Here’s an interesting sub-plot for this year’s Super Bowl—the celebrity versus the non-celebrity.
It won’t be with the coaches because they are both non-celebrities. The NY Giant’s Coach Tom Coughlin doesn’t have the interest, personality, face or wit to be a darling of the media. He is 100% football all the time. You won’t see him on a lot of commercials (any? ever?) You won’t see him on a lot of late night talk shows or on the red carpet rubbing shoulders with movie stars.
The New England Patriot’s Bill Belichick also falls in the non-celebrity camp. He’s a lot closer to going over the celebrity line than Coughlin, but in spite of the fact that he has tons of famous friends and enjoys getting out a lot in the off-season, he still studiously avoids the limelight. No one doubts his priorities. He has never been accused of seeking the spotlight. His mind is clearly on keeping his head down, keeping the distractions to a minimum and getting his job done.
The celebrity vs non-celebrity battle will be fought at quarterback
Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells says, when looking for a franchise quarterback, look for a non-celebrity. His thinks that puts the odds of success in your favor. Some say he feels that way because he wants the entire spotlight for himself. Everyone has an opinion, but there is no mistaking that some are celebrities and some aren’t. It’s interesting to see how they compete when the pressure is the highest. Some can handle it, some can’t.
This year we have one of each
Eli Manning avoids the spotlight. It is an amazing tribute to his determination to maintain a low profile and avoid the spotlight that he is the quarterback in New York, the media capital of the world, he has performed at an elite level and even won a Super Bowl, yet he is almost invisible off the field. He has no trouble keeping his focus.
New England’s quarterback is another story. As the winner of 3 Super Bowls and the husband of the world’s greatest super model Gisele Bündchen, he is always in the celebrity spotlight. He also finds his way regularly into the magazines, celebrity golf tournaments, talk shows. No one questions his competitive drive or commitment but there is no questioning his celebrity status. There’s also no question he hasn’t been playing at his best lately—and Manning has.
Being a celebrity is not a kiss of death
Joe Namath was an incredibly huge celebrity when he made his prediction to win the Super Bowl and delivered, shocking the world in the process. Others have done well in various sports as well. You could put David Beckham up there as a big example, but closer examination reveals most had their biggest success BEFORE they reached the spotlight status. Michael Phelps was celebrated but not a “celebrity” before he won his 8 Gold medals at the China Olympics. Since then he has become a bonafide celebrity and has found putting in the same amount of focused training as lot harder. His results have been nowhere near as spectacular.
Brady won his 3 Super Bowls climbing the ladder to celebrity
He wasn’t the star he is today. When he won his early Super Bowls, he was barely known outside of football. Winning 3 times on the biggest stage in sports and television worldwide shot him into the celebrity zone and when he married Gisele Bündchen he solidified his celebrity status forever. If there was a Celebrity Hall of Fame he would already be in it! Yet, since reaching celebrity staus he hasn’t won nearly as much. They haven’t won nearly as much, they haven’t won in the playoffs as much and the one time they got back to the Super Bowl, they lost. It could be that Tom has been a celebrity for so long now he can handle it and still perform at his peak. We’ll see.
The fun of the Super Bowl is all the games within the game.
This is just one you can keep your eye on to add a little extra interest. There are a lot of factors that go into winning, maybe this will be one. Will Manning be more focused and driven than the one who already “has it all?”
Will Brady’s distractions and more “exciting” life divert him from playing at his peak? It did last week. By his own admission “he sucked” compared to how he usually played as opposed to Manning who has been red-hot and deadly accurate in all the recent games.