INDIANAPOLIS — It’s not necessary to tell you the Super Bowl is more than just a game. It’s also a corporate bonanza, with companies from all over attempting to tie their brand to the world’s biggest singular sporting event.
That’s how I came to find myself at the presentation of the 2011 Madden Protectors Award, presented by Prilosec OTC. I know the sponsor by heart because a) I was handed a press release and b) the event emcee, as well as Hall of Fame OT Anthony Muñoz (also a presenter), referenced the heartburn-reducing product 13 times by my count.
I was under the impression that I could speak with legendary coach/announcer/video-game icon John Madden, which I did … kind of. Madden’s famous noggin was staring at me on two 50-inch plasma screens, his presence at the event limited to a satellite hookup.
(FYI: Pat Summerall — Madden’s longtime play-by-play partner — was seen at the Media Center touring Radio Row. Not bad for a guy turning 82 in a couple months.)
Madden presented the Saints’ Jahri Evans, Carl Nicks, Zach Strief, Brian De La Puente and Jermon Bushrod with the award for best offensive line. Other finalists included the O-lines of the Packers, Broncos, Texans and Patriots.
The Saints’ big men came off like good fellas, riffing about the superiority of O-linemen over the weak, limited defensive linemen during a brief Q&A.
I asked Madden what he thought about recent comments by Patriots guard Logan Mankins, who said he took Giants DE Justin Tuck’s assertion that New England’s line is dirty as “a compliment.”
“I think once you can get them thinking that way, I think you got ’em where you want ’em,” Madden said. “If you want to say that about us, we’ll take it and we’ll see what happens. It doesn’t win or lose the game in my mind.”
Minutes later, it was over, something made clear when Larry “The Cable Guy” randomly showed up and started talking into a microphone on the opposite end of the room.
Get ‘er done, presented by Prilosec OTC.
— Dan Hanzus