ABC got a home run of a Super Bowl, thanks to the team that pulled off Home Run Throwback against the Buffalo Bills.
And Bills fans certainly have to feel the pain of the Tennessee Titans after their 23-16 Super Bowl loss to the St. Louis Rams.
Throughout Sunday's game, ABC's Al Michaels and Boomer Esiason noted that St. Louis quarterback Kurt Warner had the kind of season that would be too unbelievable for the movies, concluding with his game-winning, 73-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Bruce in the final two minutes.
And what a finish. When Tennessee's Kevin Dyson -- the man who scored on Home Run Throwback three weeks earlier -- was tackled one yard short of the end zone on the final play of the game, it felt like such a Buffalo ending.
If there is any consolation in Western New York, it is that the Bills' painful playoff loss didn't happen in such an important game. They will write country music songs about the pain in Nashville today.
After the game, the discussion predictably was whether this was the best Super Bowl ever, a testament to how exciting the Titans' comeback was in the fourth-quarter. Because the first three-quarters were about as memorable as most of the dot.com advertisements during the game. After awhile, it was hard to remember which $2 million ad was for monster.com and which was for jobs.com.
Esiason was on the money early, suggesting that St. Louis receiver Torry Holt was going to be their go-to guy. Esiason always explains things well, but isn't the most exciting announcer in the world.
And just when you thought Michaels and Esiason needed a third man for comic relief, along came the monster fourth quarter in which they excelled and even disagreed on occasion.
They agreed that the Rams could have challenged the tying touchdown by Eddie George, who appeared to have a knee down before going into the end zone. But the way replay has been going this season -- especially for the Titans -- you could understand why the Rams wouldn't do anything.
Michaels and Esiason disagreed about clock management in the final minutes. Esiason said the Titans' should have called their final timeout with 41 seconds instead of spiking the ball to save 10 seconds. Michaels said it was wise to save the timeout so the Titans could throw the ball over the middle in the final minute.
Michaels was declared the winner when Titan quarterback Steve McNair hit Dyson over the middle on the next-to-last play and instantly called timeout with 6 seconds left. However, Esiason's way might have worked, too.
Michaels also came up with an apt football movie reference at the game's end, calling the tackle of Dyson one yard short of the tying touchdown, "The Longest Yard."
If there was an error of omission, it was that neither announcer noted the importance of a decision by the Titans' Jeff Fisher to go for two points after their first touchdown. The play failed, leaving the Titans down, 16-6. If they had just kicked the point, they could have led, 17-16, with 2 minutes left and who knows if playing from behind might have affected the Rams.
Here's some more highs and lows from a Super game:
Brenda Star: Thankfully, ABC kept its shots of Warner's wife, Brenda, to a reasonable number. There was even some over-under betting, with 10 the predicted number of shots of Mrs. Warner. I think the "under" won, possibly because ABC didn't want to embarrass her by showing her feathered outfit that many times.
Missing Replay: Sideline reporter Lesley Visser noted how moving it was to see St. Louis' Warner praying over injured Titan Blaine Bishop, who was taken off the field in a stretcher. However, ABC was in commercial at the time and chose not to replay the scene. ABC also missed one live play because it was in replay when the Titans went on a quick snap.
Silence Is Golden: If there was a commercial trend to spot, it was the number of silent ads for dot.com companies and the number of low-tech ads for high-tech companies that proudly said how lousy their commercials were. The number of dot.com ads certainly showed how much our society has changed and is going to change.
My favorite ads were the "Wizard of Oz" takeoff for Federal Express, the silent Muhammad Ali ad for a medical dot.comc., the E-trade ad in the emergency room with the guy who had "money out the wazoo" and the Mountain Dew commercial in which a group sang an old Queen song.
And, of course, the ad in which Christopher Reeve was shown walking in the future. I suspect it certainly was more powerful to people who hadn't already seen it on a newscast over the weekend.
I Guess He Is Retired: Barry Sanders, who bolted the Detroit Lions this season, was one of the athletes featured in an investment company ad for retirees. What a way to announce your retirement.
Where's Jevon?: It would have been nice if ABC had shown some shots of how St. Louis kept Bills-killer Jevon Kearse off Warner. The Freak didn't have much of an impact on the game.
Millionaire Madness: Boy, can't wait to see that "exclusive" Channel 7 interview with "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" host Regis Philbin to kick off the February sweeps. Of course, Philbin has been interviewed "exclusively" more times than Kurt Warner in the last few months.
Georgia on the Mind: There were more shots of Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere than she has former husbands. Michaels' provided the stat of the night, saying she has been hitched seven times.
He also concluded the broadcast by recalling a conversation the owner had with her general manager after free agent quarterback Trent Green was injured and Warner took over.
According to Michaels, Georgia said: "This guy Warner might be the next Johnny Unitas."
"Georgia believes in astrology," said Michaels. "It must be in the stars. How else do you explain that the Super Bowl champions are the St. Louis Rams?"
Good line. Because if you bet the Rams in Vegas before the season, you would have money out the wazoo.