Monday, February 13, 2023

The Super Bowl LVII Viewing Experience

I still enjoy watching the Super Bowl and I don’t apologize for that. I’ve been a football fan since I was a young boy and still remember watching my first Super Bowl, number III. I was rooting for the Colts, not because I had anything against Joe Namath and the upstart AFL, but because I liked their bright blue uniforms better than the Jets’ white and green ones. I mean, I was seven, that’s all I had to go on.

Obviously, it wasn’t the big deal then that it is today, which is practically a national holiday. So much money changes hand over this one football game, it boggles the mind. (Now more than ever, with the ubiquitous sports book apps running full steam ahead.)

So I sat down last night, stiff drink in hand, to take in the experience so I could tell you what I thought about it. And please note, this will be about the general watching experience, not a breakdown of the game. I figure anyone who would care already knows all about it.

I didn’t really have a dog in this fight. My Steelers were not involved, nor were any of our “arch-enemies” or inter-division foes. I enjoy watching Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs so I was rooting for them. But I picked the Eagles to win. I had them in mind to pick right after the conference championships, then changed my mind Sunday morning when our local paper’s sports columnists were split 3-3 on picking the winner. The Pro-Chiefs trio, which includes the guy with the best picking record among them, made some convincing arguments. These are the guys I mentally compete against. I don’t have any money on the game, I just make picks for shits and giggles and try to outdo our local “experts.”

But then later, every single pre-game show host on Fox Sports picked the Eagles. So I figured I’d go back to my original pick and went with Philly. I made my “pick” official by telling Sweetpea. She then invoked the “no take-backs” clause, so I was locked in.

So then, onto the game… eventually. Man, do they ever drag this stuff out. I am so done with all the flag hype and national self-reverence. The NFL spares no opportunity to entwine itself with patriotism and the military. Geez, it’s just a football game. A big one, but still a game. Get on with it.

Babyface did a nice job with America the Beautiful. I think THAT should be the national anthem. But only Ray Charles version. Chris Stapleton did the longest and slowest version of the Star Spangled Banner I’ve ever heard. He wasn’t missing out on his time in the spotlight, was he? I presume the sports books were taking bets on the length. I should have bet the “over.”

And then just when you think it’s time to play a little ball, they start with another clip package, about the Pat Tillman scholarships. Just more ways to wrap the NFL in the flag. I think Tillman would have been appalled at being used this way. When he was alive he wanted nothing to do with hyping his military service. Maybe they should play some clips of how he got killed by friendly fire and the Army bent over backward to cover it up.

Eventually, they began the game and next thing you know, it was time for the much-ballyhooed Super Bowl commercials. I had some thoughts, courtesy of my iPhone Notes app.

·         Dunkin’ Donuts, showing Ben Affleck working at a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru (for some reason) . Ben looked about engaged in this commercial as he did at the Grammys. I got a laugh when JLo rolled up, wondered why he was there (much like me), and then said, “Bring me a GLAZED.”

·         Avocado ad where Anna Faris wonders what it would be like if Eve ate an avocado instead, sparing the world from original sin, and clothing. Interesting idea, but it didn’t seem like it went anywhere though.

·         Ooh yeah! New Indiana Jones movie coming out. I bet Harrison Ford’s stunt double gets a real workout.

·         Serena Williams for Remy Martin. This one bugged me because I spent the entirety of the commercial wanting to know what the product was. At the very end, it’s Remy Martin. I’m like “what does all this hoo-ha have to do with cognac? There were a lot more spots like these to come… It’s like, “Here’s an A-list celebrity talking and doing stuff. Boy, we really spent a lot of dough on this ad buy. Oh by the way, here’s the product. And out…”

·         Bradley Cooper and his moms with outtakes from a T-Mobile commercial. They should have done the straight commercial first and then later, ran the outtakes commercial. Would have made more sense.

·         I thought the spot with the giant talking Stallone boulder was funny, but again, I was straining to find the point. I guess it was for the Paramount streaming service or something.

·         In the first of some recurring ads, Michelob Ultra decided to remake Caddyshack, with stunt casting. Great idea on paper, I guess. Anytime you can reference Caddyshack during a sports broadcast, it’s guaranteed to carry universal recognition among guys. (I loved the movie, and I don’t even golf.) There’s Serena again. And Tony Romo as the Bill Murray character fit right in.

·         The Adam Driver commercial for “Websites making Websites.” The thought behind this seemed to be, “Let’s get a celebrity and surround him with eye-popping special effects that’ll make all the drunks’ heads explode.”

·         Will Ferris for electric vehicles… more A-Listers slumming for dough.

·         Diddy for Uber. Same thing. All heat, no message.*

*I came to understand later that several hip-hop all-stars were also in that spot, which included songs for which they were famous. Obviously, I am not the target audience for this ad. No wonder I had no idea what was going on. It totally had nothing to do with my vodka and tonics.

·         Amy Schumer (briefly) in the Google phone pic ad highlighting the ease of editing things out of pictures that don’t belong there, like exes. I liked the idea but then it kind of drifted.

·         Animals doing the Electric Slide in a Jeep commercial. “Hey, look what we can do with SFX! Now buy a Jeep.

·         The (Jon) Hamm and Brie (Larsen) ad for mayo was cute. But then they add Pete Davidson, for no apparent reason other than to pad their lineup with another star.

We interrupt this blog for a note on the game. My note was “Mahomes hurt before the half. That’s (the end of the) game (for the Chiefs).” I believed that if Mahomes stayed out, the Chiefs would never be able to hang with the Eagles.  They were barely staying in it WITH Mahomes, even after benefiting from an interception return for a touchdown.

·         Dorito triangles. This was my favorite one of the night. Finally, something funny and on point. I hope they keep running this one.

·       The Blue Moon ad, is awfully daring to feature Coors Light and Miller Lite and only bring in your own product in the last two seconds. Again, I was sitting there wondering why there would be a commercial for both Coors and Miller together. I’m not sure they thought this one through.

Halftime! Excuse me, I meant the “Jeep Halftime,” which included the “Apple Halftime Show.” Now they’re just double-dipping. How many sponsors can you have for the same time period?


·         The halftime show: Again, I am certainly not the target audience for Rihanna. I’ve never heard a single song she did during the show.

·         I did like her staging… thought it was a good idea to use some of the vertical space in such a cavernous stadium. No one ever thinks to work “upward.” I didn’t like that she was lip-syncing. I say if you’re a serious musical act, get out there and sing your songs.

·         The dancers were surely working hard. I appreciate how much work it must’ve taken to get that choreography together. There must have been a hundred dancers, at least.

·         The diamonds in the sky effect with the lights… we did that at Super Bowl 40 when they provided little squeezy flashlights. Today they probably just use their cell phones

·         In recent years, they seem to have given halftime over to pop and hip hop. I yearn for the day when they bring back some rock-n-roll. I lucked out in the Super Bowl I attended, the Rolling Stones were the halftime show. Just breathing the same air as Keith Richards will add 3 years to your life.

But in particular, AC/DC needs to play the Super Bowl halftime show. Sure, they’re past their prime now, but so is their main audience. Angus Young still rocks harder in his 60s than anyone else out there.

On to a few 2nd half ads

·         Breaking Bad chip ad was good and at least made sense. I’m really going to have to binge-watch Breaking Bad sometime. I’d probably like it.

·         I liked the Kia ad with the Dad looking for his kid’s binky. (Not that one, the other one.) Total slice of life for a family man. Although if I were making this ad, it would have been for vodka.

·         I also liked the Crown Royal/thank you Canada/Dave Grohl ad, although it took a while to reveal the product. Yes, thank you, Canada, for providing a nice counterpoint to all the hyper-Americanism. And hockey.

·         The Roast of Mr. Peanut was a great idea, and almost made me want to scan the QR code and watch the extended clip. Almost.

·         I loved the Workplace/Rockstar ads, which were clever and very well done. As a disclaimer, I should probably admit that as Joan Jett’s biggest fan, I would think anything she’s in is awesome, by default. But Ozzy was pretty good in it too. Now that’s one for which they should show the outtakes.

·         I had a problem with the Dodge Ram EV commercial because it seemed counterproductive. They reel off all the perceived faults of electric cars and then basically tell you to go look up the real facts at the end of the commercial. As if anyone is going to remember to do that. They’ve just been sent away with subconscious reminders of every Koch Brother-supported anti-EV meme. Not helpful.

·         The Busch/Sarah McLachlan animal commercial parody was inspired. “Sarah, that’s a wolf!”

·         Who knew Jesus was going to start buying ad time? There was a Jesus commercial in the first half, showing lots of cuteness and hugging children, while the 2nd half spot consisted of still shots of people screaming at each other. The tagline was, “Jesus loves the people we hate.” What I want to know is… Who the hell is the “we?” And who is it that “we” are supposed to hate? I thought this was the ugliest commercial of the night. And most other nights.

·         I would watch a reality show starring Snoop and Martha Stewart. I can’t believe that hasn’t happened yet.

And that was the last of the relevant commercials. There was some game left though. This turned out to be a real barn burner. Philly had just tied the game at 35, but the Chiefs were driving with about two minutes left when the controversial moment of the game arrived. Philly was called for defensive holding, which gave the Chiefs a first down inside the 20. They were already in field goal range, but now they could burn most of the time left and kick the field goal with under 10 seconds, which they did.

The announcers seemed to have the opinion that they shouldn’t call such a penalty at a critical point of the game. Granted, the violation was hardly flagrant, but it was still a clear call. I say you can’t just turn off the rules when it’s crunch time. That just ensures everyone will try to take liberties when the game is on the line. If you would make the call on the first play of the game, you should make it on the last as well. I have no sympathy for the ref whiners. Even the guy that the penalty was called on said, “Yeah, I held him. I just hoped they’d let it slide.

I’m sorry, if it’s a penalty then call it a penalty, regardless of the situation because the rules of the rules should not be situational.

So, the Chiefs won 38-35 in an entertaining game. I hope my guys get a turn next year, but we’ll see. And now, hockey gets my undivided attention.


Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

well, I am going to go over your list. :-)
1. For years Ben has been captured carrying a dunkin'donut coffee. Everyone tells him to buy starbucks but he said, I prefer dunkin' so it was smart of them to get him for an ad and there will be more I've read. The Boston accent was annoying but he's from Boston and I find Ben annoying so there is that.
2. I agree on this one.
3. Harrison is everyone's Cranky Grandpa.
4. I didn't get this until the end either so glad I'm not alone.
5. I loved the outtakes. When his mom said, "but you never win" I lost it. She appeared so short so I googled it. She's as tall as me. I said to my husband - gee we must look like that together. That made him laugh so hard he coughed. Geez.
6. Stallone is on paramount+ in a new show and I assume that was why the stallone talking rock - odd though but who knows!
7.I don't much care for these. I've seen Tony Roma in a few ads, don't get his appeal but then I'm not familiar with his football days so that may help.
8. eh is anything Adam Driver does for me.
9. I didn't get this but again I'm not the right audience.
I also didn't know any of the other rappers so I think I'm just too old.
10. Another - eh.
11. I don't recall this one - oh dear how did I miss this? Animals doing the electric slide huh?
12. I thought this premise had potential but didn't go anywhere really.
13. Triangles - eh.
14. Blue Moon - I guess blue moon fights Coors and Mich lite? Didn't understand it and didn't get the two beers until the end.

Halftime - sperm chasing a pregnant woman is what I saw. I don't know what I heard but nothing familiar to me since I am not her demographic.
Rock sadly is dead but seeing AC/DC would make me a happy happy woman. Give me a Shook Me All Night Long and I'll be up dancin' in no time.
If you've never watched Breaking Bad you probably should. I stopped after season 1 because it wasn't for me but my husband LOVED it. I love Cranston.
And lastly Dave Grohl can do no wrong and I too enjoyed his Crown Royal ad but hate his lasagna one of last year.
BTW Martha and Snoop had a cooking show together a few years ago. I love Snoop, I have a hard time dealing with Martha but that says more about me than Martha I suppose.
Oh and I learned the Chiefs won. I hate all Philly fans, they are horrendous so even if I don't watch that sport I would never root for Philly.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

btw, just saw on your profile you like Jeff Healey. I know of no one besides myself and my husband who know who he is. We loved this kid. Very sad he is gone but I have some great music of his!!!

bluzdude said...

I didn't know anything about Ben Affleck's backstory w/ DD, so thanks for that.

Yeah, there were a number of commercials I didn't "get," only to find out later that they starred rappers I didn't know or stars of streaming shows I've never seen. I guess I'm rapidly moving out of touch.

My favorite Dave Grohl moment was on the reconstituted (and short-lived) Muppets prime-time show a few years back when he had a drum battle with "Animal." Both of their drum kits were in shambles by the end.

I was working in a Cleveland record store when the first Jeff Healey record came out and I was all over it. The dude was just incredible. Have seen him a couple times in concert, once at Peabody's Down Under in The Flats in Cleveland, and once opening for Bon Jovi in Albany. I figure, for most people who know of him, it's from his appearance in "Roadhouse."

Bohemian said...

Liked the Commercials assessment. Ben and JLo are always Thirsty for any recognition, but the Ad was cute and he does use the product a lot so might as well get Paid for Brand Loyalty... not like his Star is Rising, hers either. I can't find the Snoop Dogg Commercial Online that I found to be hilarious, since he cursed in it twice they probably pulled it? I Wish I could recall his whole line, he's in the fridge and asking Martha where is the f*ing something and the Brie Shit... or something along that line, hilarious.

bluzdude said...

I don't remember a bit with the refrigerator... just the one with the shoes where he has them on the Oval Office desk and Martha tells him to put his feet down. Then there was one later about Martha, with a clip of her getting Snoop's face tattooed on her arm. I could have missed it though. I often had to look away to make a note on my phone, for future use.

Bobi said...

Enjoyed your assessment. None of the commercials spoke to me. I like clever, humorous commercials that make their point quickly; not a fan of long open-ended stories. Plus, as you pointed out, too many didn't reveal the actual sponsor until the end. Do advertisers really want to spend all that money and only see their name on the screen for 2 seconds? Doesn't make sense to me, but I'm not the demographic they want either---their loss, not mine. (If only they knew, ha!)
I agree about the halftime show, but am I the only one who thought the dancers looked like Oompa Loompas from Willie Wonka?

bluzdude said...

It's like these commercial directors are using the Super Bowl to try to break into feature filmmaking. Unfortunately, they overlook the major rules of a successful commercial. It needs to be memorable, not the piece itself, but the product within the piece. It doesn't help if people are talking about some amazing effects or a hilarious gag, if no one retains what the product is.

KE Rd said...

First off, Jeff Healey was criminally underknown in his time. Caught him once, in Louisville, in the late '90's. So glad my wife and I took advantage of that opportunity. The truly great players never seem to stick around long. Still grieving SRV.
As far as the Coors/Miller Lite/Blue Moon ad, several years ago, Molson bought Coors, then both of them were acquired by Miller. Molson maintained their Canadian identity, but eventually the other two combined corporately to form MillerCoors Inc.(pretty clever, no?). Before all of those acquisitions, Coors had purchased a microbrewery in Fort Collins, CO called.....Blue Moon. So now those companies, along with Molson, are all owned by Miller/Coors. I live ~8 miles from Golden, where the Coors brewery continues to pump out that dreck.

bluzdude said...

With you 100% on SRV. Just think of all the incredible songs that were never recorded. Blues guys never retire, they just play until the drop.

Very tricky with the Miller/Coors/Blue Moon story. I knew about the Miller/Coors part (although it slipped my mind while writing this post. But I didn't know about Blue Moon. It's still pretty risky to make fun of your own brands. Maybe it's because they'd get sued if they used Bud or something.

But it just goes to show how few corporations own so much of the retail landscape.

RO said...

OMG! I'm laughing so hard over this post! You really should do a podcast, or be an announcer to analyze the analyzers(lol) I'm all into football as you now, and a serious Chiefs and Cowboys fan, so I was all in for this game. Despite loving the Chiefs, I have to be honest and admit that they were were super iffy throughout the season, and I wondered if they'd make it into the Superbowl at all. Mahomes is a popular guy, but his brother and new wife are NOT. The literally are criticized for trying to steal the spotlight, dressing improperly, saying the thing, or more recently,(Jackson) kissing and harassing perfect strangers. The Eagles fought like hell to be there and deserved to be in it, but of course, I didn't want them to win.(lol)

I'm a fan of Rhianna, because I'm into music, but like you, I yearn for the days when we have true superstars during halftime. I loved Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Prince. I would totally love it if Barbara Streisand sang because her music is so lovely and powerful. Or what about having a concert with a children's or teen's choir to show off their skills. I would love something just a little more creative or different.

bluzdude said...

They still seem to pull in "superstars" for halftime, but they're always superstars of rap, hip-hop, and pop. I'm just thirsty for some prime-time rock n roll. Get AC/DC out there, or Joan Jett, The Scorpions, George Thorogood, or anyone who plays with a hook and some crunch.