What, no, Janet Jackson and her wardrobe malfunction?
What, no, rumbling John Madden or smooth Pat Summerall or Bill (The Baby Blimp) Parcells being soaked in some sticky Gatorade on the sidelines?
Instead, what a mere 140 million TV viewers and yours truly got to see during Super Bowl XLI was a strange-looking guy with a purple guitar making a racket in HDTV and platform technology, and seven hours and 55 minutes, more or less, of commercials, where the main attraction was some SLAP-stick. And I do mean Bud Light SLAP-stick.
And what we also got besides the Purple Rain and (Prince) Rogers Nelson, formerly known as TAFKAP (my computer won't make that weird symbolic sign), were two lesser, and often non-descript entities -- Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.
Say, didn't Simms used to play for the New York Giants back in 1987?
Yes, he did and admirably, I might add as he set a Super Bowl record with an 88% completion percentage and took Parcells' Giants to a 39-20 triumph over John Elway and his Denver Broncos in XXI.
So what's Simms up to these days? He played second fiddle to technology when the Indianapolis Colts splished-splashed their way past the Chicago Bears 29-17 in XLI.
If you'll forgive me, this is what I wrote 20 Super Bowls ago:
* John Madden, who works as the Slice Blimp in the off-season, has given us such words as Bam! Boom! Whack!
But now he's done something definitely unique in addition to giving Daniel Webster and his dictionary fits, with a series of questions as the Giants started the countdown to Gatorade.
Madden, before God, Pat Summerall and a billion Chinese, asked the provocative questions: 1. How does sweat sound in stereo? 2. How does spit sound in stereo? and, most important, 3. How does chewing a mouthpiece sound in stereo?
The CBS Super Bowl XXI, directed by Sandy Grossman, was broadcast in stereo to such football hotbeds as Nicaragua, Iceland, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg and, on a delayed and edited basis, to the Chinese where the Super Bowl is known as Gan Lan Qui (olive ball) because of its shape.
Then Madden followed up his stereo comments with a description of the Gatorade buckets -- "there's the Mother bucket, the Father bucket and even the Baby Bucket." And CBS provided us with such startling graphics as the Father Bucket (it eventually was poured over Parcells) contains 10 gallons of the sticky stuff, weighs 12 pounds, stands 23 1/4 inches high and is in its third year.
While such nonsense was espoused near the conclusion of Super Bowl XXI, it gave the telecast just the right touch, and if one was scoring the broadcast, the CBS crew of Summerall, Madden, Brent Musberger, Dan Dierdorf, Irv Cross and Will McDonough has to rate a 9. Nobody, as Bobby Bare used to sing rates a 10, only Bo Derek.
Summerall, the former Giants kicker, didn't allow his bias to show, and gave us a first-rate, straight-forward play-by-play report, with the least amount of verbal diarrhea, although he could have been a touch more excited. But that's Summerall's style, and he's too old and set in his ways to change now.
While Madden and Summerall were giving the viewer accurate and entertaining performances, host Musberger and Dierdorf, the former Incredible Bulk of the St. Louis Cardinals, were equally adept, particularly in their analytical view of a replay involving Denver's Clarence Kay and then the subsequent safety when the Giants' George Martin tracked Elway into the end zone.
Even the billion Chinese will savor Super Bowl XXI, even if they can't understand Madden's Bam! Boom! Whack! or what spits sounds in stereo.
And, finally, there was no over-rated guitar plucker prancing out there in the Purple Rain nor the dull (not dulcet) sounds of Nantz and Simms nor anyone humming to 'Who Let The Dogs Out?'
SUPER BOWL HALL OF FAME: Top 3 commercials, as rated by at least three fans and MSNBC: 1. Apple "1984" (1984); 2. Coke "Mean Joe Greene" (1979); 3. E*Trade "Monkey" (2000). Honourable mentions: Reebok "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker" (2003); Monster.com "When I Grow Up ..." (1999).
SUPER BOWL HALL OF SHAME: 1. Apple -- "Lemmings" (1985); 2. Burger King -- "Find Herb the Nerd" (1986); 3. Just for Feet -- Kenyan runner ad (1999). Dishonourable mentions: Holiday Inn -- Sex change ad (1997); Budweiser -- Flatulent horse ad (2004).
'MISTAKE IN THE LAKE': Remind me NEVER to be photographed after taking a dip in the Okanagan in early February.