Great Super Bowl or Greatest Super Bowl?
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's been a very Orwellian Super Bowl. From Jerry Jones' pregame declarations that this Super Bowl was his crowning moment to Roger Goodell's contention that the Dallas-Fort Worth area had been prepared for a storm and dealt with it well, there was only one question to ask.
Dallas: Great Super Bowl or Greatest Super Bowl?
Except that, for those actually here, there was some evidence to contradict all the happy talk.
Before you dismiss this as another media whine about the baked brie being too cold and the cabernet too warm, keep in mind that the inconveniences in Dallas amounted to injuries, lost revenue and fans who bought tickets waiting in line to see if their seats would be honored.
Jayne Marler of Ashwaubenon, Wis., as authentic a Packer pedigree as you can get, was pretty upset as she waited in the ticket line just minutes before the game started. Her tickets were in the section that wasn't up to code, and she was hoping to get something so that she could watch the game.
At 61 and a lifelong Green Bay fan, she feared that her number of opportunities to see the Packers in the Super Bowl was finite.
"It has nothing to do with the cost," she said in her Donald Driver jersey. "It has to do with seeing the game."
A sporting event is about the haves, and these seats were inexpensive enough in terms of inflated Super Bowl ticket prices. These fans who were going to sit there were the ones in the cheese hats and Polamalu jerseys, not the custom suits with luxury suite access.
The NFL said it would reimburse fans three times the face value of a ticket, but if you factor in hotel, airfare, steak dinners, Terrible Towels and cheese hats, a lot of those fans might not break even.
But waiting in line for an hour, stomach churning, to see if you'll get to see the game?
Six people were injured as hard chunks of ice fell off the roof of the stadium. After a Tuesday storm, there were hundreds of auto accidents on Dallas-Fort Worth area roadways as the municipalities countered record snow with sand, which did not counter a dangerous black ice. Cars were abandoned on Interstate 30 for days, and then covered with snow again on Friday.
You could cut them slack for a freak storm if the exact same thing hadn't happened during the NBA All-Star game last year. But it did, so you can't.
Then to have the NFL commissioner come out and declare that all was well and Dallas could be in the mix for future Super Bowls during his Friday morning address was so very 1984. And such complete spin is not helpful at the moment, since the league and the NFL Players Association are using more than their fair share of oxygen to discuss their disagreements about the labor situation.
Both claim to want to resolve the impasse and agree to a new collective bargaining agreement, but if you listen to the language they use and the goals they have in constructing a new agreement, they are still miles apart. Just one example: Jeff Pash, the NFL's general counsel, said there was no disagreement that the current CBA was one-sided and needed to be rebalanced. The next day, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith clearly, to pick a term, disagreed.
"My guess is there's probably a little bit of disagreement," Smith said. "That's just my guess."
The road to a new agreement is very icy, and it will take more than sand and wishful thinking to melt it.
It will take some blunt-force honesty, which was not available in Dallas this week, as airports closed runways but the NFL stuck to the schedule -- and the storyline.
The week was a success. Jones is a beneficent dictator. Dallas should host every February event from here out. And the halftime show with the Black Eyed Jetsons wasn't the least bit goofy.