A friend of mine, Aaron Rossini, once claimed that there is no better theatre than sports. Last night's Superbowl was a pretty good example of this little thesis in action.
I can't remember the last time that the actual game was more interesting than the commercials, none of which I can remember the day after, which is unique in my experience. Yet there I was last night watching a game featuring two teams with which I have no connection. I even have an irrational hatred of both New York and Boston sports teams. But not only was I not incredibly bored but I actually hoped, wanted even, the Giants to beat the Pats.
On one side line you had the villain. Perfect record. Deep and talented roster. A Napoleonic coach, both in tactical understanding and demeanor. A quarterback who was the epitome of that highschool jock asshole dating the hottest woman in the school and getting a full ride to a really good school. You had months of talking heads talking them up as the greatest team in the history of anything ever. You had a team so abundantly blessed with good fortune that you couldn't help but hate them (even before the running up the score foolishness or the spygate scandal from earlier in the year). A team with not just a mere measly championship, but the perfect record, the 'Dynasty' honorific and a share of football history on the line.
You remember that little blond prick from the Karate Kid? In my mind, that was the equivalent of the Patriots.
On the other sideline, you had the group that lost their first two games of the season, who nearly lost to Detroit (DETROIT of all people) with the elderly looking coach and the quarterback who couldn't seem to do enough to get out from under his brother's shadow. This was the team that nobody expected to go anywhere with the season. Yet there they were, playing in the Superbowl.
Everyone expected a blowout. Stakes, anyone?
And then came the picture perfect story arc, culminating with the climax in the fourth quarter, under two minutes left, the Giant's last drive, an amazing catch followed by a touchdown pass to a wide open receiver in the corner of the end-zone. And then it was over. The underdog won by a mere three points and the school yard bullies slank off the field a full one game-second after their coach had left.
That's about as good of a story line as you could ask for. Throw Gene Hackman in there and you have yourself a movie.