Super Bowl: Clarkson nails national anthem

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Well, if the Super Bowl is based on the intro music, the New England Patriots are the clear winners.

Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” _ a hard-rockin’ classic _ blared out of the speakers at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium as the Patriots jogged onto the field.

The New York Giants? They came out to Tinie Tempah’s “Written in the Stars,” which was played over and over and, ugh, over again during television commericals for baseball’s playoffs.

Husband-and-wife country stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert did a nice job with a sweet, low-key rendition of “America the Beautiful.”

And, there were no national anthem miscues at this Super Bowl _ sorry, Christina Aguilera _ by Kelly Clarkson, who nailed it.

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Imagine being New England defensive end Alex Silvestro.

One day, you’re on the Patriots‘ practice squad. The next, you’re active for the Super Bowl against the New York Giants.

Silvestro was promoted Saturday night when Bill Belichick decided to make the cruelest cut of all: releasing wide receiver Tiquan Underwood less than 24 hours before the big game. Whether Silvestro plays much remains to be seen _ he was active for only one game this season _ but he’ll always be able to say he was there.

Pretty cool for the rookie from Rutgers.

Underwood’s release means Chad Ochocinco is also active, set to play in his first Super Bowl in 11 NFL seasons after being inactive for the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets, will start despite two weeks of speculation over whether he’d be able to go with a high left ankle sprain.

Inactive, though, is running back Kevin Faulk, who played in the Patriots‘ four previous Super Bowls under Belichick.

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It’s time for football. Finally.

After nearly two weeks of hype, predictions and over-analysis _ Is Eli already elite? Will Rob Gronkowski’s sprained ankle be OK? Where’s Peyton playing next season? _ the New England Patriots and New York Giants are close to kicking off the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

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