This is a busy, busy week for the city of New York: Fashion Week, the primary election, and now there’s going to be a parade tomorrow for some warriors who—if you believe everything you read in the papers—have slain the dragon, destroyed the Death Star and defeated Goliath in one fell swoop. Yes, the underdog Giants won the Super Bowl, snatching “perfection” from the New England Patriots to the delight of the metropolitan area and the despair of the city further north. It looks like Mayor Bloomberg’s going to be enjoying a lot of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee courtesy of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
Both papers led with the Super Bowl victory. (Really, who wouldn’t?) But the Daily News created a 40-page special section on the win for the Sports Final edition with the simple banner headline “CHAMPS!” and a photo of Eli Manning clutching the Vince Lombardi trophy. The Post had a similar photo, with the “SUPER MEN: Giants kick Pats in *” headline. We were really, really hoping for what we call a “bingo!” which occurs when the two papers inadvertently print the same front-page headline. The Super Bowl is the type of event conducive to bingo. Sadly, it was not to be.
Both papers have great coverage of people celebrating in the streets, players expressing pure unadulterated joy at the hands of victory and pictures of coach Tom Coughlin getting doused with ice water. This is where the Post has a definite advantage over the News—their four-color printing on the inside pages of the paper makes the ice-bath look that much more freezing and hilarious.
The Post uses its front-of-paper coverage to razz the Patriots, while the News saves it for the back of the special section. The Post is now claiming a “Gisele jinx,” since any quarterback with a girlfriend who shows up at the game is destined to lose.
The potential jinx for the Jints was supposed to be Eli’s brother: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. Peyton is absent from much of the coverage (Jim Rich has a piece on page 8 of the News special section about the two “Super brothers, the Post has a pic of the two on page 7), which may be because the “little brother” angle was done to death in the weeks leading up to the game. It would have been a nice conceit, the little brother coming into his own. (Any youngest sibling would appreciate the sentiment.)
Meanwhile, there are other events in the world. The “actual” front page of the News deals with Fashion Week and “The Calm Before the Storm” of the New York Primary. The News endorsed Hillary Clinton yesterday, and today they throw their support behind John McCain for the Republicans. (The Post endorsed him Friday.) Since it’s the day before a primary, the Post needed an especially awful picture of Hillary Clinton in its pages. They deliver with one on page 9, in which the headline, about Clinton’s plummeting poll numbers in California, says, “Obama has Hillary Fit to Be Tied.” The accompanying photo looks like what we imagine Britney Spears’ current expression might be. (And yes, buried in both papers is the news that Britney will be “resting” in the psych ward of UCLA Medical Center for two more weeks. Mentions of “padded rooms” and “loony bins” show the typical sensitivity tabloids have toward those with mental illness.)
One problem with all these big stories happening at once is that other stories get buried. Daily News staff writers Joe Mahoney and Thomas Zambito have an in-depth feature on the state’s parole board and the increasing number of convicted killers who are getting out. The News pored over transcripts of parole hearings and they “[suggest] a parole system that seems like a crapshoot, where freedom depends on the whim of parole commissioners with heavy caseloads.” It’s worth a read.
Oops! It’s tough when you’re working on a big story with a looming deadline. Sometimes smaller details may get overlooked. In the Late City Final edition of the Post, a page-4 roundup of Super Bowl commercials gives 2 1/2 stars to a Cars.com ad. Unfortunately, the photo and headline for the caption is for a Coca-Cola commercial. (And the Coke commercial features an Underdog balloon! We’ve come full circle.)