Monday, February 4, 2008

Thoughts on Super Bowl Sunday

There will be tons of commentary today about last night’s game and the commercials, but what’s the point of having a blog if you’re not going to add your two cents? Here goes.

First, the game. I loved that it was a defensive battle full of big hits. I loved that it was low-scoring and close throughout. Going into it, I wasn’t rooting for either team over the other, I just wanted a good game. But as it went on I found myself pulling for the Giants. (What can I say? I’m an American; I love underdogs.)

The Giants defense looked fantastic, dishing out huge hits (even though some came at the end of 8- and 9-yard gains by the Pats). Looking back, I'm surprised the Patriots didn't switch to a run-focused gameplan. Maroney was getting good carries and the passing game was obviously struggling (save for Wes Welker). What a horrible time for Tom Brady to have the worst game of his season.

As a group, I thought this year’s commercials were above par (or is that below par?) as well. FedEx’s carrier pigeon spot was better than last year’s cavemen, partially because no one got killed. The Cars.com spots were kinda fun, showed the benefit and included some feature details without spoiling the party or simply piggybacking on the joke. The Coke spots were entertaining and totally on-brand (plus what’s better than James Carville hauling ass on a Segway?).

My favorite spots included those for Hyundai’s Genesis, especially the first, with the VO announcing the spot’s “big twist” upon the unveiling of the Hyundai logo. The absence of their main competitors makes these spots even better. I also loved the Audi R8 “Godfather” spot. Attention-grabbing intro, awesome pop culture reference, and beautiful shots of a car that actually looks cool enough to merit this ad. But my favorite was the Tide To Go spot. A very clever way to get across the idea that a stain on your shirt says more about you than anything that might come out of your mouth. Plus, unlike most of the spots on this big day, I could watch this ad ten times and still enjoy it.

Shame on you, Bud Light, for stealing the fire-breathing execution from DQ (for whom it actually made some sense) and adding nothing. And shame on you, GoDaddy.com, for continuing to be your misogynistic selves.

CareerBuilder’s “Follow Your Heart” spot seemed logically flawed. Doesn’t a lifelike human heart holding an “I quit” sign imply a heart attack? Do I really have to comment on the Sales Genie spots? Did anyone understand the Gatorade spot with the dog at the water bowl? And was "Suck One" a spot for Semi-Pro, Bud Light or just Will Farrell?

To wrap it up, here are my Super Bowl Sunday winners and losers:

Winners

The ’72 Dolphins, who will continue to ride their claim as the only undefeated team in NFL history (even though they had a surprisingly easy schedule that year). Not that the Giants need any more champagne, but I hope they’ve got some coming from Nick Buoniconti and the boys.

Michael Strahan. I don’t really care one way or the other about Strahan, but he’s played a long time and this is a sweet cap on a strong career. Hall of Fame looks a lot more likely now.

Archie Manning. Two sons named Super Bowl MVPs in back-to-back years. How proud must this guy be?

The NFL and its fans. A nail-biting championship game like this pays dividends for years.

Losers

Alicia Keys. I happened to turn on the TV just as she was launching into her performance of “No One” to open the festivities. I actually like this song, but I hate lip-synching, and this was an obvious case. Why, when you have an opportunity to turn millions of people onto your music, would you do this? Watch last year’s halftime performance by Prince to see how this is supposed to be done.

Danica Patrick, whose starring role in GoDaddy.com’s titillating (sorry) spot surely reinforced the opinion of anyone who thinks she’s not much of a driver but, at best, a pretty face and a feel-good story about equality in sports. Shirley Muldowney must be so proud.

Junior Seau. See my comments on Strahan above and multiply them by negative 1.

And finally… Really, Fox, you can’t keep jubilant fans from standing behind Jimmy Johnson and distracting viewers from his commentary by waving at the camera* non-stop? Seems disrespectful or something. Put up a barricade.


*Why do people feel the need to yell and wave at a live camera anyway? Does it prove their existence? “Yeah, I see you, Porkchop. Looks like you need to go on a diet.”

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