INDIANAPOLIS – The climactic ending of Super Bowl XLVI where a game-ending heave from midfield to determine the winner remains fresh in the minds of people around the world. The New York Giants beat New England, 21-17, as a last-second pass to the end zone by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fell incomplete.
Numbers related to the game were available on Monday. A record of 166.8 total viewers saw Super Bowl XLVI. The total audience made it the most-watched show in U.S. television history, according to The Nielson Company. The game topped the previous mark of 162.9 million that saw Super Bowl XLV. It marked the fifth straight audience record set for the Super Bowl, and the NFL's crowning event accounts for the 21 most-watched programs in history in terms of total audience. A total audience of 153.4 million viewed the Colts against New Orleans in Super Bowl XLIV, while 151.6 million (XLIII) and 148.3 million (XLII) were the previous record levels of total viewers.
The television shots portrayed dramatic images of Indianapolis to the viewers. The shots had an impact, as did the efforts of many local individuals and entities.
The 35-member Host Committee reported 1.1 million revelers flocked to the Super Bowl Village over a 10-day operation span, including more than 10,000 people who used the opportunity to zip line over the proceedings. The host committee had 8,000 volunteers who invested 150,000 hours in the planning and implementation of Super Bowl XLVI. The committee wished to have 8,000 scarves handcrafted by volunteers as keepsake giveaways, and the final tally was 13,024, with scarves being made from 45 states, Washington D.C and four different countries (Canada, England, South Africa and Belgium). Additionally, 2,876 trees were planted on the Near Eastside, surpassing the goal of 2,012 trees.
"The numbers are telling, but the response has been truly overwhelming," said Dianna Boyce, director of communications of the Host Committee. "We have anecdotal evidence from media across the globe and notes from volunteers, each sharing their experiences during Super Bowl week. Since local eighth-graders first delivered our bid for Super Bowl XLVI, this has been a community-based event. I am proud to be on such an awesome team."
Frank Hancock, the owner and CEO of Sport Graphics a local company that printed all NFL- and city-related projects for the Super Bowl, oversaw more than 1,000 signage projects that ranged from the airport to downtown. The 32-story image of the Lombardi Trophy that adorned the downtown media headquarters was a dramatic example of the company's efforts, as were Roman numerals on Monument Circle. The record number of 265,039 visitors to the NFL Experience saw the signage efforts as did others attending downtown events, hotels or restaurants.
The NFL credentialed thousands of print and electronic reporters across the sports, news and entertainment fields. Many of the attendees were veteran writers who have attended multiple Super Bowls, and the reviews of a few of those indicated Indianapolis handled the event in outstanding fashion:
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT INDIANAPOLIS AND SUPER BOWL XLVI
"When can we come back for more Hoosier Hospitality? What separated Indianapolis from some other Super Bowl host sites was the feeling that the city truly wanted the game and considered it something sacred. It wasn't just another event on a busy social calendar like in South Florida. The event committee, hotel staff and accommodations were top-notch. The centralized layout of downtown not only made it easy for the media to report but also fans from the entire region to enjoy the Super Bowl events leading into the game itself. There is nothing else Indianapolis could have done to make the entire week an outstanding experience. Well done." – Alex Marvez (17th Super Bowl), FOXSports.com
"This was my 14th Super Bowl experience and easily one of the best. The JW Marriott was a well-equipped SB headquarters hotel with 1,000-plus rooms. Downtown was hopping all week. The close proximity of the relevant hotels and restaurants enabled that feel and allowed for short walks between destinations. Volunteers were plentiful and helpful. Indy deserved the fortunate weather that made this pretty much a perfect week." – Mike Sando, ESPN.com
"If this were baseball, you could say Indianapolis hit a home run. But maybe we should say the city completed a 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham. The organization, hospitality and convenience were first-rate, but I knew that would be the case. What was most surprising and striking was the enthusiasm in the streets that began the weekend before and never ceased. I have covered 30 Super Bowls and have never been to one that had the feel of a public festival this did. Plus, throw in the weather. I don't care how well you organize and operate an event, bad weather will color the opinion of visitors. And so will good weather. Somebody up there likes Indianapolis." – Mike Lopresti, Gannett
"Having lived in Indianapolis in the mid-'80s, and experienced the spirit of volunteerism and civic pride there from the Pan-Am games and a few other events, I was confident the city would do an excellent job with the Super Bowl. And, not surprisingly, Indianapolis didn't disappoint. There were few (if any) things about which to complain. For most of the media not interested in parties of expense-account dinners, the big element is always convenience, and Indy certainly provided that. I never thought I'd suggest there's a city that could rival New Orleans for ease and the facility it allows you to do your job, but Indianapolis rates right near the top. Having attended 33 Super Bowl games, the week was one to remember. I'll probably be retired by the next time Indy gets another game, but I may attend anyway, just for the experience and to see old friends again. Hoosier Hospitality was more than just a motto." – Len Pasquarelli, The Sports X-Change
"Eight days in Indianapolis convinced me that the city shouldn't get one more Super Bowl. It should get every Super Bowl. I mean it. I have never, ever, experienced a Super Bowl week that was easier or more convenient to navigate. You could walk to team hotels. The media center was in the hotel where we stayed. You could walk to the stadium. You could walk to restaurants downtown. Heck, you could even walk through security checkpoints at the airport without waiting. The media party at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was terrific. So was Butler basketball ...and the commissioner's party ... and the gracious people of Indianapolis. I think you get where I'm going: It was a perfect week, down to the weather and, of course, the game. It's difficult ... if not impossible ... to satisfy a critical media, but Indianapolis accomplished the improbable. All I know is that if I heard a complaint all week it was only from disappointed Patriots' fans after Super Bowl XLVI, wishing only that their team had another minute. Compare that to, say, the fallout from a year ago at this time, and I think you know how well Indianapolis scored on the final. The city not only deserves another Super Bowl; it should be put in a regular rotation so that the game is there every four or five years. It earned that right with a near-perfect performance." – Clark Judge (29th Super Bowl), CBSSportsline.com