George Kittle better than Travis Kelce? Antonio Gates thinks so
Antonio Gates shares why he thinks 49ers tight end George Kittle is one of the best in the business.
The NFL on Sunday employed its most ambitious Super Bowl broadcast in recent memory.
How else can you describe SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star — characters from the eponymously named Nickelodeon program — learning about Iowa football’s punting prominence?
The NFL, of course, featured a kid-friendly broadcast of the big game on the Nickelodeon network apart from its main broadcast on CBS. As part of the broadcast, SpongeBob and Patrick, arguably two parts of the biggest intellectual property in network history, were featured in a small corner window providing live game commentary.
The abundance of punts in the first half of the Super Bowl allowed broadcaster Noah Eagle to make a tongue-in-cheek comment about the Hawkeyes. Eagle made his quip on the third straight punt of the game, the only outcome for either offense (apart from a fumble by 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey) to open the Super Bowl):
“Hey SpongeBob and Patrick, have you ever heard of a place called Iowa?” Eagle asked.
“Iowa?” SpongeBob responded. “It sounds exotic!”
“Well in Iowa,” Eagle responded, “they say, ‘Punting is winning.'”
Of course, Iowa football created headlines throughout the 2023 college football season for the team’s inability to muster a consistent offense. Subsequently, that allowed punter Tory Taylor to enjoy a historic punting season. He set an NCAA single-season record for most punt yards in a season, at 4,479 en route to becoming a Unanimous Consensus First Team All-American.
That said, Iowa’s offensive averaged a dismal 15.4 points per game in 2023. That ranks second-to-last out of 130 qualified FBS teamss, just barely ahead of Kent State’s 14.7 points per game. It also was roughly 10 points lower than the 25 points per game clause that was built into offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz’s contract. Iowa ultimately did not meet that threshold, and Ferentz will not return to Iowa in 2024.
Regardless, it was a funny moment that brought Iowa football, however briefly, into the national spotlight on Super Bowl Sunday.