As I've been immersed in the Super Bowl ad game for the past two months, let's start there:
Anheuser-Busch's "Brotherhood" spot -- friendship between man and horse -- won USA TODAY's Ad Meter (which had more than 7,000 panelists participate). From the minute it was pre-released, it was a clear favorite to win. A few notes:
*In an intriguing twist, a 4th-quarter ad -- Tide and the "Miracle Stain" -- surged to a runner-up finish. In the history of Ad Meter, 4th-quarter ads rarely finish that high.
*In the past three years, Doritos' "fan-generated" ads have done remarkably well. This year, both Doritos entrants finished in the Top 10, but the higher-ranked one ("Fashionista Dad") finished out of the Top 3.
*Massive success for Chrysler, whose RAM ad (featuring the stirring oration by the legendary Paul Harvey, combined with fabulously evocative photos) finished 3rd and whose JEEP ad finished 5th.
*Coming in at the very bottom? Go Daddy's spot from early in the 1st quarter, in which supermodel Bar Rafaeli makes out with the nerdy looking guy. Here's the thing: It was the ad everyone was talking about during the game and this morning. In that respect, Go Daddy is a huge winner.
Now, on to the game:
*Joe Flacco: He wants to be considered "elite?" OK: He can be considered "elite."
*Ray Lewis retires a champion: Doesn't happen often, and it is so cool to experience as a fan, even if you don't like Lewis or don't like the Ravens.
*Jacoby Jones: Breakthrough superstar.
*Was it a hold at the end during the 49ers' final shot in the end zone that should have been called? Yes, but I can understand why the refs were nervous and erred on the side of the no-call -- it would have decided the championship and bookended with the Seahawks-Packers replacement-ref debacle from the start of the season as the defining moment of an otherwise kind-of-awesome NFL season.
*Will Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers be back? Yes -- I'll say as soon as next season.
*The Super Bowl's biggest winners: Jack and Jim Harbaugh's parents -- they are adorable.
*In the most randomly fun thing from my weekend, Vernon Davis followed me on Twitter on Saturday. Now, nevermind that it's the day before the Super Bowl and Davis was just sitting around looking for folks to follow on Twitter. Clearly, he earned my rooting interest (I was already picking and partial to the 49ers, despite a loyalty to my home state of Maryland and a fondness for fans in/around Baltimore), but I feel bad that he didn't understand the power of the Quickie jinx. However, I will remain a huge Vernon Davis fan.
It's the NFL offseason...
College football signing day is this week...
The NBA is snoozing into midseason...
Time to lock in on college hoops...
My children can't get enough of the NHL...
It was a hell of a Super Bowl.
Back to it.