Super Bowl Odds & Sods

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1.  Timing.

Granted, this is an Eastern Time Zone rant. I've enjoyed many Super Bowl parties in my younger days.  Super Bowl Sundays were an event not to be missed.  As an adult, though, I have to go to work the next day and that impacts my plans for watching the game.  As follows:

When watching at a friend's house, should I stay to the end of the game? Well, no, because then you add in travel time back to my house, and it's late.  I have to get up early in the morning!

If I should host a Super Bowl party, can I count on my guests leaving promptly at the end of the game?  I have to get up early in the morning!

How many adult beverages should I drink?  Well, even being responsible, I shouldn't have more than 1 or 2 beers because I have to leave at half time... so I can get to bed on time and get up early in the morning!

There are frequently commercials that air on the radio for a mortgage company's refinancing product, proclaiming "it's the biggest no-brainer in the history of Earth!" 

Isn't there some empowered genius who might suggest that Super Bowl Saturday would be the biggest no-brainer in the history of sports? 

Anheuser-Busch practically owns the Super Bowl.  They should insist on a change. 

2. Is it a game or an advertisement?

No party this year.  It was time for the final father/daughter Super Bowl before she heads off to college next year.  Only, one of her best friends was with us as well.  No problem.

My daughter and I like football.  Men in the South would understand this: I raised her right.  She knows the rules of the game and can at least tellSuper Bowl XLIV the difference between a blitz and a prevent defense.  Her friend, though, is a transplanted Canadian who might someday enjoy football... if it was played on ice with skates.  She tolerated the game instead of reveling in majesty of sport, but did so primarily to pass the time until the commercials aired. 

How twisted is that?  I guess it's not dissimilar to my buying the Thanksgiving newspaper just for the advertisements.  But in her case, it wasn't a self-inflicted irony.  Instead, it was necessitated by a teacher who expected the students to watch the ads for a classroom discussion.  For what purpose, I don't want to know.

But purpose makes a difference.  When you're watching the Super Bowl to enjoy the game, the ads are (potentially) entertaining filler.  However, when you make it a point to watch all of the ads, you realize just how many there are and how frequently they air.  This game was particularly efficient with few fouls or other clock stoppages, and still it seemed like there was a commercial break after every several plays.  A coworker said she had recorded the game as she knew she was going to miss the first half, and it took her 30 minutes to catch up to live 3rd quarter action.  Football has its share of standing around, but still, the game suffered for the number of ads.

3. Speaking of commercials. 

There was only one commercial that Super Bowled me over, but it wasn't one that brought outright laughter.  There were certainly chuckles here and there (thank you Betty White and Dave Letterman), but the only ad that provoked a greater appreciation was Audi's "Green Police."  If you missed it, here it is (just takes a minute!):

An article in USA Today (<---- worth reading) takes note that environmentalists are completely befuddled with an automaker who trumpets a more eco-friendly car while at the same belittling those who created and sustain the green movement. 

I think the parody succeeds mostly because I suspect many Greens would subscribe to a notion that those who aren't fully committed to their cause should, in fact, be punished for being bad global citizens.  And if I could afford to buy an Audi, I would.  Sorry, fellas.

4.  The Who. 

I used to be a big fan, and though I don't listen to them very often, I still like many of their songs.  I thought they did a respectable job, considering their age.  It's not fair to expect them to sound like they did in 1971, or even 1978, but part of the Rock and Roll mythos, as, indeed, with human nature, is to go forward with what you have at hand.  Townshend and Daltrey still know how to rock, and they seem to enjoy doing so.  I couldn't really ask for more.

That said, kudos to whoever decided to surround the band with staging that doubled as a cleverly orchestrated light show.  Not only was it fairly spectacular, it also avoided the awkwardness in previous years of watching a sea of paid or otherwise motivated young people jumping, dancing and fist pumping in front of the cameras as if they were truly in the moment.  It's not a great risk to allow great artists let their performance speak for itself.

5.  The game.

Congratulations Payton.  Condolences, Peyton.  I just wanted to watch a good game, and I got it.  It's great that New Orleans' residents can shed some frustration and find some measure of civic pride.  I just hope that Atlanta mustn't suffer as severely before we can reach the promised land.

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