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Dotes & goats

Sports | The best and worst from both on and off the field at this year's Super Bowl

Issue: "After the revolution," Feb. 26, 2011

As a football game, Super Bowl XLV was a good one. As a transcendent cultural phenomenon, it failed, as usual, to live up to the hype. Still, the event managed to deliver more than a few off-field moments worth doting over. And the on-field action, for all its brilliance, had its share of goats, too. Here's a look at the dotes and goats from the Green Bay Packers 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Dote: Aaron Rodgers turned in one of the best performances in Super Bowl history, connecting on 24 of 39 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns.

Goat: Ben Roethlisberger continued his record of poor play in the big game, firing a pair of interceptions and missing badly on a number of throws to open receivers. In three Super Bowl appearances, Roethlisberger has piled up five interceptions, and his struggles finally translated to a Super Bowl loss.

Offense

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Dote: Joe Philbin, the Packers offensive coordinator, made an unconventional move in scrapping any pretense of a run game. The Packers handed the ball off just 11 times, but the gamble paid off to the tune of 338 yards and three touchdowns against one of the best defenses in football.

Goat: The Pittsburgh Steelers two-minute offense needed 87 yards and a touchdown in the closing moments of the game, but managed just 20 yards and a stall. The last chance drive looked anything but elegant as receivers ran incorrect routes, players broke huddles in the wrong direction, and time ticked away for lack of decisive play calling.

Defense

Dote: Clay Matthews, Green Bay's pass-rushing specialist, hit Roethlisberger's arm on a pass attempt late in the first quarter, sending the ball fluttering into the arms of teammate Nick Collins, who returned the interception 37 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter Matthews forced a fumble, setting up another Packers touchdown.

Goat: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh's hard-­hitting safety, was beaten on a number of big plays and finished with just three tackles for the game.

Musical acts

Dote: The Black Eyed Peas delivered an over-the-top cameo-laced half-time act worthy of the stage. Oh to have been among those back-up dancers: "You've made the cut to dance at the Super Bowl halftime show! There's just one thing: any objections to wearing a giant glowing cube on your head?"

Goat: Christina Aguilera wanted to put her own spin on the national anthem, but hadn't planned to rewrite the song. Things got a little awkward when the pop star mistakenly replaced the song's fourth line with a slightly altered repeat of the second line.

Commercials

Dote: A Snickers spot provided the best advertising comedy, depicting a whining Roseanne Barr getting clobbered by a swinging log.

Goat: Groupon, the consumer coupon giant, delivered the greatest marketing fail with three ads attempting to spoof politically correct activism. Besides being unfunny, the worst of the efforts made light of political realities in Tibet and managed to offend Chinese and Tibetan viewers.

Venue

Dote: Cowboys Stadium proved a fortuitous choice as its enclosable roof spared the venue from the preceding week's snowstorm. And the 160-foot-long, 1.2 million pound, high-definition screen hanging over the field guaranteed that even fans in attendance wouldn't miss the game on TV.

Goat: Cowboys Stadium workers could not get 1,250 temporary seats secured in time. Staffers were able to reseat 850 fans but initially barred 400 ticketed fans from entering the game. These 400 were later invited to watch in standing room areas or on monitors in a club level. The NFL reimbursed the displaced 400 three times the value of their tickets and offered free invitations to next year's big game.

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