February 07, 2005 08:00 AM

Turns out there wasn’t much to see on TV on Super Bowl Sunday – aside from a pretty good game, of course.

Last year’s big game, with Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” and a year of increased FCC fines and self-imposed censorship by many media outlets seemed a distant memory as Paul McCartney, an elder statesman of rock ‘n’ roll, took the stage for the halftime performance.

McCartney performed four songs for the game’s intermission, none of which probably made much of an impression on younger viewers, as they were all written more than 30 years ago.

But for network stations still reeling from the fallout of Super Bowl ’04, this year’s show was just what the doctor (or censors) ordered. McCartney kept his clothes on, the songs were tasteful – classic even, and the lone drug reference to “California grass” in the song “Get Back” so oft-repeated as to be pass , even this year.

Even the ads were free from controversy, thanks to a last-minute scramble by FOX, which aired the game. The network pulled an ad by beer maker Miller Brewing that was critical of its rival, Anheuser-Busch. “Both Anheuser-Busch and Miller are valued customers of FOX, but FOX has made a decision not to accept specific ads from Miller on Super Bowl Sunday that we consider to portray Anheuser-Busch products ? in a negative way,” a FOX representative said.

At least one new advertiser couldn’t let last year’s Jackson-Timberlake fiasco slip by unreferenced. GoDaddy.com, which sells Web site names, reminded viewers of last year’s furor in its spot. The rest of the ads, however, proved mostly tame, if forgettable, and the days in which Super Bowl commercials inspired discussions long after the game appeared to be over.

Meanwhile, back on the field in Jacksonville, Fla., the New England Patriots cemented their status as an NFL dynasty Sunday night, beating the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21, and winning their third title in four years. Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch was named the game’s MVP.

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