EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A look at the Super Bowl on Sunday night between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium.
TAILS NEVER FAILS: Broadway Joe was looking the part: Joe Namath, New York football royalty as MVP of the third Super Bowl for the Jets, wore a gaudy fur coat for the coin toss. After a false start on the first attempt, the Seahawks called tails, and they were right. Seattle deferred to the second half.
OPERATIC ANTHEM: Soprano Renee Fleming hit some high notes on “land of the free” likely never heard before at a Super Bowl when she sang the national anthem. Regal in a long white cape over a black dress, Fleming finished in 2 minutes, 3 seconds, easily the under the 2:25 for the proposition bet.
GRAND ENTRANCES: Seattle ran onto the field first, led by a soaring hawk and with linebacker Heath Farwell carrying the 12th Man flag. Denver followed a galloping horse.
COLLEGE PRIDE: In honor of New York and New Jersey jointly hosting the Super Bowl, the marching bands from the states’ only colleges in the power football conferences – Syracuse (N.Y.) and Rutgers (N.J.) – performed together before the game. Among the songs: “Born to Run” by New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen.
Broncos fans might have thought Syracuse’s band was supporting Denver with its orange and blue colors.
SEATS FULL: Fans clearly heeded advice to leave plenty of time for their commute. Security was slow at train stations, but by 5:15 p.m., 80,000 folks had already made it in. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said it was the earliest arriving Super Bowl crowd in at least 30 years.
FAMOUS FANS: Beyonce, last year’s halftime performer, arrived with husband Jay Z wearing a hat with mouse ears about an hour before kickoff.
Beyonce performed for a smaller crowd Saturday night as Jay Z brought his wife out for a surprise cameo during his concert for DirecTV’s “Super Saturday Night” party on the eve of the Super Bowl.
Bruno Mars is this year’s halftime act.
ROMNEY WANTS COLORADO WIN: Mitt Romney isn’t one to hold a grudge, at least when it comes to football: The former Massachusetts governor says he’ll be rooting for Denver, even though the Broncos whipped his Patriots in the AFC title game.
“I’ve got to be pulling for the Broncos, but only barely,” he said, noting the Patriots’ defeat. He added: “You know Peyton Manning is quite a story. We want to see how he performs against the best defense of the league.”
Romney had previously attended a Patriots Super Bowl.
“It’s great to be here, to see people from all over the country and actually some from other nations, come in here and celebrate a great sport,” he said.
SCARY SITUATIONS: Emergency medical workers pushed their way through the crowd to treat several people who collapsed at a packed New Jersey train station on the way to the game.
Long lines came to a standstill in front of airport-style security machines at Secaucus Junction. People were squeezed together in an enclosed stairwell.
As more trains arrived, police tried to thin the sweating, jostling crowd by spreading people across the platform.
POPULAR PICKS: Denis Leary is rooting for Russell Wilson to win it all because he thinks there needs to be a little parity when it comes to who owns the Lombardi trophy.
“The Manning family had three trophies,” the comedian and actor said, referring to Eli Manning’s two and brother Peyton’s one. If the Broncos defeat the Seahawks, Peyton Manning would get his second.
“I love Russell Wilson and they’re the underdogs so I’m rooting for them,” said Leary on the red carpet at MetLife Stadium before the game began.
Harry Connick Jr. was also a fan of Wilson but wasn’t ready to jump on the Seahawks bandwagon just yet.
“I’m happy to see a great game, but I can’t bring myself to root for a specific team,” the “American Idol” judge said.
WELCOME TO NEW JERSEY: After nearly four years of speculation about a Super Bowl played in the freezing cold and swirling snow, the big day has come and it looks a lot like ... spring.
As fans started to file into the stadium three hours before the game, many didn’t even wear jackets: A sweatshirt under a jersey was plenty. The temperature was in the low 50s under cloudy skies with a few raindrops, though snow in the forecast could make it tough for out-of-towners to make it home Monday.
Players in shorts warmed up on the field, and TV commentators stood around in their sport coats.
The record low for a Super Bowl appears safe – 34 degrees in 1972 in New Orleans, a mere 1,000 miles south of East Rutherford.
AP Music Writer Mesfin Fekadu, AP Entertainment Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody and Associated Press Writer David Porter and contributed to this report.