- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2008

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The University of Phoenix Stadium was built with the Super Bowl in mind. Aside from a fender bender five hours before kickoff that clogged up 101 North, it was clear sailing for the Seen & Heard crew yesterday afternoon. From hotel to convention center to stadium security to press box in less than an hour.

The concourses leave a little bit to be desired — they should be wider. Even 2½ hours before kickoff, you had to bob and weave your way through the crowd in the 400 level.

Some random observations of a third in-person Super Sunday:

Howard University product Geoffrey Pope, a reserve cornerback for the Giants, was inactive for the Super Bowl. Pope was on the fence because Kevin Dockery returned from injury.

On the Snoozer Scale, the Fox Red Carpet Show with Ryan Seacrest rated about a minus-14 (puts you out cold if sitting on a couch). But what did anybody expect? It would be one thing if guys like Brad Pitt and George Clooney, Tom Hanks and (future Redskins coach) Tom Cruise were in attendance. That would add some cache and comic relief to the proceedings.

Instead you got, gasp, Paula Abdul singing and Randy Jackson playing bass and John Travolta promoting a sure-to-be bad movie (“Bolt”).

The New York Post had some fun with the Patriots this week … simply shocking. Late in the week, when word trickled out that New England had submitted a patent for two record-related phases: “19-0” and “19-0: The Perfect Season,” the newspaper responded by putting a patent on “18-1” and atop every Super Bowl coverage page “Giants vs. *” — suggesting the Patriots should be slapped with an asterisk for the SpyGate fiasco.

It’s never too early to look ahead. Next year’s Super Bowl is Feb. 1, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. New England is the favorite (3-1) to win the title, followed by Dallas (6-1), Indianapolis (6-1) and Green Bay (7-1). The Redskins are tied for 13th (30-1) behind nonplayoff teams New Orleans (20-1) and Chicago (25-1) and tied with Cleveland (30-1). The longest shots on the board are Atlanta and Miami (150-1).

Ryan O’Halloran

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