I suppose it would be hard to complain about a game which wasn’t decided until the very last play where a deflected pass fell inches away from diving hands that had they reeled in the ball would have changed the outcome…but I will. The NFL, in its never-ending quest for parity, has come a long way since the blowout Super Bowl wins by the 49ers and Broncos in the 90’s. Over the last 9 Super Bowls, the most lopsided win was when the Saints beat the Colts in XLIV by 14 points, and that game was much closer than the final score indicated. So from the perspective of The Movie Mind being a die-hard football fan, I am happy with the end result and getting to watch a very entertaining game. What I do have a hard time believing though, is that these were the two best teams in the NFL this year. Not to take anything away from the Giants or Pats, because anytime a team weeds their way through a long NFL season and grueling postseason to get to this point, they deserve credit; but let’s be realistic, this was a poorly-played game all-around…with exception of a single player: Eli Manning. Manning was the lone bright-spot on the field for most of the game. He put in about as good of a Super Bowl performance as I’ve ever seen. He was under constant pressure, threw into excruciatingly tight windows of coverage, and had pinpoint precision on almost every pass. Off the top of my head I can count a dozen passes that would have been tipped or picked off had they been 3 inches in the wrong direction. The Pats on the other hand looked uncharacteristically out of sorts and at times even unprepared. The biggest issue I saw though was that they were brutally inconsistent. Brady looked like Tyler Palko suited up in his place for a couple of quarters and then at the end of the half appeared to be the Brady of old. Unfortunately for Beantown fans everywhere though, on this past Sunday, he was no Eli.
Clearly the Pats were a different offense without Gronkowski. They had zero deep threats and the only time they had success was when they dinked and dunked their way down the field. The bottom line is that the G-Men were able to put together big plays thanks to Eli’s arm. They also caught a few lucky breaks thanks to surefire lost fumbles bouncing into their own players’ arms and a dumb Patriots penalty saving them from another crucial give-away. While everyone is talking about the “Welker drop” late in the 4th quarter that handed the ball back to the G-Men (and Giselle’s subsequent gaff reacting to it), they forget that this was not the only Brady pass that sailed off the mark. Welker definitely should have caught that ball as he readily admits, but Brady threw too many passes over the wrong shoulder, behind receivers, high, and scattered all game long. Let’s cut Welker some slack because he was far from the reason the Pats lost.
You can’t go wrong with Al Michaels, but Chris Collinsworth simply rubs me the wrong way. He’s a smug unhappy little man and I don’t like him. He jumped at the chance to criticize Manningham not long before he hauled in a ridiculous catch to move the Giants closer to the game-winning score on the exact same route. When Eli made one of his few lousy passes of the game on a deep fade to Mannginham on the right sideline earlier in the game, Collinsworth pulled out a pre-fabricated graphic displaying the sideline “cushion” and how Mannginham drifted too far on the route thereby negating that cushion. The only problem was, he didn’t drift. Eli led him closer to the sideline and ultimately out of bounds. Yet Collinsworth launched right into a diatribe about the poor route running by Manningham readily armed with a lame-o graphic that looks like it was used to describe a cold-front moving east on the local news. Later, on the first play of the go ahead TD drive, Manningham gave Collinsworth a proverbial “M.I.A. F-U salute” by hauling in an amazing catch on almost the exact same play. Where was the graphic for that one?
Either Madonna was on Quaaludes or she pulled a Miguel Tejada and she’s really 67 years old. I thought her own performance was stale, stoic, and robotic. Aside from a few minutes of the backup dancers and typical theatrics, the whole thing was a bore. She sang songs we’ve heard 100,000 times with some techno beats lopped in behind it and she literally looked like she was moving in slow motion. We soon found out why she was dancing like a geriatric when she stumbled and narrowly averted a sure-to-be memorable disaster. I’m not saying I was rooting for her to take a dive, but I’m also not saying it wouldn’t have made the whole show a little more entertaining. After short-arm Cee-Lo Green out sang her on their duet and M.I.A. flipped the bird (I didn’t see it – I did hear her drop the sh-t bomb though) I was happy to see it end. Move on Madonna because much like the concept of the “Patriots Dynasty”, your time has passed you by.
I was pleasantly surprised by this year’s crop of commercials aside from a few of the standard retreads and corporate pandering. Doritos & Chevy were the clear winners in the compilation category in my opinion. Doritos had the dog bribing the human abut a missing cat (laughed out loud) and the slingshot baby (chuckled). Chevy also managed to come in strong three-times with the Happy Grad mistaking his gift as a new car instead of the fridge, the Sonic stunt “firsts”, and last but not least, the Silverado end-of-the-world ad where they literally killed off Ford. That was a pretty risqué move and made an impression on a lot of viewers. If you can’t beat your rivals, why not kill them in an over-dramatized Super Bowl ad? Samsung Mobile also took a nice swing at the Apple iPhone and while it carried on a bit too long, the point was made. They were trying to pick a fight with the big boys and may have succeeded.
We also saw a number of nostalgic throwbacks with Ferris Bueller taking a grown-up hooky day in his Honda CRV. It was ripe with classic film references and an all-around great ad. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly hope that Ferris Bueller would have been driving something a lot cooler than a Honda CRV when he got older, but I’m picking straws here. Maybe we didn’t see the bumper sticker that read, “My other car is in Cameron’s glass-garage”. We also had Seinfeld trying everything to bribe his way to the first Acrua NSX. Bad-ass car and a fun commercial. VW made a clever appearance with a dog getting in shape to chase down their car, but in typical fashion had to awkwardly insert Darth Vader at the end just to appease the Star Wars nerds.
As for the rest, CareerBuilder kept it classic with the monkeys in a highly amusing skit. M&Ms had a cute little spin on their candy’s “disrobing” and E*Trade delivered again with the talking babies. Kia had the sleep-fairy sprinkling too much dust on an overzealous dreamer, and in my personal favorite, TaxACT had the clever, edgy and yet still cute, commercial of all with the “Free to Pee” spot. The boy in the pool fights off all urges of running water everywhere around him to hold it in while trying to find a bathroom. Only he finds all the bathrooms in the house are taken and a sister not so willing to help him out. After heading back into the pool to finally relieve himself, he exacts some sweet revenge when little sis dives in behind him. Let’s face it, anyone who has been in a pool at some point in their lives had to make that decision (probably the exact same one) and those of us with sisters know that the sly little smile by the boy was right on point.
Some big failures in my opinion were by some of the long-time players in the SB ad space who must have lost the creativity bug somewhere along the line. GoDaddy.com replayed the same old story lines of pretending to show a naked chick for one reason or another and then enticing you to go to their website to find out what happens…real shocker there. I’ve never logged on to their site after one of those ads but I’m betting it’s just more of the same tired tricks with nothing original or amusing about it. The shock factor of GoDaddy is long gone so it’s time to either up the ante or pick a new schtick boys.
The Coca-Cola polar bears were about as entertaining as watching a bunch of real polar bears doing nothing in a zoo. It really made everyone scratch their heads as to whether Coke really though they could just plop a couple of cute bears down, have them do nothing but hold a Coke bottle, and make the ads a success. Someone should lose their job over those ads. You could have paid me the $3.5 million and I would have at least thrown in a talking pig or duckbilled platypus.
Budweiser’s Prohibition ads were catchy, but it was a little odd to be celebrating the actual end of Prohibition in the first place. Nonetheless they fared much much better than their Bud Light brethren who burned a ton of cash trying to make people think that Bud Light Platinum was more high class than regular Bud Light. If they focused on the 6% alcohol content they could have done the same frat-joke commercials as regular Bud Light and not wasted their time or money trying to turn it into something it’s not.
Finally for the worst ad of the entire night, I am awarding it to one that many pundits have also declared the best. Yet another reason I hope you’re reading my column and not those blowhard frauds. Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler spot in “It’s Halftime in America” was a complete affront to our intelligence and a blatant slap in the face. To compare Chrysler’s “struggles” to what’s really going on with our economy is a complete joke. They may have gone through tough times but they were self-inflicted. And when Americans lost jobs without it being their own doing, who bailed them out? Apparently Chrysler thinks that they’re just like me and you. Only we didn’t get handed $12 billion to get out of our difficulties. It’s like the rich kid at school whining about only having 2 juice boxes while sitting next to the poor kid whose parents can’t afford to give him lunch and saying, “man we sure got it bad”. The only thing that could have salvaged it would be if Clint summed up his little soliloquy with, “Now get off my lawn”.
Feel free to check out the full list of commercials and decide which ones you like best at: http://www.superbowl-commercials.org/ . And don’t forget to leave your comments and thoughts!