Monday, February 02, 2015

My thoughts on the Super Bowl

WOW! A Super Bowl that lived up to the hype. And in true NFL fashion, an ugly unnecessary fight broke out with :18 seconds left in the game.

Congratulations to the New England Patriots. The victory parade will be in June once the snow melts.

And nothing holds down riots like blizzards. 

Malcolm Butler went from obscurity to Big Papi in one catch.

Some player won a big trophy before the game for being the only NFL player never arrested.

My favorite commercial: THE BRADY BUNCH Snickers spot with Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi.   Will there now be rumors that Danny Trejo slept with Florence Henderson?

With .36 seconds to go I couldn’t understand why Belichick didn’t call a time out. But as always, he was one step ahead of me. Let the clock run down, intercept the ball, then take a knee. The man is a genius.

As always, Al Michaels was as great as the game.

What was Pete Carroll thinking calling for a pass play on the two yard line? But I’m sure Patriot fans and USC fans were delighted.

Note to Idina Menzel: For once, just sing the fucking melody. It’s not about YOU. It’s about the song. Stop with the vocal gymnastics. We get it. You can belt. I thought her rendition of the National Anthem was atrocious. Meanwhile, John Legend’s version of “America the Beautiful” was understated, stirring, and elegant. As a general note: When you don’t need a microphone to be heard in the last row of a football stadium you are singing too loud.

Since they showed John Travolta in the stands, why didn’t they have him introduce Ms. Dazeem?

Ads cost $4.5 million for 30 seconds.  Scientology had an ad.  Pay up, Travolta. 

If you hated the Patriots before, this game will do little to change your sentiments.

Notice that NBC only promoted THE BLACKLIST, THE VOICE, and some new shows? None of their other primetime series got mentioned even once. And of those new shows, who isn’t excited about THE SLAP?

So if you tell your mom you love her you get free food at McDonalds? What if your mom is dead?

Does Bob Costas ever blink?

Big game for Julian Edelman, All-American from Yeshiva University.

It’s hard enough for voice over talent, now they have to compete with John F. Kennedy?

Were it not for the last second interception, the circus catch by Jermaine Kearse would go down in history as one of the greatest receptions of all time. Now it’s the Endy Chavez catch in game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.
After the game when Kurt Warner was bringing the Lombardi Trophy to the stage and all the players were touching and kissing it, I was yelling, “It’s not the Torah!”

How could a receiver as great as Chris Matthews not have a catch in three years before this Super Bowl?

Chevy thinks that chicks love trucks? I don’t know one Jewish guy who ever tried to impress a girl by buying a truck.

I enjoyed the Katy Perry halftime show, even if I couldn’t make out a word she was singing. But I liked what I assume was her salute to JAWS. And when she flew high above the field I thought, “In only five seconds this is way better than NBC’s PETER PAN.”

I loved her entrance, sitting atop a Seahawk nose tackle.

I guess Tom Brady can throw touchdowns with a fully inflated football.

A couple of my Tweets: Stay tuned after the Super Bowl as NBC tries to relaunch WHITNEY.

And… For the Super Bowl, hopefully the stadium is inflated. It looks like a giant Jiffy Pop bag.

Some of the commercials were depressing. I don’t want to be reminded of children tragedies and Kim Kardashian.

I miss the Bud Bowl. But glad to have the Clydesdales back.

The Nissan commercial that used Cat’s in the Cradle missed the entire point of the song. Great to hear my buddy, Howard Hoffman, on the spot though.  He was the announcer. 

Good luck getting Marshawn Lynch to talk at Media Day now.

So if you drop a Viagra into a Fiat gas tank the front hood will grow. She still won’t let you enter the garage.

The Victoria Secret ad was more provocative than Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.  

I’m only sorry this year’s game wasn’t in New York.

Mindy Kaling was not funny.  Again.  

The spot showing Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbal in 1994 and today was interesting. She looks much better now and he looks much worse.

The NFL Network had 84 hours of pre-game analysis. 83 hours proved to be wrong.

Bring on baseball!


Anonymous said...

Re the Nissan commercial featuring Harry Chapin and a bunch of crazy driving: Don't they know Chapin died in a car accident on the Long Island Expressway? What bad taste!

And using JFK to promote Carnival Cruise Lines was utterly repulsive.

Good game, though!

Michael said...

One of my favorite parts of Super Bowl Sunday each year is listening to long-time NY DJ Jonathan Schwartz, currently on local NPR station, do his annual "Salute to Baseball". It consists of him playing some obscure baseball songs as well as old play-by-play clips.

Dan Ball said...

Amen. Bring on baseball! (Actually, with my Wildcats still going 20-0 in the NCAA Men's, I'm enthralled with that until baseball. Seattle Sports < Kentucky + Cincinnati Sports.)

I wish one of those sharks would've had the voice of Curly Howard to make it a full-blown Jabberjaw nod.

It's like the Debbie Downer Advertising Agency was in charge of making most of the ads--er, PSA's--this year. How grim.

Jurassic World is looking better. If the Seahawks lose next year, will Chris Pratt go to kids' hospitals and dress as a real dinosaur and eat a live goat?

Phantom Dreamer said...

NBC aired a promo for the Chicago Fire/PD crossover didn't they? I wonder how much longer football will exist with all the talk of CTE and youth participation declining every year.

RockGolf said...

NBC also got Katy Perry to perform a live version of their "The More You Know" logo.

VincentS said...

The most bizarre moment for me was the ad for some mini-series evidently on the life of Christ - "AD." Phil Collins's I CAN FEEL IT COMIN' IN THE AIR TONIGHT was played over it. WTF?

MikeK.Pa. said...

Normally I look forward to spring training, but my team is in a rebuild phase that will last 2-3 years, not unlike what the Cubs recently went through. Knowing that, it's hard to get excited when you still have aging vets with bloated contracts still on the roster and not much coming up from the minors.

Problem with last night's game was you had two coaches who thought they were the smartest on the field. Turns out one of them was - Belichick, unfortunately. Pats suckered the Seahawks into a pass play when Lynch likely would have bulled his way into the end zone on three tries. Butler jumped the route, recognizing it from film prep. Never a fan of forcing a ball in coverage that close to the goal.

I'm proud to say I didn't watch one minute of pre-game coverage and only a couple minutes of halftime. I'm sure NBC is happy as is Goodell with the game going down to the last minute. Watch the DeflateGate issue be resolved quietly with a ball boy being suspended. Unfortunately for Roger, the possible returns of Rice and Peterson next fall won't be as easy to deal with.

As far as commercials, I was surprised how weak the Go Daddy ad was. Everyone assumed the pulled puppy ad was just a tactic to run the commercial they intended to show all along. Watching it last night, it sure didn't look like it.

Chuck said...

"Mindy Kaling is not funny. Again."

So much THIS.

Bud Wilkinson said...

Had to work and missed much of the game (except the end), so am catching up this morning. I understand where you're coming from with Idina Menzel and was fully prepared to hate her take - until I watched it. It was nuanced and heartfelt. Where is it written that the National Anthem must be sung only one way? Think Layla. The original version rocked, while the acoustic version showed a bit more depth. Idina's a belter. That's what she does. You're surprised by this? She could have been much over the top, but, instead, mixed power with polish. Did enjoying hearing Howard Hoffman!

Terrence Moss said...

Everyone is blasting Carroll for that pass play as if they wouldn't be singing an entirely different tune had the pass been completed. And that's not fair.

Matt said...

Apparently Mexican Avacado tweeted out something to the effect of:

"Another interesting fact about Mexican Avacados, we don't make you depressed by showing you dead kids."

Might be best tweet I have ever heard.

Emmett Flatus said...

The winner of the Walter Payton Award is truly inspirational. He should have gotten much more recognition.

Scooter Schechtman said...

To Budweiser: don't mock pumpkin-peach "craft beers" as hoity-toity when your own product is oversweetened shit. And I don't drink.

Rich Shealer said...

I thought John Legend's rendition of America the Beautiful was reminiscent of Ray Charles. Brought a tear to my eye.

daniel in cherry hill said...

thanks for the Yeshiva University shoutout. 1st football refrance since episode 2 of The West Wing.

dgwphotography said...

"Were it not for the last second interception, the circus catch by Jermaine Kearse would go down in history as one of the greatest receptions of all time. Now it’s the Endy Chavez catch in game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. "

I can only hope that the Seahawks follow the same trajectory as my Mets did.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

We have a problem.

Used to, whenever you would Google Ken Levine, this blog was always the first in the search results. Now, whenever you Google Ken Levine, this blog has dropped down to the fourth result, and the top results are now for a video game maker with the same name.

Tom Quigley said...

Only one comment about the broadcast: Chris Collinsworth has to stop listening to old tapes of Dan Dierdorf and learn to shut the hell up...

benson said...

After the game when Kurt Warner was bringing the Lombardi Trophy to the stage and all the players were touching and kissing it, I was yelling, “It’s not the Torah!”

And it's not the Stanley Cup. It sure seems like the NFL would like the Lombardi trophy to be The Cup. No it's not.

And I can't believe I'm saying this, but Gary Bettmann does a better job presenting The Cup than Goodell does his trophy.

Mike Barer said...

First comment, the song is about a concept, not Harry Chapin. Give me a break!

Canda said...

Not only do Patriot and USC fans love to see Pete Carroll lose, but so do any of the opponents who played USC when he was coach, and had to watch his team dance in their face after every score. Poor sportsmanship and arrogance. That's Pete Carroll. Love that he's now the goat of the Super Bowl, and will always be remembered for that stupid play call.

Mike Barer said...

That is except for Huskies And Cougs who love the 'Hawks.

Igor said...

Ken, have you ever heard a Bob Costas Profundity Moment that was more devoid of content than the one he delievred just before the start of the second half?

It was a parody of sports metaphors that could have been (and may have been) written before this game started - years before this game started.

Hamid said...

I'm disappointed to read that one of my favourite songs, In The Air Tonight, was used to plug a faith-based mini-series. I imagine it's only because of the "oh lord" refrain in the lyrics, despite the fact the song has nothing to do with religion.

I wonder if the producers are aware that Phil Collins also wrote and sang the Genesis song "Jesus He Knows Me", which is a brilliant satire of televangelists.

VP81955 said...

I followed by usual Super Bowl tradition and listened to the game on radio -- it's what I call the last great act of social defiance. Don't care about the commercials, don't care about the hype, and I hate seeing incessant shots of the quarterbacks when they're not even involved in the damn play. If the NFL is so intent on emphasizing QBs, get rid of all the other players and have them conduct a Pass, Punt and Kick competition, like the kids event from the '60s and '70s we used to see at halftime on TV.

In some ways, it was the Super Bowl ending Goodell deserved in this dreadful year for the league -- ending on a mistake, allowing the team most were rooting against to win. If he expects us to forget "deflategate" and retreat into our usual hosannas for Tom Brady like most casual fans are supposed to do, he's got another thing coming.

I figuratively innoculated myself against Super Bowl hype by going to the Dodgers FanFest on Saturday and had plenty of fun walking on the field and around the bases, sitting in the dugout and such. I'll have a fun time cheering on the Blue with my mini-plan (except when they're facing my Nationals, of course). And Michael, I've heard those Jonathan Schwartz baseball salutes; I'd like them more if he wasn't a fan of the New England Evil Empire (baseball division).

Finally, Dan, you can tell that Chris Pratt has made it. Yesterday, Zap2It ran a photo of him and that Patriots fan Chris at the Super Bowl. Wife Anna Faris was below Pratt, but she was cropped out of the pic; only her blonde hair revealed her identity. (I'm guessing that photographer was female, since no hetero male with a pulse would pass her up for Pratt.)

Igor said...

I liked Idina Menzel's rendition of the National Anthem. Reminded me of Jimmy Hendrix's version,

BTW, is it called a "rendition" because if you fail they send you to a secret prison in Poland?

Some of the Japanese car ads were exciting... until the end when they showed the car.

I thought the Chevy truck ad was great because it was explicit about what's always implicit in those ads: Buy this truck, girls will come for you.

But I was hoping it would be bookended with a second ad: Guys looking at two photos of a hit girl, one next to a lame car, the other next to a cool Chevy truck - but not some generic hot girl. No. It'd be Kate Upton.

One guy would say, "But, but... She's Kate Upton." Then they'd all agree that, still, even Kate Upton looks hotter standing next to a Chevy truck.

Igor said...

Or someone other than Kate Upton. YMMV.

Cap'n Bob said...

A pass? A goddamn pass? You have three downs left, at least one time out, and the meanest running back in the sport and you pass? I need to lie down.

I'm at least grateful I missed the Scientology commercial. It is an evil, money-hungry cult, people. Stay far away from it.

Pete Grossman said...

What? I was thinking about getting a truck. Damn.

Unknown said...

The friggin' Patriots beat the Rams in Super Bowl 36 with a field goal at the final gun. Brady took his team down the field against the Rams "Prevent Defense." An oxymoron.

Yesterday's game kicked off at 1:30 pm in Hawaii. The Seahawks went down attempting a moronic play with a few seconds remaining. Pete Carroll was testing his "Prevent Offense." Why run from the one-yard line when a pass can be picked off by a Pats rookie, now an instant hero in Boston.

BTW, Kurt Warner would have won three SB's without the Pats last-second Vinatieri FG in SB 36. The Steelers last-minute bomb in SB 43 cost Warner another SB win.

But Warner was snubbed by the Hall of Fame voters on Saturday. Next day, Seattle makes its Super Blunder. Hall of Shame.

Of course, I'm a bit biased. Wouldn't mind if both teams were still playing ... a 0-0 tie. Now that would be a Super Bowl.

PNW Corey said...

You often talk about how hard it is it getting started, how you are always looking for new faces/talent. What would you think of somebody who's resume included: Blue Shark at NBC's Super Bowl XLIX half-time show????

ScottyB said...

Maybe it's me, but the camera coverage of the play on the field seemed rather distant and wide. I felt a huge difference between NBC's work and that of, say, Fox-TV.

ScottyB said...

Well, here's one huge payoff from Sunday's Super Bowl: Impoverished kids in all sorts of Third World countries will be getting a fresh shipment of "Super Bowl XLIX Champion Seahawks" T-shirts after the next typhoon/earthquake disaster this year.

blinky said...

America the Beautiful AND The Star Spangled Banner? Next year they will add a Stephen Sondheim musical reading of the Constitution.

Bryan north of Seattle said...

Best pass Brady threw all night was with an underinflated teddy bear.

Patrick said...

I dont understand your Mindy hate. Her show makes me laugh out loud more than most comedies on network TV today. Modern Family can maybe get a chuckle these days.

ScottyB said...

@Patrick: Ohhhhhhh -- so *you're* the one who keeps sending busloads of cards and letters to 'New Girl'.

Igor said...

@ScottyB - IMO, NBC Sports' camerawork is always off. Including with their Olympics coverage. There must be something magic to getting it right, because they had so many years of ABC's Olympics tapes to look at, yet NBC still gets it wrong.

@Tom Quigley - As for Chris Collinsworth not shutting up? Maybe he uses Costas as a role model. I've often wished that, at least one year, NBC's coverage of the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies would use the SAP audio for a "no commentator" option, so we could get the ambient sound but no Costas. (I recall one year, I think in Australia, when - as Slovenia marched in - Costas introduced them as Slovakia.)

Scott Cason said...

The NFL Network had 84 hours of pre-game analysis. 83 hours proved to be wrong.

and 83.5 of it was too much.

RockGolf said...

Anonymous VincentS said...

The most bizarre moment for me was the ad for some mini-series evidently on the life of Christ - "AD." Phil Collins's I CAN FEEL IT COMIN' IN THE AIR TONIGHT was played over it. WTF?

Well, it makes sense to me.
Both of them took place after Genesis.

Diane D. said...

Quite a game, but if anyone has read about the fumble statistics for the Patriots before and after 2006, I don't know how you could doubt that they have been playing with deflated balls for years. 2006 was the year Tom Brady (with others) convinced the league to allow teams to bring their own balls to away games. They went from one fumble per 37 touches to one fumble for 73 touches---dramatically better than any other team and dramatically better than their own stats before 2007. That kind of change overnight (and sustained for all subsequent years except one) can't be a coincidence. Hope the truth comes out eventually.

Cat said...

Mindy's show needs some retooling and more focus, along with fewer pop culture references, but she is a funny lady. Her book is hilarious, and she wrote some of the best episodes of The Office.

Mike Schryver said...

The Nissan ad with Harry Chapin was absolutely in bad taste.
And I thought the Nationwide ad was fine.

It's already been said, but
"Bring on baseball!"


therealshell said...

I can't say that I'm that keen on "The Slap," because I already watched the original on Netflix.

The new version looks exactly the same, with less confusing accents.

Anonymous said...

The University of Phoenix, the only university with a great big stadium and no football team - or campus for that matter.

Also; good to hear from "The Boss ManB" Ron Jacobs!!

Anonymous said...

Who put that "B" in Boss Man??????

MikeN said...

Pete Carroll is being treated unfairly. The Seahawks had just one timeout and 26 seconds. It was second down. If they wanted three chances, they have to throw there.
If they run and don't get in, then it is third down and they have to use the last timeout. Now a run play risks not being able to run a 4th down play since you would only have about 15-18 second left. So by throwing here, they have two downs and a timeout to do either a run or a pass.

Now if Belichick calls timeout, Carroll probably runs it, though he was saying he didn't want to leave too much time on the clock.
So Bill being one step ahead, chooses not to call timeout. Plus I think he knew exactly what Pete was likely to all, but isn't bragging about that now.

MikeN said...

Diane, that article about the fumbles is bogus and has been picked apart repeatedly. All it showed is that the Patriots had two players for a few years that tend to not fumble.
And even then, the author had to use fumbles lost instead of all fumbles.

Diane D. said...

Are you sure? I read numerous articles about it including in the WSJ. However every article was quoting a man named Warren Sharp, the statistician who did the research. But I must say, I was surprised I wasn't hearing about it on CNN or NPR.

I don't usually fall for bogus stories and I thought I could trust the WSJ and some of the other sources. Very disappointing, but thank you for the alert.

Jabroniville said...

I liked Idina's version of the anthem too, but she did hold the notes for WAY too long.

But it's completely understandable- she took a lot of public flak for a bad performance at the New Year's Eve concert in New York (she is known for being a bit spotty at times, and the cold weather didn't help), and that came at the worst possible time in her career for something like that- as FROZEN's been out for over a year and she's just trying to get a solo music career going again after being on her Broadway show for a year.

This this was more or less a "yes, I can hit power-notes and hold notes for frickin' forever without my voice cracking or screwing up. THIS is what I'm capable of. Of course it's showing off, but it was probably the best career move possible.

I would expect singers on a stage like this to try to show off during the anthem- it's a HUGE audience, and she had something to prove this time. The thing doesn't need to be sung the same way every time (and the song has a very weird melody anyways- it's nearly impossible to sing well).

John said...

Only thing missing was Tom Brady "squeezing" the Lombardi trophy silver ball and saying "Yeah, feels about 12.5 psi".

VincentS said...

Thanks for clearing that up, RockGolf!

mp said...


Nate Silver has a rundown of all the articles disproving the fumble analysis (and those talking about football air pressure) here:

Long story short, the 2014 Minnesota Vikings were more of an outlier than the Patriots.

Matt said...

MikeN, I agree with you up to a point. I agree that a pass was not a bad call, but the play was still not a good call.

You have the most feared player on the field in Marshawn Lynch. Even if you pass it needs to be play action. Than you get at least seven players on the defense going after Lynch and you roll Wilson out for a run pass option. If he can't run it in than he can either throw a very safe pass or throw it out of bounds.

It was a bad call.

thomas tucker said...

Mike N nailed it.
For a good analysis, see Benjamin Morris' article at Now should it have been a read option instead? I think they were just trying to pass without using up too much time in case they had to go again, so it had ot be a quick pass. It was just a great defensive play.

LAprGuy said...

Best part of the televised game was virtually no reaction close-ups of fans in the stand!

Can we have Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth announce every Super Bowl moving forward? Also every World Series? And maybe Election Night coverage?

Diane D. said...

Thanks, mp. I can't wait to read it.

VP81955 said...

Best part of the televised game was virtually no reaction close-ups of fans in the stand!

But we still have too many of the gd quarterbacks! There are other players, you know (and coaches, too).

Anonymous said...

Mike N and the WSJ are not correct.
There was a little over a minute when the Seahawks ran the first down play. The hesitated and used most of the play clock, under 30 seconds left, to call the second down pass, either out of confusion or because they wanted to see the NE England defense (which had to be run heavy, they had no option).
So he wasted anywhere between ten and fifteen seconds to have his pass package on the field, enough time to assure three plays with a timeout.
Even so, he was not forced to throw on second down, he certainly could have run on second down with a run package, my strength against yours.
If it fails he can call timeout and pass on third down to stop the clock if it fails, and then he has fourth down to set up waterer he thinks will succeed.
So a pass on second down is probably defensible (rhetorically, it was obviously defensible literally) but there is virtually no defense for THAT pass. Corners are taught to jump that route in the end zone, the ball could have been tipped, or caught and popped into the air on contact for an interception with so many defenders around.
(Yes I know only one pass, that one, was intercepted inside the one this year- that stat doesn't say where those passes went) Limitations of statistics).
Wilson could have thrown a fade or bootlegged and passed (I hear he is pretty good at running) instead of such a high risk pass.
Carrol and Bevell deserve the opprobrium they got.

Jeffro said...

Ken, sorry I'm once again late to the discussion, but I 100.00001% agree with you about Idina Menzel (and John Legend). I'm always infuriating my special lady friend, who is crazy about everything Frozen, by saying I prefer the Demi Lovato version at the end, because she knows how to control her pipes better than "Ms. Dazeem". In fact I think Lovato would be better off doing all the songs that Menzel did in the movie. Heck, she probably could have pulled-off the dialog too. I think almost any popular female singer could have done a better job than Menzel. How sad that you and me are in the minority on this one.

I hope they reward John Legend and let him come back next year to do both America The Beautiful AND The National Anthem. His performance of the former was second only to Ray Charles' version. I wouldn't mind if he someday gets to do the halftime performance, especially if he gets his hot wife to be in the show!


Anonymous said...

Pass play in that situation was a bonehead call. I laughed out loud last night watching INSIDE THE NFL. It showed Pete Carroll reacting after the interception and Marshawn Lynch grinning as if to say "You should have handed me the ball dumbass." Check it out!

DrBOP said...

RockGolf :