Montana appears to miss boat

Commentary

February 08, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

Sometimes, you've got to wonder what some people could possibly be thinking, and by some people I mean Joe Montana and the Rolling Stones and the NFL and whoever was in charge of Super Bowl security - because somehow Gilbert Gottfried got a media credential.

Actually, I like Gilbert. He does a nice duck imitation ("Afffflac!!!") and he totally bailed me out when nobody showed up on Super Bowl media day dressed like a turnip.

Montana is another story. Rumor has it that he didn't show up for the Super Bowl Most Valuable Players ceremony because the NFL wouldn't guarantee him $100,000 in promotional income. He explained in an ESPN interview that he wanted to be home for the weekend to watch his two teenage boys play basketball, since he was away from home so much during his playing career.

(I'd just like to say at this point that I had those same guilty feelings after covering Major League Baseball for 25 seasons and missing much of my children's formative period, but they've both turned out great ... which my wife insists is not a coincidence.)

If that's Joe's story, I'll take him at his word, but he's being cast around the country as a money-grubbing jerk who forgot where he came from, so I'd have to say that his interests would have been better served if he had taken the paltry thousand bucks the NFL was offering and showed up to be honored as the greatest Super Bowl quarterback of them all.

Almost everyone else did. The only other MVP no-shows were Terry Bradshaw and Jake Scott. Bradshaw also cited family reasons, and there were no NFL types contesting that off the record. Scott was in Australia.

I'm not letting the NFL off the hook here. The league virtually prints money on Super Bowl Sunday, so I'm guessing it could do a little better than the $1,000 appearance fee. The deal also included first-class airfare, hotel accommodations and a courtesy car, but I'm guessing most of the travel expenses were picked up by sponsors.

Now, before you start dashing off those sarcastic e-mails telling me that you'd be happy to fly first class to the Super Bowl and get $1,000 for the privilege, keep in mind that you're not Joe Montana and you didn't win a bunch of Super Bowls and the league hasn't been trading on your name for many years.

(Obviously, if you're reading this and you are Joe Montana, disregard the previous paragraph.)

The Rolling Stones still rock, but their 12-minute set didn't exactly blow away all the criticism the NFL got for booking them instead of using the Super Bowl halftime extravaganza to honor the musical legends of Motown.

The show was one-dimensional and it left me wondering if Len Dawson would be able to keep the Kansas City Chiefs from getting blown out in the second half.

Earth to Paul Tagliabue: You've paid your penance for the Janet Jackson debacle. No need to book Paul Revere and the Raiders next year in Miami.

The Stones' play list could have been a little better, too. Can't argue with "Start Me Up" and "Satisfaction," but the new song in the middle left me colder than the Detroit Winter Blast.

Sure, I want to hear the new stuff when it's part of a three-hour concert, but when you're playing in front of a television audience of hundreds of millions of people and you've only got 12 minutes, maybe something like "Let's Spend the Night Together" would have been more engaging.

Of course, the prissy NFL might have taken a page from the Ed Sullivan playbook and asked them to change the lyrics to "Let's Spend Some Time Together."

The musical highlight of the night for me was Stevie Wonder doing "Living For The City" as part of his pre-game medley. His voice is as strong as ever, and his music was a lot more relevant to the occasion.

The Super Bowl moves to Miami next year, which can only mean one thing: NFL officials will offend the huge Latin American population of South Florida by asking Jimmy Buffett to headline the halftime show, but they'll get no complaint from me.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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