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The long march to Super Bowl XLVI ends Sunday

By Jared Bergstrom, Sports Editor

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The NFL season is winding down to the final game of the year, but the final game is the biggest game of the year. The Super Bowl is the most-watched championship game or major event in all of sports. (Yes, that means it tops the World Series, the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the NBA Championship and the NHL Championship.)

Some folks may be ready for football season to end, but die-hard fans like me are a bit sad. I have an idea that would make the NFL season longer, and that would be to have the Super Bowl be a best of 7 series like all of the other championships. And with the best of 7 series, the Pro Bowl would be worth something to win. The Pro Bowl-winning conference would earn “home field” advantage for its Super Bowl contender. OK, it’ll never happen, but hey … a guy can dream, can’t he?

AFC wins Pro Bowl, 59-41

I thought the NFC was going to walk away with the game by going up 14 points in a span of 9 seconds (both touchdowns thrown to Larry Fitzgerald). But the AFC came roaring back, scoring 28 unanswered points to tie the game at the break, 28 all. And when the third quarter hit, the AFC just couldn’t be stopped. The AFC scored 10 points in the third quarter compared to the NFC’s 7 to take a 38-35 lead heading into the final period.

The fourth quarter was a blowout. The AFC tacked on three more touchdowns, including one that was intercepted by Kansas City Chiefs inside-linebacker Derrick Johnson and returned for 60 yards. With the AFC’s win, they tied the record with the NFC for 21 wins in the Pro Bowl (both teams are 21-21).

Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and rookie wide receiver AJ Green both played well in the game, with Dalton going 7 of 9 for 99 total passing yards and two touchdowns (both to game MVP Brandon Marshall, who caught six balls for 174 yards and a total of four touchdowns in the game). Dalton also had the best quarterback rating of all six quarterbacks who played in the game with a 152.1. AJ Green caught two balls for 42 yards, one being a wide-open 34-yard touchdown.

A Super Bowl Trivia Quiz

Here is some Super Bowl trivia that I dug up, and believe me, I dug it up. Some of the questions may come easy and some may be really brain-teasing, but give it a try. The answers appear at the end of the column.

1.  Who is going to win the 46th Super Bowl?  

     A) New England Patriots; B) New York Giants

2.  Which player has won the most Super Bowls?

     A) Peyton Manning; B) Chuck Haley; C) Tom Brady; D) Jerry Rice

3.  Which of the following teams has never been to the Super Bowl?

     A) Tennessee Titans; B) Carolina Panthers; C) Cleveland Browns; D) San Diego Chargers

4. Which team has appeared in the most Super Bowls?

     A) Dallas Cowboys; B) Pittsburgh Steelers; C) San Francisco 49ers; D) New England Patriots

5. Which legendary coach has coached in the most Super Bowls?

     A) Tom Landry; B) Chuck Noll; C) Joe Gibbs; D) Don Shula

6. Which coach has won the most Super Bowls?

     A) Don Shula; B) Chuck Noll; C) Bill Belichick; D) Tom Landry

7. True or False: A player from the losing team was named Super Bowl MVP.

8. What venue has hosted the most Super Bowls?

     A) the Miami area; B) New Orleans; C) Tampa; D) Dallas

9.  Which team has won the most Super Bowls?

     A) Pittsburgh Steelers; B) New England Patriots; C) Dallas Cowboys; D) Miami Dolphins

10. Which team has the most Super Bowl MVP Award winners?

     A) Pittsburgh Steelers; B) Dallas Cowboys; C) New England Patriots; D) San Francisco 49ers

11. Which position been awarded the most Super Bowl MVPs?

     A) running back; B) wide receiver; C) quarterback; D) linebacker

Anticipation for the Super Bowl

Super Bowl XLVI will take place this Sunday just a couple of hours west of Dayton at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Kelly Clarkson will begin the singing with the National Anthem, and Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert will perform American the Beautiful. Most fans hope Clarkson actually knows the words to the National Anthem, unlike Christina Aguilera, who missed a couple of lines and then still tried to finish the song last year. At least this year they have a good singer.

The Super Bowl halftime show will feature Madonna, Cirque du Soleil, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., LMFAO and Cee Lo Green. Last year’s Super Bowl halftime show, which featured The Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Slash, was probably one of the worst Super Bowl shows in recent years. It was so bad, it even made the halftime shows by The Who, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers look good by comparison.

But besides the entertainment, the game will feature its fair share of exciting performances, too. But like any other Super Bowl, it’s likely to be a close game until about the fourth quarter. That’s when the New York Giants will start to turn on the gas, but it will be too little too late. That’s why the Patriots need to build up a big enough lead so when the fourth quarter hits and Eli Manning comes to life, they won’t have to worry that much.

My Super Bowl pick

New York Giants 28 @ New England Patriots 38

Trivia Answers

Here are the answers to the Super Bowl Trivia from above.

1)  OK, we don’t know the answer to this one yet. But you know who I think will win.

2)  B. Chuck Haley has won five Super Bowls, two with the Dallas Cowboys and three with the San Francisco 49ers. 

3)  C. Cleveland Browns

4)  A and B. The Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers have both appeared in eight Super Bowls.

5)  D. Don Shula has coached in six Super Bowls, but he went 2-4.

6)  B. Chuck Noll went 4-0 in his Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

7)  True. Chuck Haley won the MVP when his Dallas Cowboys lost to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V.

8)  A. The Miami area has hosted 13 Super Bowls. Next comes New Orleans, which will host its 13th Super Bowl in 2013.

9)  A. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won six Super Bowls; they are 6-2 all time in the Big Game.

10)  B. Someone from the Dallas Cowboys has won Super Bowl MVP seven times.

11) C. The quarterback position has won the award 24 times.

 

 

 

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The long march to Super Bowl XLVI ends Sunday