Super Bowl XL not so L

[I've been terrible about finishing posts recently. I have dozens of drafts, near-finished, sitting unpublished. I'm not sure why I've been so reluctant to publish recently. It's some variant of writer's block. I'll try to be better in the coming weeks.]
I thought the Super Bowl was boring. I can't remember any of the commercials. Of course, I was working on my laptop while the game was on, but at no point was I so riveted that I felt the need to give the game my full attention.
Part of the problem lies in the expectations. Two weeks of media buildup is just too much. Everyday, every sports page and every sports network had a gazillion features on the Super Bowl. It just doesn't warrant all that analysis. Cut out the extra week of media hype, and get the game on.
I'm hardly the first one to point this out, but the officiating was lousy, and that's a shame. That's what a lot of fans will remember, and not that Pittsburgh had to win three games on the road against a few of the top teams in the NFL just to get to the Super Bowl. The pass interference call on Darrell Jackson in the end zone, when he caught the touchdown, was ticky tack at best. He should've kept his arm down, of course, because even if he didn't tap safety Chris Hope, he would've scored that TD. In such a violent sport, it's disappointing when huge swings of momentum come down to such marginal offenses. Then, of course, there was the phantom hold on Sean Locklear, holding being perhaps the most nebulous call in football. Hasselbeck was called for a chop block later, but he was going for the tackle, as Madden and Michaels pointed out, so it was the wrong call. How ironic that in the age of instant replay, the officiating seems to have gotten worse, rather than better. The Steelers themselves were robbed in the game against the Colts, so though they may not sympathize, they should be able to empathize.
Beyond the officiating, many big-name players failed to live up to moment. Jerramy Stevens, after getting berated all week by the melodramatic Joey Porter all week, dropped about 27 balls that hit him right on the hands. On Stevens' only touchdown, the great Troy Polamalu failed to get over and cover. The most noise Joey Porter made all week was prior to the game; once the game began, he disappeared. I'm still not sure what he was all worked up about, but he came off all week as a caricature of an angry man. Ben Roethlisberger's TD run was iffy, at best. Football's strength is not in precision of measurement, and his TD exposed that. Who knows whether the bowl crossed the plane? With the exception of the long toss to Ward near the goal line, Roethlisberger was awful. That interception he threw to Herndon was terrible. The best Steeler QB was Antwaan Randle El. Shaun Alexander, NFL MVP, ran for a very quiet 95 yards. Jerome Bettis, the most media-friendly player all week, couldn't convert on two goal-line rushes, and fittingly retired right after the game. I've always enjoyed his game, that bruising running style, but he was in the twilight of his career this year.
Seattle played better for most of the game, but they looked like the keystone cops at the end of each half, trying to manage the clock. Tom Rouen, not a big-name player, kept punting the ball into the endzone instead of trying to pin the Steelers inside the 20 for some reason. Josh Brown, also no marquee name, missed two field goals indoors.
If some calls had gone their way, Seattle would've kept the game much closer, and who knows who would've won? But it's fitting, in some way, that Seattle got screwed by the refs. I lived there for seven years, long enough to absorb the long history of tough luck in Seattle sports. Griffey, the Big Unit, and finally A-Rod left town. As for the Seahawks? During pre-game introductions I could've sworn they were playing in Pittsburgh, the fans were just jam-packed with Steeler fans. Every time I looked up during the game, it seemed as if the NFL was running an ad with some Steeler cradling the trophy even though the game was still going on (by the way, that was an absurd ad campaign; I half expected to hear Bill Cowher sniffling and shouting at the trophy, "Damn it to hell I wish I could quit you!"). I think Seattle has one national sports championship, in basketball, and that probably came in the era of short shorts. Just a tough luck sports town.
Another problem with the Super Bowl, even more so than for regular season games, is that there are too many commercials and stoppages of play. The average NFL game is just way too long. After an extra point, they go to commercial. They come back for a kickoff, and then go back to commercial again. Why does there have to be a commercial after a kickoff? It's not as if the QB is on the return team. Just give the offense a bit longer than usual to got on the field after a kickoff, and stay with the game.
As has been mentioned in the press a lot this year, most of the tickets to the Super Bowl go to the rich and connected. The entire game feels sterile. It's always played indoors, in a dome. The field is immaculate, the fans are wealthy, well-behaved. The halftime show is always so unimpressive on television. The audio sounds faint, as if it's being recorded by a shotgun mike in a hot air balloon hovering over the stadium, and even the biggest rock star looks puny and ridiculous playing on a stage in the middle of a football field. The Super Bowl always manages to find some crazy fans to surround the stage at halftime, and the way they cheer and dance with such exaggerated enthusiasm to every song is frightening.
One last thing I'd love to see at the Super Bowl is coverage on more than one channel, with each channel carrying a different angle of the play. Only on replays do fans get to see some of the more revealing angles, and for a generation raised on the Madden video game, that's just too restricting. Many plays can be better appreciated from a wide shot behind the QB than from the usual birds eye sideline view that's the standard NFL viewing angle. Even the standard angle could be improved by pulling back a bit so fans can see more of the action in the secondary.
As a footnote to that request, I'd love to see the NFL offer a pay-per-view version of the game with microphones on the field of play. It will never happen, but I would kill to hear the trash talking on the field. Just what was Joey Porter yelling into Jerramy Stevens face after he dropped that last pass of the game? We'll never know, and that's a shame.
I did enjoy one thing about the Super Bowl, and that was the trick play pass from Randle El to Ward. On TV, it's always blindingly obvious when a receiver or running back means to throw. They don't run full speed, and their eyes are focused way downfield. Apparently, it's not so obvious to people in the secondary, because they bought the fake completely and left Ward right open, and Randle El put that ball on the money. More NFL teams should spend time designing a few good trick plays. The payoff when they work seems so high, and when they fail the loss is usually minimal.