Football Still More Fun Than Politics

It was a big weekend for the presidential race, but a bigger weekend for football. The New York Giants and the New England Patriots are going to the Superbowl.

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BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT. It's news, information, and today, another live coast, Intermountain West broadcast.

Hey, I'm Rachel Martin in New York.

ALISON STEWART, host:

And I'm Alison Stewart, live from the studios of KCPW on Salt Lake City, Utah, where we are reporting on the Sundance Film Festival.

It is Monday, January 21st, 2008.

So Rachel, it has been just an insane weekend up here.

MARTIN: How was it? How was it? I'm a little jealous.

STEWART: Well, what was really funny. It went from a little mountain town with some filmmakers walking around to suddenly, it just exploded into this match up of Hollywood meets art. And it was so hard to decide what films to cover, what filmmakers…

MARTIN: Yeah.

STEWART: …to talk to. So we actually went to…

MARTIN: You, guys just flipped a coin.

STEWART: Uh-huh. And we actually went to one of our go-to gals, Leah Rozen from People magazine. At last count, Leah had seen 16 movies. She was literally seeing three or four a day. And we asked her after the first weekend, which they call the frontloading weekend - that's where they put a lot of the big films out there. She told us what she liked so far.

MARTIN: Cool.

Ms. LEAH ROZEN (Movie Critic, People Magazine): I really liked "Sunshine Cleaning," which is this sort of fun little movie with Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, two of the brightest young female actresses around. And they really come through in this. It's about two young women, sisters, who start a cleaning service to clean up crime scenes and suicides - body fluids, brain matter, things like that. Turns out it's a big market. Who knew? And it's - they're just fully rounded characters, a lot of it's funny and great performances.

STEWART: Emily Blunt…

MARTIN: And she's the one from "Devil Wears Prada," right?

STEWART: Yes. And interestingly enough, the filmmaker wrote that story based on a news piece they heard on NPR.

MARTIN: Really?

STEWART: And we went and found it. It was done by Linda Wertheimer in 2001. So we're going to link through to that on the blog. So NPR…

MARTIN: Inspiring art.

STEWART: …did a little bit of stint at Sundance.

We're also going to have coming up a for you a very poignant interview with a director named Mark Pellington. He did the movies "Arlington Road," "The Mothman Prophecies." He made that video for the "Jeremy," that Pearl Jam song.

MARTIN: Yeah, yeah.

STEWART: His two films debuting at Sundance. The big one - was the big hot ticket this weekend, the 3-D concert film with U2, as well as a movie called "Henry Poole is Here," a very moving part of the story - his wife passed away suddenly. He talks about how filmmaking has been really cathartic for him.

MARTIN: We'll look forward to that.

And also, it is Martin Luther King Day today, so we will talk with one of the people who was instrumental in getting this to become a holiday in the first place - musician, spoken word artist, poet, Gil Scott-Heron. We talk with him. We'll also go to Korva Coleman for today's headlines in just a minute.

But first, here is the BPP's Big Story.

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MARTIN: Yes, it was a big weekend in politics. Voters went to the polls in South Carolina and Nevada. That was pretty big, but the real big story is this year's Super Bowl matchup. It's set.

Unidentified Man (Sports Announcer): A 47-yard try, his longest attempt in a game. He has missed his last two. Can he send the Giants to the Super Bowl? The kick is good, and the Giants are going to the Super Bowl.

MARTIN: Where they'll face the undefeated New England Patriots. That was the call last night, courtesy of Fox Sports. And with that field goal, the New York Giants upset the Packers 23-20 in overtime in the subzero temperatures of Green Bay, Wisconsin's Lambeau Field.

STEWART: A lot of milestones in the game. It was only the third conference championship game ever to go into overtime, and it was just the third playoff game the Packers had ever lost at home in their 86-year history. The Giants set an NFL record by winning their 10th straight game on the road, and the winning kick was the longest ever made by a visiting kicker in Green Bay in the playoffs.

MARTIN: Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce says that desire was the difference.

Mr. ANTONIO PIERCE (Linebacker, The New York Giants): This team has never given up. This team will never give up. We're not finished. We played against a very good team today, the Packers. We got to give our hats off to them. They fought us to the very end. It was a competitive game. But I think the team that wanted it more today won.

MARTIN: Packers' legendary quarterback Brett Favre threw an intercepted pass early in overtime, leading to the field goal that lost his team the championship. Favre would not say whether he'll return for an 18th season next year, but he did say this loss was pretty painful.

Mr. BRETT FARVE (Quarterback, The Green Bay Packers): I didn't rise up to the occasion, and I have in the past. I expect more out of myself. I know it's part of the game, but, you know, it's very disappointing.

STEWART: The Giants once again showed that they are a beacon of hope to the downtrodden, a sign that whatever obstacles may befall us, we can all - wait a minute. Is producer Dan Pashman right this?

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STEWART: The man who sent the e-mail at 11:03 that he had the fever? We can't let Giants fans write this stuff. I'm going to skip ahead - tour de force, triumph of the human spirit, Nietzsche and ubermen. Okay, wait. Here we go.

Here's something I can read. The Giants will face the New England Patriots who defeated The San Diego Chargers 21 to 12 to win a record-breaking 18th game of the season. If they take the Super Bowl, the Pats will be the first team to go 19 and 0 in NFL history.

MARTIN: The Patriots took the lead early in the second quarter and never relinquished it. The Chargers hung around and only trailed by two, going into the fourth quarter. But New England would not be denied. Running back Laurence Maroney led the way for the Pats, while his Chargers counterpart, LaDainian Tomlinson, barely played. Tomlinson entered the game with a bad knee and left after touching the ball just three times.

STEWART: Here's Patriots super hunk QB Tom Brady on his team's quest for perfection.

Mr. TOM BRADY (Quarterback, New England Patriots): There's been so much energy expended each week with, you know, with the expectations and the pressure that our coach puts on us. So I'm glad we have a week off here, regroup a little bit and try to, you know, elevate our game for one last performance.

MARTIN: Super Bowl 42 takes place in 13 days in Glendale, Arizona, just outside Phoenix.

And that is THE BPP's Big Story.

Now, here's Korva Coleman with even more news.

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