Last night’s Super Bowl started off with a bang. Devin Hester’s opening kickoff Touchdown was the first return of the opening kick for a score in the Super Bowl’s 41 game history. Unfortunately, that was the high point of the game. Fumbles, mishandled snaps, and other miscues were the rule of the day. And that was just the commercials. The game wasn’t any better.
The much ballyhooed Super Bowl commercials, the reason almost half the viewers tune in according to surveys, ranged from the ridiculous (Snickers) to the, well more ridiculous (Sierra Mist). Or vice versa. There were a couple of decent ads, the sad thing is, the fan ad for Doritos was as good as about any of the expensive, over produced commercials that ad agencies had months to come up with. The only commercials that stood out at all to these eyes were the ad for Blockbuster with the mouse, the Sprint broadband ad spoofing the ubiquitous erectile dysfunction spots and one of the Bud lite commercials. The one with the guy teaching English to a diverse group of immigrants and going over the different regional dialects in our country. The other two Bud lite ads, the one with the auctioneer and the face slapping were quite annoying.
As for the halftime show, Prince appeared to be having a bad hair day. That do-rag he was wearing looked like something Lucy Ricardo would wear while working in the chocolate factory. There were no “wardrobe malfunctions” other than that. One might have livened up the game a bit. His set was okay, opening with “Let’s go crazy” as I thought he would. He only played a bit of 1999, but disappointed by playing tepid versions of “Proud Mary” and “All along the Watchtower”. The set was concluded with “Purple Rain”, appropriate on this night, with rain falling most of the game. As mediocre as it was, one got the distinct impression that Prince was held under wraps by the NFL or CBS, it was the best part of the entertainment. Billy Joel did a nice job with the National Anthem, also.
The game itself suffered from the wet conditions, something that couldn’t be helped since the site is chosen years in advance. The Bears came out hot, returning the opening kick to get on the board seconds into the game. After a Peyton Manning Interception, the Chicago defense was strutting and preening as if they had the game won. They didn’t, just as New England discovered a couple of weeks ago, blowing a 21-6 lead at intermission. No defense can ever relax having to contend with that offense. I hated to see Chris Harris, in particular, (#46 of the Bears) make a play, considering he broke a promise to a Chicago fan to provide the fan with a ticket. Harris acted incredulous that anyone would actually expect someone to be a man of their word. One more reason I rooted for the Colts.
The call of the game by play by play man Jim Nantz was solid as always, although I could fault Nantz for allowing so-called color man Phil Simms to ramble on and on as if he were paid by the word. I would love for someone to do a study of how much Simms talks compared to other color announcers. Other than John Madden, who is now reeled in by partner Al Michaels, no one else comes close, I guarantee it. I can’t say the game went exactly as I thought it would, but I did expect an Indianapolis victory, and didn’t expect it to be close. Without the Hester return, it would have been more of a blowout. With Rex Grossman at Quarterback, Chicago’s chances were spotty at best. How many former Florida Quarterbacks have had any success in the NFL? None really, although Steve Spurrier and Shane Matthews hung around a long time.
Conspicuous by their absence were the commercials for Cialis, Levitra and Viagara which had been a staple of Super Bowls the past few years. One can’t help but suspect the hand of the NFL in that decision. All those tales of 5 hour erections tend to get complaints from parents of adolescents. With a 10 year old boy in our household, that was a bit of relief. If a movie was made of the commercials that were shown, it would have to be Dumb and Dumber. Even the Federline spot for Nationwide fell flat, with K-Fed’s apology to fast food workers before the ad even aired. Worse, we had to listen to him “rap”, like the 6,500 brave souls who bought his CD.
To sum it all up, the game may have been dull. Okay, it was dull. Especially, the second half, when you got the feeling that the Colts would just run out the clock on the hibernating Bears. The commercials that were hyped more than the game were, with only a few exceptions, only slightly less obnoxious than campaign commercials in an election year. The halftime show was watered down to the point that I don’t see how anyone could complain about anything inappropriate. The Colts marched to a methodical 29-17 win that I’m sure will be panned by “perfect world” crew on shows like Around the Horn. They shouldn’t spare the almighty Super Bowl commercials everyone talks so much about. The game, as sloppy as it was, was still the best thing about it and the reason to watch the game.