Super Bowl XL (XL meaning forty, not Extra
Large, though that would be an apt description) has been run and won by the
Pittsburgh Steelers in what many are describing as a forgettable game of
football. Forgettable for the errors and penalties and missed opportunities,
but memorable because the Steelers had to create history to win it – beating the Seattle Seahawks 21-10.

As the Times Onlinereported, “no sixth-seeded team had reached, let alone won, a Super Bowl.” Back
in 1985, the New England Patriots won three play off rounds away from home to
earn themselves a spot in the final, but were then humbled by the Chicago
Bears. The Steelers beat not only the best three teams from their own
conference, but the top team of the opposing conference.

The game was a mixed bag for ABC
executives. Viewing figures peaked at 141 million people with an average of 90
million people watching throughout the game. While it was the highest figure
since 1996, and a 5 per cent improvement on last year, the broadcast wasn’t
without controversy.

After the storm of complaints
that followed
Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction two years ago, the NFL again took
no
chances this year. And so playing it safe, they booked one of the most
overtly
sexual bands ever to lift a guitar – The Rolling Stones. During
renditions of “Start Me Up” and “Rough Justice,” Mick Jagger’s voice
was censored out of the
telecast to protect home viewers from the filthy lyrics.

In the last line of “Start Me Up,” a song
about woman who is so hot she could “make a dead man come,” Jagger’s voice
disappeared from the music. During “Rough Justice,” when ol’ rubber lips asks
if he’s a rooster, or “just one of your c*cks,” Mick
went strangely silent again, but only for home viewers. Fans at the ground were
not spared.

You can, of course, hear the Stones on
public radio, in hundreds of movies, or even in Microsoft ads on US
television. But Frank Supovitz, the NFL’s senior vice president, said these
lines were unsuitable. Despite the event being saturated in beer
advertisements, Supovitz was quick to remind people this is family
entertainment.

Peter Fray

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