Football Still More Fun Than Politics

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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.

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

(Soundbite of music)

ALISON STEWART, host:

This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT. It's news, information and a whole lot of twittering about how cold it is out there. If you're on our Twitter feed, you know what I'm talking about. I'm Alison Stewart, live from the studios of KCPW in Salt Lake City, Utah, where we're covering the Sundance Film Festival.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

And I'm Rachel Martin at BPP world headquarters in New York City. It is Monday, January 21st, light year, 2008.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Alison, do you want to pack up your bags and move permanently to Park City, or are you ready to come home?

STEWART: I'm ready to come home. But Park City is actually a pretty great-looking town.

MARTIN: Yeah.

STEWART: I keep trying to imagine it without Paris Hilton and Mary-Kate, Ashley Olsen twin person on the streets, because it's really beautiful. It's really lovely. And then there's just a whole lot of Gucci sunglasses and trendy bags.

MARTIN: Oh.

STEWART: And it's just a really weird scene, because then you have all these incredibly earnest filmmakers who are there, who want people to see their work, who are hoping to get some kind of distribution. So it's a ying, but man, it's a yang as well.

MARTIN: Yeah.

STEWART: Let's just put it that way.

MARTIN: A cornucopia of cultures there.

STEWART: And I - yeah, I keep running into people I know. We ran into Dan Holloway, who was a guest host on the show sometime, and film critic for Metro newspapers. He'd seen quite a few films. He's staying for the entire film festival.

MARTIN: Boy, someone's got to do it - the hard work.

STEWART: Somebody's got to do it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: We cornered Dan on the street corner and asked him what he's seen that he liked.

Mr. DAN HOLLOWAY (Film Critic, Metro Newspaper): The sort of, you know, big actory film that is getting a lot of mixed reviews but what I really liked was "The Wackness." I think it's a really fun movie. I think it's kind of the other side of the coin to "Juno," which is - by which I mean that it's a very saccharine movie. It's, you know, a coming-of-age film with a lot of like sweetness at heart.

But the way that "Juno" was very indie and very - no one's ever drinking, no one's ever doing anything illicit. You know, this is a movie about a teenage pot dealer. And everyone in the movie is constantly messed up, you know, they're constantly drunk. They're constantly smoking pot. They're constantly crushing up Ritalin and snorting it. But at the same time, it's basically the same sort of movie as "Juno." And I think it's a lot of fun, and it has this on "Juno": no one in the film ever says honest to blog.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: That movie stars Ben Kingsley and one of them - there Olsens, as well as Famke Janssen and Method Man. We'll talk a little bit more about the film festival and the documentary series, because there's some amazing documentaries here.

MARTIN: Cool. We'll stay tune for that. It was a big weekend in politics, if you paid attention. John McCain won South Carolina. Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney took the Nevada caucuses.

And our friend Jim VandeHei from politico.com is going to be here to help us round it up.

STEWART: And, of course, it was a big football weekend this weekend. BPP Monday morning quarterback Bill Wolff, my husband, informed me he did not leave the house.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: And I'm interpreting that as did not leave the couch, either.

MARTIN: Oh, I hope you had provisions.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: As long as he had his cell phone, anything's possible in Manhattan. So we'll check in with him in just a minute.

MARTIN: And Sudhir Venkatesh spent years studying and spending time with gangs in Chicago. He wrote a book about it called "Gang Leader for a Day." And he's coming in to the studio later this hour to talk about the book.

STEWART: Great.

MARTIN: And we'll also go to Korva Coleman for today's headlines in just a minute.

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

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: Voters went to the polls in the South Carolina and Nevada. And yes, that's a fairly big story. But the really big story is - I'm a little choked up about it…

MARTIN: I know.

MARTIN: …is football. This year's Super Bowl matchup is set.

Unidentified Man (Sports Announcer): A forty-seven-yard try, his longest attempt in the 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 to 20 in overtime in the sub-zero temperatures of Green Bay, Wisconsin's, Lambeau Field.

STEWART: Quite a few milestones in the game. It was only the third conference championship game ever to go in 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: Giant's linebacker Antonio Pierce says desire was the difference.

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

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

Mr. BRETT FAVRE (Quarterback, NFL's 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.

MARTIN: The Giants' win shows once again that they are a beacon of hope to the downtrodden and a sign that whatever obstacles may befall us, we can all - wait a minute, did producer Dan Pashman write this? We cannot let a Giants fan write this stuff. Matt, you must intervene. Let me skip ahead - okay, tour de force, triumph for the human spirit. Nietzsche and ubermen. Okay, here we go.

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.

STEWART: Pashman has got the fever. He sent us an e-mail so we'd all know it.

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 backs Lawrence Maroney led the way for the Pats. And the Chargers' counterpart LaDainian Tomlinson barely played. Tomlinson entered the game with a bad knee and left after touching the ball just three times.

MARTIN: Here's Patriots QB Tom Brady on his team's quest for perfection.

Mr. TOM BRADY (Quarterback, NFL's 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 have a week off here, regroup a little bit and try to, you know, elevate our game for one last performance.

STEWART: There - this will be the Patriots' fourth trip to the Super Bowl in seven years. They've won a title each of the previous three times. Superbowl XLII takes place in 13 days in Glendale, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix.

That's the BPP's Big Story. Now here's Korva Coleman with even more news.

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