Superbowl XXXVI: A nail-biter

Brian CorleyNicholas Olshen celebrates New England's first touchdown at Red's Old 395 Bar and Grill.

Brian CorleyNicholas Olshen celebrates New England's first touchdown at Red's Old 395 Bar and Grill.

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The loudspeaker at Red's Old 395 Grill asked the crowd what they preferred to watch during halftime of Super Bowl XXXVI: The regular halftime show on Fox or the special "Fear Factor" on NBC featuring scantily-clad Playboy playmates doing scary things.

The hoots that came from the crowd indicated a preference for the playmates, but a compromise was provided: Half of the televisions in the bar featured curvy women walking across a tightrope while the other half beamed out Bono and other members of the rock band U2 singing one of their hits.

Everybody was happy. And not just about their halftime choices.

The consensus among Carson City football fans was that this year's Super Bowl was a nail-biter. It ended with the New England Patriots beating the St. Louis Rams, 20-17.

At halftime, the score was 14-3 in favor of the Patriots. The Rams were the heavily favored team going in. Many viewers were pleasantly surprised with how the match up was progressing, they said.

"The Super Bowl is usually a blowout," said Dave Grey, of Los Angeles and a patron at Red's, the site of one of several Carson-area Superbowl parties. "This is really exciting ... last year was really boring."

He was rooting for the Rams to win, but his favorite team is the Miami Dolphins.

"I like the fact that New England is winning right now," said Tom Ely, of Carson City and another Red's customer. "But the Rams could come back and just kill 'em."

"Definitely the Patriots -- all the way. I like the old teams and I want to see a good game," said Nicholas Olshen, an employee at Red's who was off work for the evening and was able to simply enjoy the game.

A little later and across town at Bully's Sports Bar and Grill, the host of another Super Bowl party, Gardnerville resident Mike Fuller and his son, Josh, were concentrating on the game, which had resumed. The Patriots had just scored 3 more points during this portion of the third quarter.

"It has been a good game for us," said Fuller, a Minnesota Vikings fan during the regular season. "The best play so far was the first interception."

Josh usually cheers for San Francisco 49ers.

Patrons at both parties agreed that the Super Bowl was a great game. As a worldwide event, however, most said that the game was a little overhyped. The pre-game show focused on patriotism, and frequently mentioned the Sept. 11 attacks.

A couple of game-watchers crinkled their noses or rolled their eyes when asked whether "holiday" or "event" were appropriate words to describe the Super Bowl. Fox sportscasters used these words often.

"It's a tradition," said Judy Rand, of Carson City. This Red's customer favored the Rams to win but is normally an Oakland Raiders fan.

She did say that aside from the game being exciting that the commercials were "dynamite."

"The Clydesdales (Budweiser's trademark horses) at New York City was the best commercial," she said.

Josh Fuller was most interested in the game itself. His favorite moment of the game was the Patriots' touchdown pass during the second quarter. His least favorite part of the broadcast: The much-ballyhooed Britney Spears commercials for Pepsi.

"She'll never make him drink Pepsi," Mike Fuller remarked. Josh made a sour face as his father spoke.

The patriotism wasn't "overkilled," Olshen said. "They put on a game good for the morale of America."


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