So I've had a few -- a very few -- hours to sleep on it, and I've got a final few thoughts on Super Bowl XLVI, coaching strategies, and Indianapolis' big triumph:
* It'll no doubt go down as one of the oddest plays in Super Bowl history -- the New England Patriots' defense parting like the Red Sea to allow Ahmad Bradshaw to score in the last minute, and Bradshaw, at the last second, looking as if he were trying desperately to stay out of the end zone and failing.
The strategy for New England was to get the ball back as soon as possible. The strategy for New York was to keep the Pats from doing that. Conventional wisdom was the casualty.
"Right as I broke the huddle, I kind of had a feeling, under the circumstances, that they were going to let us score," Eli Manning said later. "It's a tough situation right there as you are thinking about what to do. I think you have to score a touchdown right there. That's the goal. That's the ultimate goal – to score a touchdown.
"As a quarterback, I have great confidence in Lawrence Tynes and kicking field goals. Obviously, he has kicked game-winners for us, but you just don't want to leave anything to chance in that situation. We could have kneeled and run out the clock and kicked a field goal with 10 seconds left, but if you get a bad snap or if they block it or if something fluky happens and you miss that field goal, you feel terrible. In that situation, as I am handing the ball off, I saw that their defensive line was standing up and not rushing. I am yelling not to score. Maybe you get down to the six-inch line, make them use their last timeout and then try to score on third down, hopefully score a touchdown to give you a bigger lead and get the four-point lead, five-point lead possibly and take it from there. Looking back, we did the right thing."
* So how far out of the park did Indianapolis hit this thing?
Let me say this: This was my third Super Bowl, and it was far and away the easiest I've covered. I tend to judge these events first of all by the logistics of getting through security, and I was through security in less than five minutes. Absolutely crushed the procedures in Miami and Detroit.
Everything else was equally efficient, competent and accommodating. And I'm not surprised; one of the more amusing aspects of the whole week was listening to people express surprise at how smoothly it all went. As I've said before, there's probably no city in America that was more prepared to host a Super Bowl, and do it right, than Indianapolis; among other things, it's put on the Pan-Am Games, umpteen Final Fours, the U.S. Grand Prix and, for 95 years, the largest single-day sporting event in the world, the Indianapolis 500.
So the Super Bowl, and pro football, did not make Indy big-time. It's been big-time, in various and sundry ways, for at least four decades.
So, A-plus, Indy. As expected.