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The front-page Super Bowl coverage sweepstakes go like this:

The Sun-Sentinel is the big loser with a huge dud of a story leading its newspaper and website. The story starts with this thud: "The Super Bowl has become a major American ritual," and doesn't get any better. Third sentence: "An event so big it's created hundreds of ancillary events because its own popularity has become a source of popularity."

First off, what the fuck does that mean?, and secondly, if you're a reporter and reading this, take heed: Never use the word "ancillary" unless you absolutely have to.

Lede quote: "The Super Bowl doesn't cut anyone out. A Buddhist, a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian and atheist ... they can all watch."

Yeah, just like every other television show and sporting event in America. First clue the quote would be meaningless: It comes from a guy at Duke (it would be useless for me to explain that to the uninitiated -- like the teachings of Buddha, you have to arrive at the meaning on your own).

Next line: "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice never misses the

game."

We could keep going, but you surely get the picture. This is an insanely, incredibly, ineptly bad story. And I don't blame the reporter so much as the concept. The Super Bowl is here and this thing could have been written in Dubuque. They chose to write about the big blog of an event without an angle, which brings us to our second-place finisher, the Palm Beach Post.

The Post led its coverage with Rochelle E.B. Gilken's feature on a local kid who might make his mark on history today: the outrageously fast and entertaining Bears return man Devin Hester. It's a stirring story with a strong local angle and a spine-tingling ending. Overall good show.

But we have to give the prize to the Miami Herald this time, for it's pair of front-page columns from Dave Barry and Dan Le Batard. Barry's column is hilarious. God help me, I can't get tired of him when he's at his best.

Barry on the endless TV coverage: " ... the total Super Bowl broadcast package runs longer than the administration of the late Gerald Ford, having begun two weeks ago with the pre -pre -pre -pre-pre-pre-pre-pregame show (Peyton Manning: The Early Bowel Movements)."

On Prince: "... he brought his band and his hot women dancers, and they did some songs for the media, expressing the theme: 'I may be tiny and sexually ambiguous, but you will notice that these hot women dancers are writhing against ME, as opposed to YOU, loser media person.'"

(I'm sure some of you are harkening back to a few days ago when I wrote that Barry shouldn't the cover the Super Bowl. In that, you may see a contradiction. But covering something and writing about it are two different things. Barry on deadline is a mere hit-or-miss human; give him some time to play and formulate and he can be a wizard.)

Then there's La Batard. His column is far from stellar. In fact, it's disunified, sloppy, sycophantic, and comes to an easy and meaningless conclusion.

And, let's face it, that is so Super Bowl.

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