Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Fine friends and food make for great time
LITTLE ROCK Like most of America, yours truly watched the Super Bowl with a large group of great friends.
Men and women who like football, families, great food and friendship. Amazingly, there is not a selfish person in the group. Maybe that’s why the trust runs so deep among the Wednesday Night Men’s Group.
It was better than being there. We had squares with $25 payouts for every quarter, and a questionnaire that was quickly forgotten by most, as was the $2 entry fee.
John and Jeff manned the grill with brilliance.
A couple of friends, let’s call them David and Darren for simplicity’s sake and legal matters, had wagers on the game. For once they had taken the same team - Baltimore and the points - but it did nothing to change the good natured teasing.
Some in the group were San Francisco 49ers fans, although it might have been just for the night, and all Ed could see was purple anyway.
Maybe he thought LSU was supposed to be playing. At least that’s what Tom accused him of more than once.
It would be the usual great time; and the Super Bowl, when it finally ended late in the night, was a great one, too.
There were many story lines, but CBS did not overdo it too much, although the saga of Katrina and New Orleans recovery seven years later was a bit much.
The Big Easy has long since returned as a wonderful tourist mecca with some of the greatest food and fun in the world.
New Orleans didn’t have anything on our local Super Bowl party when it came to food. And when the game finally started, everyone’s attention was focused on the action, and, of course, the commercials.
In the second quarter, when Baltimore drove to its second touchdown, quarterback Joe Flacco had a couple of completions on passes that reeked of desperation as he was flushed out of the pocket and running for his life.
The passes were completed because of the focus of the Ravens receivers, but it was a sign that to win any championship, you have to have some luck.
When Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers second-year quarterback, threw the game’s only interception, the Ravens had a great chance to add to the lead with a first-and-10 at the San Francisco 38.
The Ravens drove to the 49ers’ 15, but after a 1-yard run and two incompletions, it looked like field-goal time. Ravens Coach John Harbaugh gambled with a fake field goal, but kicker Justin Tucker’s run came up just short.
The party’s gamblers were not especially in favor of the decision to not take the points.
Flacco, who had a super first half completing 13 of 20 passes for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns, ended up driving the Ravens 65 yards for another touchdown and a 21-6 halftime lead.
By then, many of the commercials had been entertaining, but no one ran out and bought a new car.
The guess here is the halftime show featuring Beyonce was good. Apparently, she’s supposed to be more of an entertainer than singer, and she entertained.
The comeback kids of San Francisco outscored the Ravens 17-7 - with the Ravens’ only touchdown the 108-yard return of the second-half kickoff - in the third quarter and 8-6 in the fourth. In the end, it wasn’t enough.
Baltimore, which passed seven fewer times in the second half, played not to lose after the power failure, and managed to escape 34-31.
It was a game featuring two very intense teams and commercials that cost $4 million for 30 seconds.
Near the end, there was a close play. If you were a 49ers fan, it was a bad no-call; if you pulled for the Ravens, it was a good no-call.
The final result, though, was a great game, a great night and a great party with great friends, which made it better than being there.
Sports, Pages 19 on 02/05/2013