It was a busy and ultimately enjoyable weekend of watching sports on television for yours truly, culminating with an exciting Super Bowl finish in which the Baltimore Ravens held off the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 to win the Lombardi Trophy.
• My weekend of sports viewing began Thursday when I switched on the Golf Channel to catch some of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Phil Mickelson was in a morning pairing for Thursday’s first round and was finishing up before the Golf Channel’s scheduled coverage was to begin.
Thing is Mickelson was playing his 18th hole of the day and was 10 under par on the TPC Scottsdale course and the Golf Channel decide to provide bonus coverage of Mickelson and his putt on his last hole to shoot 59. Mickelson missed the putt, but it was still very dramatic as the ball lipped out.
Mickelson, who won the event after leading wire to wire, was gushing in a post round interview about how he loved his new Callaway RAZR Fit Extreme driver. Those of you who follow golf are keenly aware that most players on tour, and virtually all the big names, are walking billboards for many entities, but especially the equipment companies. It really isn’t that often that a player will prop a piece of equipment the way Mickelson was selling that driver. No doubt sales of that $400 piece of equipment spiked over the weekend.
• The tournament at the TPC Scottsdale is known for having the rowdiest gallery in golf. The main reason for that claim is for the activities on the Par 3 16th hole. The hole is completely enclosed by stands giving it a stadium look. Fans cheer good shots and boo poor ones. This year Padraig Harrington kicked a football into the stands from the tee. South Korean born golfer James Hahn birdied the hole and promptly did his version of the Gangnam Style dance.
Other players will throw souvenir hats, balls and other items to the gallery. Caddies will race each other from the tee to the hole. In short it is a very festive atmosphere that the players have come to embrace. While some golf purists may not agree, the whole scene is refreshing on some levels. Golf is still a game that relies on the players being able to focus on the task at hand, so it probably isn’t a good idea to try to create more of this kind of party atmosphere at other venues, but then again, maybe a few more party holes wouldn’t hurt.
• So, did the 35-minute delay due to the power outage early in the second half of Sunday’s Super Bowl allow the 49ers to come back on the Ravens? That seemed to be a popular opinion Sunday night especially since that is how it played out. Jacoby Jones returned the second half kickoff 108 yards to give the Ravens a commanding 28-6 lead, then the lights went out.
San Francisco scored 17 straight points and ultimately pulled to within 31-29. The 49ers later were in the red zone trailing 34-29 and were denied by the Ravens. Great finish, but why would the delay favor one team over the other? Seems both teams were faced with the same issues as far as staying loose and keeping focus.
• So, I’m a Redskins fan that was rooting for the Ravens and I root for the Ravens as long as a win by them has no negative impact on my team. That said, I’m a little baffled by all the love Ray Lewis gets. I mean the incident at the 2000 Super Bowl in Atlanta where Lewis was charged in a double homicide is still a big question mark in my mind.
There was no evidence to convict Lewis, but he did plead guilty to obstruction of justice. Lewis was at the scene, admittedly lied to police, and could not provide the white suit he was wearing while the killings occurred outside an Atlanta nightclub. Anyway it is enough to give many pause before giving the guy icon status.