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Super Bowl: No malfunctions for CBS, just quality

Associated Press

Phew! CBS got through the halftime show without a “wardrobe malfunction.”

The Artist Formerly Known as a Munchkin of Wardrobe Dysfunction began by singing “Let’s Go Crazy,” but he didn’t.

Prince, who became a Jehovah’s Witness in the mid-1990s, no longer wears yellow, butt-baring pants as he did at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards (prompting Howard Stern’s send-up at the ’92 VMAs). The closest thing to a fashion statement Sunday night was an odd kerchief on his head. So the NFL had no repeat of the 2004 Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake show, which happened the last time CBS broadcast the game.

The 48-year-old Prince, who rose to stardom in the ’80s with his distinctive fusion of R&B, funk, soul and rock, kept it old-school, rockin’ the house with “Purple Rain” and other golden hits.

Before and after Prince took the midfield stage (shaped like his symbol when he was The Artist Formerly Known As Prince), Jim Nantz and Phil Simms gave a bravura performance in the booth. Now in their third season together, the duo have a nice rapport.

Making his Super Bowl play-by-play debut, Nantz kept viewers on top of the action. Simms managed to be self-effacing about at least one comment that was off the mark. He insisted the weather would not be a factor; but the rain got heavier than he anticipated, and after the third of four turnovers in the first quarter, he chuckled about what he said.

“The rain is absolutely having a little effect,” he acknowledged.

It had an effect on CBS, too.

CBS Sports spokeswoman Leslie Anne Wade explained that the production crew kept cutting away from cameras that had condensation from the soggy conditions and kept wiping down the lenses as fast as possible between shots. In the control truck, they could see which of the 48 cameras needed to be cleared up.

“They’re working pretty hard, and they’re getting pretty clear pictures for the most part, for what the weather’s like here,” she said.

“Not easy conditions for anyone. Even our crew,” Nantz noted on the air.

Maybe high-definition TV owners annoyingly got more than their money’s worth, being able to see every drop and just how sharp — or not — fog can look on their fancy flat screens.

But it certainly was refreshing to see the elements affect a Super Bowl.

As usual, much of the day’s viewing diet had more to do with quantity than quality.

But, how can the nation’s highest-rated TV program — and the run-up to it — NOT be bloated?

Ingesting 10-plus hours of Super Bowl coverage forces you to act like an anaconda: Just unhinge your jaws, swallow your prey and try not to be too conscious of your distended, distorted body. That’s what everyone does every Super Bowl Sunday.

Meanwhile, Tim Russert’s “Meet the Press” was busy with presidential candidate John Edwards. Who cares about that, right?

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