads, and by that time I was really ready for some football, to heck with all the ceremony.

Maybe it was just because my team wasn't involved.

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