New York's quarterback Eli Manning was named MVP after his stunning performance saw the Giants home.

As a Super Bowl virgin, I had little idea of what to expect from Sunday night’s clash between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots in Indianapolis. With friends in close proximity rooting for the Patriots, and not really knowing what was happening, I sat down in front of the giant screen with a (mercifully non-American) lager in my hand with an open mind. And what a fantastic spectacle I was treated to. American sport is an orgy of excess, advertising and theatre. The Super Bowl itself is indicative of the showy, ostentatious nature of the society of the United States. And what a society it is.

As for the game itself, I found myself in a rather odd position. As a staunch football supporter, I was unable to tolerate the constant stoppages in play. If this is the probable future of the true “great game” then frankly I’ll take my leave now. It is also bizarre, given the frantic nature of football (sorry, not soccer) games, played in, and I make no apologies for using this phrase, “real time,” the idea that a game can have one minute remaining on the clock but that minute could technically be played out over a half an hour period. As for the result, it was rather inevitable. The Patriots’ defence was poor from the off, and when it came down to it, thoroughly unable to prevent Ahmad Bradshaw running through for a touchdown. Eli Manning was dominant, the Giants’ quarterback overshadowing the stellar performance of Tom Brady, who so nearly drove his side onto victory with just 57 seconds remaining after the Giants’ late touchdown.

Manning was named MVP, and rightly so. He set up that crucial touchdown, which saw the Giants overhaul the Patriots’ slender advantage. Mario Manningham’s incredible catch began the move, from Manning’s throw, and was repeated ad nauseam on the giant screen, alongside endless “slo-mos” and replays demonstrating the extent of Manningham’s superb technique, concentration and athleticism. So the Patriots’ attempt to run the clock down was, in the end, fruitless, and the Giants repeated their victory of 2008, this time by 21 points to 17. With all the action on the field, however, it would probably have been easy to forget what was happening off it, as equal amounts of attention are often ascribed to the two on this great sporting “occasion” – note use of this rather ambiguous phrase. Sadly, off-field events were rather more muted. Or, at least, you’d have liked them to be. The cloying sound of Cee Lo Green, LMFAO and Madonna amongst others enough to ensure that the half-time show remained mercifully, little more than a distraction from the real thing. Still, at least there were no sonic faux pas this time.

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