Home > Article from newspaper > Super Bowl XLI is first, first, first, unless you’re a Bears fan, in which case worst

Super Bowl XLI is first, first, first, unless you’re a Bears fan, in which case worst

February 6, 2007

Monday February 5, 2007 | 09:39:21 pm




I had a feeling that Super Bowl XLI would be historic – one of those “first time in history” games. So I made a pilgrimage to a unique place in football history: Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1864, Gallaudet is the first university in America dedicated to educating deaf students. And as pretty much the only non-signer on campus, I was acutely aware of my own linguistic inadequacies, as well as how deaf people feel in all-hearing situations.

But what does Gallaudet have to do with football? In a word: Huddle.

You see, the Gallaudet Bison have a long history of competitive sports, and back in the nascent years of American football, the Bison signed their plays down the line before hiking the ball. Well it didn’t take long for the other teams to catch on, so the huddle was born as a way for the Bison to communicate their plays out of sight of the opposing teams.

Now on to the other firsts of XLI:

Out of 29 Super Bowls played out doors, this was the first to be played in the rain. Remarkable. Even more remarkable was the fact that raindrops in HDTV are far more distracting than in plain old LDTV.

Why does the media always focus on good news? All we heard last night and today is how Tony Dungy is the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl. But what about Lovie Smith, the first African-American coach to lose the Super Bowl?

And, under the “Know Your Stats” heading, it should be pointed out that the winning percentage for black coaches in the Super Bowl is now the same as white coaches. First time that’s ever happened.

Devin Hester was the first player to ever return the opening kickoff for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. More importantly, he was the first player to ever score in a Super Bowl whose last name is the same as the first name of a female main character in a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel.

This was the first time the Indianapolis Colts have won the Super Bowl. And let me tell you, the Colts still are quite unpopular here in the Baltimore area.

It was the first Super Bowl halftime show – in a long time, anyway – that really rocked. Prince singing Purple Rain in the pouring rain was very cool.

And finally, it was the first time I’ve ever applauded in American Sign Language. Thank you Bison for the huddle, even though Peyton Manning and the Colts hardly needed one to beat Rex “First and Last Time in a Super Bowl” Grossman and the Bears.