NEW YORK -- What a brilliant idea bringing the Super Bowl to greater New York, where a feta cheese omelet at Lindy’s costs $18, the tabloid stories that haven’t been about Peyton Manning have been about brother Eli, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell makes the concession, "We cannot control the weather."
And we mistakenly believed the league could do anything it wished.
"New York, New York," as Sinatra sang, even though he was from across the river in Hoboken, N.J., just south of MetLife Stadium, where Sunday they’ll play "The Big Game."
That’s the only way businesses and establishments who haven’t paid to be an official sponsor are allowed to refer to, well, the big game.
Not that this can’t be beneficial. At the famous Carnegie Deli on 7th Avenue, where people line up as if they’re going to be given gold bullion rather than an overstuffed corned beef on rye, there’s a sign, "Get a big sandwich for the Big Game." Wink, wink.
"If you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere," go the lyrics, and with seats starting at a face value of $800, Goodell and the league are making it. They're making money and a splash bigger than maybe any other of the past 47 Big Games.
"This is the No. 1 market and a great stage for this Super Bowl matchup," Goodell said Friday in his annual "Everything's Great in Pro Football" address. "And the world will be watching."
What a small segment of the world had watched this week was the forecast, originally thinking the Super Bowl would be played in a blizzard. Now we’re advised the high temperature on Sunday is to be 51 degrees. The better for Peyton to throw.
The three New York tabloids, each of which has a sports photo on the back page every day, couldn’t get enough of Manning, the Denver Broncos quarterback. Or, on the inside pages, younger brother Eli, who plays for the New York Giants.
On Monday, the Post and Newsday featured Peyton and the Daily News had Seattle’s Richard Sherman. On Tuesday, perhaps seeking balance, each tab had a member of the Seahawks.
On Wednesday, Manning was on the back cover of Newsday and Post. The Daily News? Retired Giants lineman Michael Strahan. Don’t ask why.
On Thursday, the Daily News and Post again featured Peyton Manning. Newsday offered up Joe Namath.
On Friday, it was a sweep, Manning, Manning, Manning. And because Sherman, the Seattle cornerback, called Manning’s passes "ducks," both the Post and Daily News superimposed the bearded face of Phil Robertson on Peyton’s body with the duplicate headline "DUCK DYNASTY."
You won’t get this kind of response in Phoenix, where they’ll hold next year's Big Game.
Reports of traffic gridlock through the so-called Tri-State Region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut turned out to be, as the comment Mark Twain did not make about his demise, highly exaggerated.
Media folks, aided by police escorts, zipped through the Holland and Lincoln tunnels to Jersey City or Newark in plenty of time to be stiffed by Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.
If Lynch, whose reluctance according to a friend derives from shyness, didn’t want to communicate, there was always Kevin Costner. Yes, that Kevin Costner, the onetime ballplayer from Cal State Fullerton and current cinema attraction.
The Super Bowl is more than just a game or a Big Game. It is a commercial adventure to be exploited by any person or group able to crack the NFL’s security barriers or willing to pay for the privilege.
On Friday, after three days of questions and answers about two-deeps and 3-4s from coaches and players, the press heard Costner and co-stars Jennifer Garner and Denis Leary tell about more fanciful pursuits.
In a yet-to-be released film, "Draft Day," Costner plays the role of a general manager who "has the opportunity to save football in Cleveland" when he trades for the No. 1 pick. Not exactly "Gone With the Wind," but it will have to do.
Goodell even has a part, playing himself, the commissioner. "I did get a chance to see the movie," Goodell said. "I think it’s fantastic."
Second opinions will not be sought.
The opinion of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is that it has been a great few days in New York, counter to the tweets of a few Seattle players that the pace of the city and the aggressiveness of some citizens -- rude was a word that was used -- made them uncomfortable.
"Just arriving here, we’ve felt the spirit of the city," said Carroll, who once coached the New York Jets. "New York-New Jersey is on fire about this ballgame. The message has come through so clear to us all."
It’s clear that while this Super Bowl, this Big Game, is one of many, bringing it to New York has made it one of a kind.