Monday, February 05, 2018

Super Bowl XIILCXXILLCCIX review

Super Bowl XIILCXXILLCCIX was the greatest Arena Football game I’ve ever seen. Welcome to my snarky Super Bowl review and why I will never be hired by Sports Illustrated or the Walla Walla Penny Saver. Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles, beating the New England Patriots 41-33, although since Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick voted for our current president, the White House will tell you there were two replay calls overturned and the Patriots won 33-27.

Considering upwards of 100,000,000 people watched the game it’s remarkable how comfortable and commanding Al Michaels was. He’s the Tom Brady of sportscasters if Brady didn’t fumble. Michaels calls a great game, knows how to build the drama and make the memorable highlight calls, is articulate, witty, armed with a million interesting nuggets and uses only the best eight, and most amazing of all -- he somehow knows the NFL rules. NOBODY knows the NFL rules, not even the NFL.

The game was held indoors in Minnesota at the gleaming new U.S. Bank Stadium (former site of the world’s largest jello mold, the Metrodome). They said at game time the outside temperature was 2 degrees but felt like -13. I’m sorry but if it feels like -13 degrees it IS -13 degrees.

As always, there were seventeen hours of Super Bowl pre-game coverage. Usually the sitting president does a folksy sit down interview. Not so this year, since our Commander-in-Chief hates NBC, the NFL, Minnesota (blue state), winter, and later as the commercials unfolded – Toyota, Coke, and T-Mobile. He hated the Toyota spot so much he wanted to deport sideline reporter, Michele Tafoya (confusing her name with Toyota). By the way, it was nice to see Michele not in a parka for a change.

Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr for you HAMILTON fans) did a stellar job with “American the Beautiful” and Pink absolutely crushed it singing the National Anthem, especially since she was recovering from the flu. Seeing her with short hair and that outfit I couldn’t help thinking SHE’S who should have starred in PETER PAN for NBC.

All the players stood during the National Anthem, but all the people holding that giant flag were taking a knee.

Then there was a flyover. Why do a flyover over a domed stadium?

Once the game began and the Joe Buck haters retreated to their basements because there was nothing to Tweet, things immediately got interesting. As Al Michaels said, this was a great game from start to finish. There was more defense in the Pro Bowl.

Some random observations from here on:

Super Bowl Sunday is the second largest food consumption day in the U.S. Tied for first – every Jewish holiday (except Yom Kippur).

Don’t you hate it when you buy two squares for the pool and get the numbers 2 and 5? Well it was looking pretty good when it was 15-12 Eagles.

It’s time to do away with the Roman Numerals already. We’re at the point where only Spartacus can figure them out.

Oh boy. The wait is over. A STAR WARS movie is coming. Finally!

For the most part the commercials were very uninspiring this year. And confusing. Peter Dinklage lip-sycing a Busta Rhymes rap for Doritos? Huh??? Ancient Vikings in a truck singing Queen? What??? Keegan-Michael Key was in a Rocket Mortgage spot translating Millennial-speak. We could have used him to translate fifteen other commercials as well.

Patriot Brandin Cooks took a vicious hit and was out for the rest of the game. At one point Michele Tafoya (still in the country I’m pleased to say) reported he had a head injury but not necessarily a concussion. Huh???? So that means what, his hair was falling out? The NFL continues to put a good spin on the brutality that endangers the lives of its players.

On the other hand, the NFL did produce the best commercial of the night – Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. recreating dance scenes from DIRTY DANCING. Considering Manning was 3-13 this year, he might consider giving up football for the road company of KINKY BOOTS.

Meanwhile, Dilly Dilly not Funny Funny.

The Pats missed two PATS. There were a lot of botched kicks. What direction was the air conditioning blowing?

The E-Trade spot showed all these 85-year-olds. I thought I was watching CBS.

You know there are not a lot of big celebrities in the crowd when they show Mike Trout three times. At one point I think I might have seen WJM’s Sue Ann Nivens.

Al Michaels was pin-point accurate calling the game but did have trouble keeping team names and sports straight. He called the Los Angeles Angels the California Angels (although to me they still are), the Lions he called the Pistons, and Eagle fans he called Phillies fans. I guess that’s what happens when you’re the best announcer of every sport.

There was a technical snafu. NBC broke for commercial and went to 20 seconds of black before bailing and going back to Al and Chris. That must’ve cost the Peacock $10,000.000 in missed commercials. The guy who pushed the wrong button might’ve been the same guy who sent out the false missile alert in Hawaii.

I’m only sorry the blackout didn’t occur when the Febreze “shit doesn’t stink” ad was scheduled to run. That was maybe the worst, most tasteless Super Bowl ad ever.

Second worst this year was Dodge Ram using Martin Luther King Jr. for its voiceover. Next year I fully expect to hear Mother Teresa for Febreze.

Chris Collinsworth always does a solid job of analysis, and he’s not afraid to speak his mind. He felt that both of those replay calls should have been overturned. So did our president, which is why Chris Collinsworth will be the next Attorney General.

Here’s something I didn’t know: the two products football fans crave the most are beer and laundry detergent. There were more Tide and Perisol Pro-Clean ads than Ford and Chevy.

Nobody watches the halftime analysis.

The Pepsi commercial saluted every generation except THE “Pepsi Generation” from the ‘60s. Where was Joanie Sommers? (And when will you ever see Joanie Sommers and Brandin Cooks in the same article?)

I’m sorry but every Super Bowl Halftime show is now the same.

Not much suspense. Everyone was hoping Janet Jackson might return to flash her other nipple, but instead we got Justin’s greatest hits and a Prince tribute that felt very disingenuous. Prince fans remember that Timberlake dissed him publicly on several occasions. Other people are peeved that he was in a Woody Allen movie. And still more felt cheated they didn’t at least see his nipple.

Sorry, but the best musical act of the night was Pink.

Key stat of the game: Receptions. Nick Foles 1-1, Tom Brady 0-1.

Finally, the Red States and Blue States, Patriot or Eagles fans all came together to hate something -- The Scientology commercial.

As much as I love Al Michaels I do have to say I missed Dick Enberg. And I bet Al would say that too.

The laughing robots you saw in that ad attend WILL & GRACE tapings and that’s who you hear laughing every week.

Late in the game they kept cutting to Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady’s wife with their child, and it looked like she was hastily calling airlines to get the hell out of town. After the fumble, reading lips, I thought I heard her say: “Anywhere! Cuba? Sure.”

I sensed a real chemistry between Martha Stewart and Jack from Jack in the Box. I know NBC wants to do a reboot of MAD ABOUT YOU. If they can’t sign the original cast…

Now that the game is over our sports sections can finally focus on fishing!

Super Bowl LXIIXCXXICCIL was a great game. Other than one glitch, NBC produced an excellent broadcast, the team most people wanted to win did win, but at the end of the day, I have to wonder: Did more people Tweet about the Super Bowl or Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy announcement?

46 comments :

Daniel said...

Not really a football fan, so I could take or leave the game. But I was in Minneapolis last year and that stadium is drop dead gorgeous. Looks more like an art museum than a sports stadium. you really have to see it in person to appreciate how beautiful it is.

Justin Russo said...

THANK YOU for the P!nk love! She ALWAYS is one of the most talented and gracious entertainers.

Brian Phillips said...

Mad Magazine predicted the Dodge Ram commercial...sort of.

Years ago, they ran a picture that read, "Ads We DON'T Want to See" and it showed a sale of some sort and Dr. King above it saying, "I have a dream...of great savings!"

Persil came into the USA in 2015 from the UK (not Norway), thus taking more cleaning jobs away from Tide, Cheer and, I daresay, Dreft. Thanks, Obama!

Mike Barer said...

Giselle has a slight resemblance to Melania Trump.

tavm said...

"Saturday Night Live" had a real hilarious sketch that took place during the Revolutionary War with New Englanders and Philadelphians debating over which one had the best battles! Rachel Drach returned representing in the NE group while Tina Fey did the same for the "Iagles"! I especially loved it when Fey taunted Dratch's group by saying "Boston is not even a city. Just a college town with a fishing pier!" Oh, and there were a lot of cracks about "Captain Thomas Brady"...

Matt said...

Apparently Giselle was a real class act after the game. While walking in the bowels of the stadium she ran into several Eagles players and reportedly stopped to congratulate every one.

Anonymous said...

I'm an Al Michaels fan, but I suspect one of the NBC cadres was whispering the little know codicils of the NFL rules into his earpiece.

Also, the man can no longer say the letter "s.". It's coming out as "shecond and sheven."

And I wonder if someone in the Wide World of Levine knows anything about the true origin of "dilly dilly." The ad agency is taking credit for coming up with it, but I think I heard it in the 1930s movie "Lives of a Bengal Lancer."

-30-

Michael said...

Al is getting some flak for referring to "Mrs. Tom Brady" a couple of times. Last time I checked, she had a name. And as one critic pointed out, she MAY have made as much from modeling as he has from football. At the very least, I think she would have caught the pass.

People are also commenting on some thanks offered to a Supreme Being for the victory. That's when I missed Bob Costas, who once said something like this: someday, when a player thanks God for winning the game, I'm going to ask him why the other team was so sinful that God made it a point to concentrate on helping his team win.

Mike Doran said...

Because I do not gamble, I consequently have no interest whatever in professional football in general, or the Super Bowl in particular.

That said, you had some items in your list that did catch my attention:

- Your mention of Joanie Sommers sent me to IMDB.

On the 24th of this month, Joanie Sommers will mark her 77th birthday.
This estimable lady apparently walked away from her career sometime in the '70s, in order to concentrate on family life.
Given the changes in pop music during that time, I don't think she regrets that decision, then or now (I recall that sometime in the early '60s, she gave TV GUIDE an interview wherein she expressed a very low opinion of emerging rock styles; I'll have to look that up - sometime ...).
I do wonder if all these years down the line, Joanie still drinks Pepsi - and still "thinks young" ...

- I thought I had something else here but I seem to be having a "senior moment".

Maybe I'll be back ... if I live long enough ...

Rick said...

1050's oldie "Lavender Blue" has the chorus "Lavender blue, dilly dilly".
Someone posted on I think 'Quora' when the beer commercials began that "dilly-dilly" is a longtime British expression of approval going back to the Nineteenth Century. There were citations provided.

Howard Hoffman said...

Anonymous - Merriam-Webster retweeted this definition of “dilly” during the game last night:
https://twitter.com/MerriamWebster/status/952624913764048901

And here’s that play that broke a million rewind buttons last night:
http://www.nbcsports.com/video/super-bowl-insane-play-leads-nick-foles-first-receiving-touchdown

blinky said...

This past weekend WAIT, WAIT, DON'T TELL ME had a question about when Cheers won the Emmy. The answer was that after winning the Emmy, the writers and producers got drunk and went on the Tonight Show. Were you there then? Did you go on the Tonight Show? If so did that help getting Johnny Carson to do Cheers?

Ron Rettig said...

Yes Ken, I missed a "Johnny Get Angry"solo.

Glenn said...

I'd like to congratulate all the Philly fans, especially the nimrods who rioted and destroyed part of the city. Nice job, losers.

Mitch said...


Yes, knew you will take a swing at Tom Brady's voting choice :D

Eric J said...

Super Bowl was yesterday? I always get it mixed up with the World Series. They're not the same, right?

Jen said...


No post on the recent Natalie Wood Documentary?

Buttermilk Sky said...

There's a brilliant analysis of the Dodge truck ad here:

https://wonkette.com/629330/martin-luther-king-had-a-dream-of-great-big-powerful-pickup-trucks

And God had nothing to do with the Big Game. He was busy giving Pat Robertson a stroke yesterday.

Ken Levine said...

WAIT WAIT, DON'T TELL ME is wrong. They got drunk and went on THE TONIGHT SHOW following the airing of the final episode. It had nothing to do with Emmys.

Cat said...

Ken, I keep getting conflicting arguments that the Cheers cast slacked off in their first few seasons, you've said over and over that they were professional until nearly the end of the show, when they would barely learn their lines on time. I've heard that this was why Bebe Newirth left, because of everyone's poor work ethic. Is there any truth to this?

YEKIMI said...

Proub to say that I didn't waste a minute of time watching the Super Bowel. Now if they had held a Stupor Bowl, where the worst two teams in foot all clash to get the coveted title of Supreme Losers and the Dunce Lombardi trophy (Dunce being the lesser known cousin of Vince), then I might have watched.

MikeN said...

As a former sports announcer who calls out Al Michaels for getting details wrong, you should be more careful. If Trump gets his recalls, the score doesn't become 33-27. Philly didn't kick two extra points after those scores. It was crazy they went for two after the first one, up 12 in the second quarter.

Ken said...

"... WJM’s Sue Ann Nivens. ..."
I thought she gave up minn. winters and retired to Florida.

Mike said...

Mel Gibson is going to do a sequel of Passion of the Christ. What are your thoughts?

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Eric J: I don't get them confused, but I never know when either of them is. Only reason I know about the Super Bowl at all is Ken's post. But I'm fairly sure I'm not in the right demographic for Scientology ads.

wg

Mike Bloodworth said...

I'm SO, SO GLAD that Tom Brady didn't win his VIth Superbowl!. If anybod should be thanking GOD it should be Tom. He's arguably one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He's tall, good looking, rich, famous AND he gets to bone Gisele without a rubber. He's had more than his fair share. If there's a 1% of life, he's in it. And of course, HATE Prince! Always have. In 1981 he got bood off the stage when he opened for the Rolling Stones here in L.A.
M.B.

gottacook said...

Actually Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me had it right; I just played back the segment online. Peter Sagal asks, "How did the cast and crew celebrate the airing of the show's final episode?" before giving the three alternatives including the correct one, the Tonight Show appearance.

McAlvie said...

It was a good game. An especially amazing first half, but with both teams scoring, and seeming to trade the honor back and forth, it meant the game had real momentum. Heck, I even enjoyed the commercials. None were amazing, but most were at least fun, especially the dance scene. It was a hoot, and nearly as good as the Swayze/Grey original. The half time show - I can't help thinking that Justin could have stayed home. The show was in the special effects and the crowd, and anybody could have taken his place.

therealshell said...

As the unacknowledged Prince of Laundry, I need to correct you, Ken: it's Persil Pro-Clean, not Perisol.Persil adverts keep Mariska Hargitay's husband Peter Hermann busy, and, presumably, with no need to ever purchase detergent again in his life.

DwWashburn said...

I started reading your blog post but I was afraid it was a Tide ad.

DwWashburn said...

WAIT WAIT got it right. The question dealt with what the cast did on the night of the final episode airing. The Emmy ceremony was not mentioned.

John Lloyd said...

John Mahoney. Goddammit.

He was brilliant in "Say Anything". The scene where he's driving down the street singing along to Steely Dan was perfect.

Andy Rose said...

I have to disagree that NBC produced an "excellent" broadcast, even ignoring the dead air (TV's Unpardonable Sin). It would have been a fine regular Sunday broadcast, but for a Super Bowl, I expect the best of everything. Surprisingly lackluster direction, including using a cross-field camera to awkwardly show a celebrating player when you could see on the screen that there was a much closer Steadicam (and on another score, 2 Steadicam guys inexplicably emerged in the same place and nearly ran into each other), showing Coach A on-screen when the announcers are talking about Coach B, failing to have file tape available to illustrate a historical point the announcers are trying to make, etc. There was even a score where a camera-equipped pylon was knocked over, but they didn't show the pylon shot on the replay. Fortunately for them, the game was exciting enough to make up for lack of action in the control room.

LouOCNY said...

RIP John Mahoney

Anonymous said...

Just heard John Mahoney passed. What were your thoughts on John? Such a great part of the Frasier ensemble. NO reunion with him - or Eddie! Janice B.

Edward said...

Al Michaels is 73, and he is losing a step. Sad to hear it live in front of the biggest audience in the country. I suspect that he won't be broadcasting the next Super Bowl that NBC airs in 3 years.

When Pat Summerall was about 70, it was noticeable that he lost a step and his announcing was slow and deliberate. He retired after the 2002 Super Bowl.

david kelly said...

Rest In Peace Martin Crane. Forever in our hearts John Mahoney.

Ken Levine said...

My blog post tomorrow will be my tribute to John Mahoney -- a dear sweet man.

Michael said...

Ken, thanks for a terrific write up of the Super Bowl; it was more fun than the game itself. Regarding the 20 seconds of black screen, I had the same thought you did about the Hawaiian missile alert guy being the culprit. Either that or NBC all of a sudden just decided to pay tribute to the series finale of The Sopranos.

Off topic question: are you a pretty fast typist?

Thanks again for all your great blog posts.

Peter said...

Damn. Just woke up here in the UK to the awful news about John Mahoney.

His comedy timing was sheer genius. And by all accounts he was a lovely man.

Rest in peace.

MikeKPa. said...

I like Al Michaels, other than hearing his caps or dentures clatter as he calls the game, but I find Chris Collinsworth insufferable. He belabored the Ertz catch, ignoring the byzantine NFL rules that made Ertz no longer a receiver but a runner after his second full step. (I skipped trigonometry in high school, which is why I don't follow the NFL closely. If only I had taken an analytics class I could have been an NFL or MLB GM by now.) Sadly, Michaels began agreeing with him. Yet, the ex-NFL officials on hand, better experts than Collinsworth and a little more objective, said the call was spot on. But why ruin a three-minute rant when you have 100M people hanging on every word.

Collinsworth seemed more interested in pushing the Brady-Belichick 6th SB win and walking into immortality hand-in-hand narrative more than commenting on the game. I'll take Jim Nantz and Tony Romo over Michaels-Collinsworth, although Romo started to go over the top in the playoffs after a nice debut season. I always love how the cameras cut to Jerry Jones or Giselle after a TD by their team, but nary a shot when things are going off the skids. Now, those visuals are reality TV (the best was Chris Christie's awkward 300-pound man hug of Jones while Jerry turned his back on the guv). My idea of hell would be to hear Joe Bucks and Chris Collinsworth on an endless loop. I would seriously considering puncturing my ear drums.

Great game if you don't like defense or special teams perfectly executed. I've seen flag football teams play tighter D. Best news of all is it's just over a week until pitchers and catchers report. Can spring be far behind?

Cap'n Bob said...

I didn't watch but I'm glad of the outcome.

What burns me, though, is that they refused to run an ad praising US veterans but they accepted one from the Scientology Organized Crime Family.

JoeyH said...

Collingsworth was fawning over Brady so much that I was expecting him to ask Tom to the prom.

Thomas Anderson said...

Al Michaels seems to be a nice man, but he made so many mistakes on the Super Bowl broadcast that it may be time for him to give up covering football. He had trouble seeing where the football was placed on the field, mixed up team names, and worst of all, said the Patriots had taken the lead when they had just tied the score. You can just hear an NBC guy in his ear saying "They tied the game, Al, until they kick the extra point, remember?"

David G. said...

I was hoping that the Super Bowl's organizers would've abandoned the Roman numeral nonsense once they got stuck with having to use the not-really-powerful-looking "L" after all those decades of "X"s. They had it right when they decided to call the one a couple of years ago "Super Bowl 50." ("Super Bowl L" ... that would've just looked like a stutter.) The NFL should go back to using regular 21st century numbers for this game, or maybe just insert the year (i.e. "Super Bowl 2019").

Mike Doran said...

As a schoolkid in the '50s, I had to learn Roman numerals along with everyone else in our Catholic school; it was a small but important part of our arithmetic classes for the whole eight grades.
The nuns were pretty straightforward about it: we ought to be able to read the cornerstones on old downtown buildings, and the copyright notices in textbooks that were published before the 1930s, and like that.
Of course, we also were able to read the copyright dates on the opening titles of old Three Stooges shorts (Copyright MCMXXXVIII by Columbia Pictures Of California, Harry Cohn, President); it was a kid way of showing off ...
Of course, the SuperBowl wouldn't be invented for years yet; am I the only one who remembers that the NFL initially resisted calling it that?

Well, anyway, That Was Then, This Is Now, and Yada Yada Yada ...

Actually, the NFL should have started using the years long ago.
Bear in mind that MLB's World's Serious would be up in the CXs by now ...
(Think about that - if you dare.)