Pomp and Circumstance of Super Bowl XLVI

Mario Manningham made the key play for the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday. Photo by Chris Faytok/The Star-Ledger

First of all, I’d just like to apologize for my absence on here in the last week. With the Giants in the Super Bowl and their subsequent victory, I’ve spent most of my time involved in the coverage (and celebration) of that.

The Super Bowl never looks like any other football game. Although the game is always played at a stadium used throughout the NFL season, like Lucas Oil Stadium this season, the setting does not resemble that of an ordinary game.

The most glaring aspect of the field that differentiates it from the norm is the end zones. Each teams gets a distinct design in an end zone, which to me is one of the most exciting aspects of the Super Bowl (when my team is not playing in the game.)

The middle of the field now features the NFL shield with the plain Super Bowl logos on the 25-yard line.

Perhaps the biggest difference from the regular season is the huge crowds on the sidelines. From the photographers, to friends and family, to the lucky people that get a spot on the sideline who have nothing to do with either team. The sideline on the Super Bowl is insanity.

Sports Illustrated spliced together photos of Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday to create this very cool pan shot. Have fun with that, I did for about a half hour.

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End Zone Designs: Painting on the Field

The Super Bowl always does a good job of matching the importance of the game with good end zone designs.

Every player on the football field wants to reach the end zone. Those special ten yards on each side of the field create the most excitement of any game, and therefore, it should be no coincidence they look better than the rest of the field.

While there might be a few exceptions (Boise State and Eastern Washington), football fields stick to green to cover the 100 yards of the playing field, probably because that is the color of natural grass.

As it is with uniforms, it seems like college football has more freedom with end zone design than the NFL.  Two designs in particular that stand out to me are Tennessee and Maryland. The Vols have stuck with the same orange-and-white checkered pattern for many years now.

The pattern works very well for me. It goes away from the usual lettering that goes in an end zone. Everyone knows Tennessee is the home team, so it is a good move by the Volunteers to go outside the box with this.

The other cool feature of this end zone is the pattern does not cover all 10 yards of the space. The yard or so of green showing on all sides of the pattern adds a bit of classiness to the design.

Maryland takes its cues from Tennessee when it comes to their end zone. In similar fashion to their pride uniforms that got everyone’s attention, Maryland’s end zone pays homage to their state flag.

Bowl games are some of my favorite fields because each zone is totally different from the other. Some games like the famed Beef O’Brady’s Bowl decide to keepboring end zones telling everyone what city they are in, which is clearly necessary for those who have made the trip to support their school.

A few other collegiate end zones that stick out are Penn State, who uses a yellow goal line, which is nice. Notre Dame sticks with the stripes in the end zone, keeping with tradition. I’ll throw in Syracuse here too since I have a weakness for blue and orange and the Orange have gone with that since switching over to FieldTurf in the Carrier Dome.

When it comes to the NFL, there is not as much variety form year-to-year, but I will focus on the local teams here.

Since moving to MetLife Stadium (or New Meadowlands Stadium as it used to be known), the Jets and Giants have greatly improved their end zone designs. The move to natural grass for the 2000 season turned out to be a disaster in terms of keeping the grass lush and end zone design.

In the first year, both teams decided to paint the end zones at Giants Stadium, making for a good look, especially for the 2000 NFC Championship victory for the Giants. However, as time went on and even as Giants Stadium went to FieldTurf, the end zones got much more boring. Without any paint in the end zones, it looked like a preseason game for the entire season.

For the last few seasons at the old stadium, the Giants did paint the lettering in the end zones, but it still left much to be desired because of what the field used to look like with AstroTurf.

Now, with MetLife Stadium, the end zone have gone back to their exciting past, and I think we can all say we are glad to see it. They have even added a logo and conference logo at the ends which makes for a nice touch.

That’s all for today’s display of obsessiveness. We’ll take a bit of a break until this weekend’s football action, unless something exciting happens in the uniform world.