Monday, February 08, 2021

My snarky Super Bowl review

In one of the more boring Super Bowls of the LV, Tampa Bay won 31-9, except on Fox News where Kansas City won in a landslide.  

CBS tried to sell the game as an example of unity.  Jim Nantz said, “We all unify to watch the game as one.”  Later, Bruce Springsteen voiced an ad for Jeep extolling the virtues of unity.  Unfortunately, many of the people the Boss was trying to reach hate him because they think he’s Jewish.  

For the first time in LV years people paid attention to the announcers.  Well…maybe for the first half.   Even the 30,000 cardboard cutouts in the stands looked bored the last two hours.  

Jim Nantz deserves more credit than he receives.  He’s incredibly observant and spots things on the field even his analysts don’t.  Just wish he showed some personality.  That’s why Tony Romo gets the big bucks and Ian Eagle was standing by the stratocaster in makeup.  

I love Tony’s enthusiasm, but 80% of his analysis goes right over my head.  He needs to remember he’s talking to mostly casual fans who only know Patrick Mahomes from Allstate commercials.  

Also, I don’t know why networks feel they have to pay any analysts huge salaries.  The same number of people are going to watch the game if Tony Romo or Pee Wee Herman provides analysis.    

When a fan ran out onto the field I was only sorry I wasn’t listening to Kevin Harlan describe it on the radio.   Now there’s a guy who should be getting the mega bucks.  

I skipped the Super Bowl pre-game coverage.  Nineteen hours of Phil Sims and EQUALIZER promos.    If you’re going to devote that much airtime to preview one game (and be wrong as it turned out — so much for “the quarterback duel of the ages”), at least mix in a telethon for Jerry’s Kids.  Phil can gush over Patrick Mahomes and then Jack Jones can sing “Wives & Lovers.”  

Tom Brady wasn’t the only one to come through again. Amanda Gorman’s ode to America’s essential workers was moving and spot on.  

H.E.R. did a beautiful job of “America the Beautiful.”  Eric Church and Bleeding Gums Murphy sang “the National Anthem.”    

The G.O.A.T. version of the “the National Anthem” was done by Whitney Houston in Super Bowl XXLVIXIIXLVIXX.  

Here’s a fun nugget: “Expatriate (or “Ex-Patriot)” Tom Brady is older than Ed Asner was the first three years of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.  Talk about spunk.

Jim Nantz had several fun nuggets.  Example after the coin toss:  “This is the eleventh straight Super Bowl where the winning team has deferred.”   Uh… the winning team always defers.  

Considering both teams wore red on a green field I felt sorry for anyone who was colorblind.  

Another fun Nantz nugget:  Telling us that when Tom Brady got off the bus, he walked out onto the field and gazed.”   And…?  And…?  Ian Eagle would have had a punchline.  

There were two commercials for the same audience:  One inviting passengers to fly to outer space and the other to join Scientology.  

As usual, the Halftime Show was way over-produced and cheesier than any Orange Bowl Halftime.  And the sound was atrocious.  The Weeknd sounded like he was at the bottom of a well.  You couldn’t understand a word he sang.  The golden hall of mirrors simulated the side effects of the second Moderna shot, and then there was the big finale with the “Claude Rains Memorial Invisible Man” dance troupe doing a dinner theatre recreation of “Thriller.”   

And keeping with that theme, the Weeknd’s backdrop looked like lit tombstones in a graveyard.  

If it was a salute to the dead, why not just replay the Prince Halftime Show?  That was spectacular.  

At one point they showed the big full moon over the stadium along with fireworks and I thought it was the opening to THE HONEYMOONERS.  

If they’re just going to have a solo singer, save the money and let Jack Jones sing “Wives & Lovers.”  

The commercials were more of the same.  This year’s theme was cramming as many random celebrities into each spot as they could.  Like mini-Superhero rendezvous.   You had the CBS Avengers climb the Paramount mountain, the Scott’s Miracle Glo X-Men with John Travolta and Martha Stewart, and the Bud Light Justice League of America.  

The Vince Lombardi spot and CGI was very stirring.  However, the only people who recognized Vince Lombardi are the ones now eligible for the vaccine.  

One good thing about Kansas City trailing (except on Fox News) was that we stopped hearing the “tomahawk” chant.   I wonder if they’re going to have to change their name like the Redskins and Indians did.   There has to be something more identified with KC.  I know there’s that Wilbert Harrison big hit song from 1959.  Maybe “the Kansas City Crazy Little Women?”  Just a thought.  

There was the M&M commercial suggesting you could apologize for anything and all would be forgiven with a package of M&M’s.  That would only fly if they showed Donald Trump giving one to everyone in America saying, “I’m sorry for trying to overthrow the country.”  

The worst commercials:  The Jason Alexander sweatshirt (yeah, SEINFELD is in the Zeitgeist), Wayne’s World (why not bring back Rowan & Martin’s LAUGH IN?), and anything with Anthony Anderson’s mother.  I am so sick of Anthony Anderson’s mother.  Oh… and the Cutwater ad that suggested you drink tequila and then go kayaking.  

Not much to say about the game itself.  Lou Grant could’ve marched the Bucs down the field.  Or, according to all the CBS promos — Queen Latifah. 


Anonymous said...

The Stanley Cup, American League Pennet and a Super Bowl win all within 6 months for.....Tampa? Of all cities, it's this one? Even worse, St. Petersburgh must feel like Jim Belushi.

Troy McClure said...

"Unfortunately, many of the people the Boss was trying to reach hate him because they think he’s Jewish."

It won't be long till Republican Reichsleiter Marjorie Taylor Greene declares Springsteen was only able to sell 150 million records by using a Jewish brain laser that made people buy them.

For those wondering what I'm talking about, google "Marjorie Taylor Greene Jewish space laser" and you'll see where the party of Lincoln has ended up.

Ben Scripps said...

"The Vince Lombardi spot and CGI was very stirring."

Hard disagree here. Between the Playstation 3 level CGI character and the zooming into the giant LCD screen so as to make out individual pixels, I found the whole thing tremendously bad. I think "Vince" was saying something about unity and Covid or something, but I was so busy trying to figure out what the hell they were doing that I missed it.

Jeff P said...

I always tune in at 3:31 (PT), I'll make it 3:36..

Jim Nantz is so smooth....he makes joe buck look even worse.

I have a rule at my house...if joe buck does the game...I sync my radio/TV with the great Kevin Harlan.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Wayne's World commercial was innovative and fun, while the Springsteen

commercial was as surprisingly entertaining as the Buccaneers defense.

JeffinOhio55 said...

Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are way too old to still be doing Wayne and Garth. Myers is 57 and Carvey is 65!

In all, the whole Super Bowl experience was the same as always - too, too much.

Gregg B said...

The Kansas City Updates? 🎵 Everything is up to date in Kansas City. 🎵

Brian said...

This is one of the few times that I appreciated the stuff before the game more than I did the game itself. I liked the version of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing", "America the Beautiful" and the National Anthem was fine, until the US Army soldiers they showed DID NOT HAVE THEIR HANDS OVER THEIR HEARTS DURING THE ANTHEM. Well, at least they weren't kneeling.

(I'm kidding, for the irony-deficient)

I wasn't the biggest fan of the halftime show, either, BUT, look at this list of the Halftime Shows of yore.

A couple of things come to mind:

- Up With People got a LOT of gigs
- Al Hirt got a LOT of gigs
- Rock and Roll/Rhythm and Blues, save an appearance during the "Something Grand" (as in "pianos") segment by Chubby Checker is not acknowledged until 1990! The previous year featured, "1950's Rock and Roll (Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D)", which starred "Elvis Presto" Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard could have conceivably been watching from home and seen their work lipsynched by a Elvis-impersonating magician.

1993 FINALLY brought in Michael Jackson after people en masse turned to Fox to watch a special "In Living Color" segment, which was shown in this version ONCE. There was a scurrilous comment about a gerbil, a wedding dress and Richard Gere. It netted 22 million viewers, according to the entry.

If you want to watch the man that makes Sha Na Na look like Punk in comparison, here is Elvis Presto! By the way, "Good Golly Miss Molly" in his version, "...sure likes fun!", whereas before, "...she sure likes to ball"

Say what you will about the Weeknd, but he wasn't THIS bad.

Mike Doran said...

Because I don't gamble, I consequently have no interest whatsoever in football (collegiate or professional).
That said, I often find myself reading columns like this one, and marveling at just how much of them I actually understand on the first pass.

I recall (first-hand, believe it or don't) the night before the first one, when Jackie Gleason plugged CBS's broadcast at the close of his show: " ... it's gonna be murder!"
Little did he know ...

A lifetime or so later, the Super Bore's status as a national holy day of obligation is still a trifle unsettling to a non-fanboy like me.

You know, Ken, I thought I had something more to say about this, but the sheer elephantiasis of it all is more than my increasing age can handle.
Standing down now ...

Gary Karp said...

This is so damn funny. I'd maybe substitute "Wives and Lovers" with something even more appropriate like Buddy Greco's "The Lady Is A Tramp"

Jeff Boice said...

I was not that interested in the game this year- KC won last year, and Tampa had Tom Brady. What really intrigued me was that people could bet on the length of the national anthem and on what color of Gatorade the winning coach was drenched with. And the fuss that broke out on Friday when a reporter timed the anthem rehearsal at 2:16, and posted that on Twitter. The game-time anthem came in at 2:16.

I associate KC with Barbecue.

By Ken Levine said...

"Gary Karp,"

Buddy Greco was my first thought but he passed away. Would have used him singing "Around the World."

Cowboy Surfer said...

I draw the line at anyone who drinks Budweiser Zero...

Jim Carson said...

Right on for the poor audio during the halftime show, terrible! And the commercials overall...stupid.

Ere I Saw Elba said...

Wilbert Harrison: I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come. They got some crazy little women there, and I'm gonna get me one"

Slim Pickens: "I paid you to lay some track, not jump around like a bunch of Kansas City faggots!"

To each his own.

Michael said...

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report within two weeks. That's all that matters in sports.

Anonymous said...

Who WAS the guy who sang the half time show? They never gave his name and I'd never seem him anywhere or heard any of the songs before.

mmmmarrrk said...

Wow - the CBS shows being promoted all looked awful!!! Who watches this channel?

Liggie said...

If I don't have a rooting interest or intriguing storyline (like a Lions-Browns matchup), I ignore the Super Bowl. I instead watched the 6 Nations rugby games I had recorded. Seems like I made the more entertaining decision.

And with no TV timeouts in rugby (continuous play like soccer) and no halftime entertainment (the subs need to warm up on the field when the starters are in the locker room), each of the three games was over within two hours. So refreshing.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Calvin Trillin used to kvell about the food at Arthur Bryant's BBQ restaurant in Kansas City, so maybe -- the Smokers? The Countermen? The Spareribs?

Tallulah Morehead said...

Nice to read this hilarious confirmation of the wisdom of my not looking at one second of this absurd, overgrown football game.

Call Me Mike said...

I love that they had a poet at the Superbowl. Now if they could just cut back on the musical acts. How about a standup comedian at the next halftime show? Get Dave Chappelle or Bill Burr up there to make fun of the terrible commercials. Hey, finally something that can bring unity!

cbm said...

The only way I would have watched is if they actually did have Pee Wee Herman doing commentary.

Anonymous said...

The best part of the National Anthem was this guy.

How about the Kansas City Ribs?

As 'sister from another mister' across the state, I was rooting for KC. But how can a team win when one of their coaches (the son of the head coach) drives drunk and plows into a couple of vehicles and severely injures a couple of kids on Thursday night?

Pam, St. Louis

Anonymous said...

Gotta hand it to Brady. He IS the Goat. Oh, and I hate spunk! Janice B.

Unknown said...

Why were Cybermen wearing red coats marching on the field at half time?

Unknown said...

Remember last year, Drumpf tweeted: congratulations to the “Great State of Kansas” Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl LIV win over the San Francisco 49ers....

Nick Jonas Fan said...

> The same number of people are going to watch the game if Tony Romo or Pee Wee Herman provides analysis.

I hard disagree with this. I won't turn off my team if it's not Tony Romo, but I may turn off a game I'd otherwise watch if it had poor announcing. And if there are two games on at the same time, I am likely to choose Romo over Dan Fouts.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Just read that Roy Christopher's gone:

Barb said...

KC won the coin toss, and that's all they won. The Chiefs name will likely stay, as will Braves and Blackhawks. But KC is known for jazz and blues, so maybe the KC Jazzy Blue Chiefs someday?

By the end of the 1st half it was clear which team came to play so I abandoned CBS, but occasionally flipped back to see if KC had shown up. Not even on an x-ray.

As good as Jim Nance is, I always feel like he's calling golf and everyone should whisper.

Like the other sports, this was just another exhibition game, they aren't real til we're back to "normal." Whatever that will be. Que sera sera.

Bob K said...

You wanted Kevin Harlan? Ask and you shall receive:

Troy McClure said...

Don't casually use the word spunk around Brits. That word means something VERY different over there.

ninja3000 said...

Ken, thank you for the Jack Jones shout-outs. I always thought of him as the poor man's Robert Goulet...

Liggie said...

Speaking of the Chiefs' moniker, sports law professor Mike McCann discusses the trademark law complexity of changing a team's nickname, especially on top of a nickname with racial connotations:

McCann also mentions the imminent changes for the Cleveland Indians and Washington Football Team. I personally like the Cleveland Spiders and the Washington Redtails, both of which have strong local significance (and both of which seem to be taken over by patent trolls).

Kate Katcher said...

As much as I'd like to see them simply change the references to Native American culture in their artwork (get rid of the arrowhead, please), I don't see anything wrong with being the Chiefs; Think CEO, CFO, Fire Chief, etc. But as long as we're talking about degrading names, I don't think I'd will be happy with your suggesting "Crazy Little Women", Kansas or not.

Jeff Baker said...

Dear Ken:
I just stumbled across your blog! Love it! Thanks so much for this, my husband and I watch "Cheers" every night!

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Ed Asner's high school football photo was displayed on the sets of the "Mary Tyler Moore" show and "Lou Grant." Asner has posted the familiar photo on Twitter.

Mike Barer said...

I think that since it was Super Bowl LV, Las Vegas would have been the choice location.

Harold P said...

I totally agree about Anthony Anderson's mother. I really enjoy the reboot of To Tell the Truth. I think it has much more life than any other version. But I cannot take his mother's constant racist attitude. If a Caucasian were making the same kind of statements as she does the show would have been cancelled in its first week. Racism works both ways, you know.

Roger Owen Green said...

I recorded the 4 hours before the SB to see the Biden interview. Most pieces were fluff, but there were pieces on the history of black players (Y- 1920-1933, but then banned for 13 years?) and black QBs in the NFL. That's why God invented the DVR.

btw, to your readers. the singer was The Weeknd. My 16 y.o. knows all of his songs.

Headacher said...

I had no idea who the guy was that turned out to be Vince Lombardi. My wife and I were more curious as to whether or not it was Al Pacino doing the voice over. We were also shocked at how awful the sound was for the singer during the half-time "show?"

(Kevin FitzMaurice: ) Regarding Ed Asner's high school football photo, that same photo appeared years earlier on an episode of "The Fugitive". In "Three Cheers For Little Boy Blue", Asner played a man who lost out on a football career due to an accident. Asner's photo hangs on his character's workplace wall.

Anonymous said...

I have to take exception to your knock on the Chiefs as a name for the Kansas City football team. I know it is somehow supposed to be "racist" -- but that's a meaning assigned to such names by people who don't know their history (and who didn't recognize Vince Lombardi, either).

Team names like Braves, Chiefs, and Indians are a homage generally to the Carlisle Indians -- who, under Coach Pop Warner, completely dominated football at the turn of the 20th Century -- and a tribute in particular to the greatest athlete to play for the Carlisle Indians, the winner of the decathlon and pentathlon at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, who later played for the New York Giants in baseball and the Canton Bulldogs in football and who is credited as a founding father of the National Football League, Jim Thorpe, a member of the Sac and Fox nation.

As high school, college, and pro teams chose nicknames, they tried to capture some of the magic of Thorpe and the Carlisle Indians by choosing similar names.

Now, granted, the very purpose of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (which had more or less a high school or trade school curriculum despite playing a major college schedule) is problematic under modern standards: The school removed Indian children from their families with a goal of eradicating all traces of the students' culture and getting them to fit in seamlessly into the dominant American culture. But modern people have to realize that this was pretty much a progressive view at the time the school was launched -- when the opposing view was 'a good Injun is a dead Injun.' You can also lament as disingenuous the sentimentality of many Americans, after the indigenous tribes were fully pacified, for the noble, 'vanished' Indian.

But no one can honestly assert that the use of those nicknames for sports teams was in any way a racist slur because they were anything but that.

Thorpe should hold a special place in every American's heart if only for his All-American response to the King of Sweden at the aforementioned 1912 Olympics: The King said, "You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world." And Thorpe said, "Thanks, King."

There's a second reason why the Chiefs name is particularly appropriate in Kansas City. And I know you know this one, Ken.

What was the name of the first professional franchise in Kansas City? The Kansas City Monarchs, of course. Every team that has come into KC since has also paid tribute to the Monarchs by adopting a similar name: The Kansas City Kings (though now in Sacramento), the Kansas City Royals, and, of course, the Chiefs.

Mike Barer said...

It does matter, however, having a football commentator. I have no ratings data, but I thought that Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football was a disaster.

Russ DiBello said...

I cannot wait for your take on the re-rebooted "Equalizer" with legendary action star Queen Latifah, which I know you watched! Just give us plenty of warning so I can grab the Cheetos I didn't eat during the Super Bowl.

And BTW, millions of people know who Vince Lombardi is! He runs the Vince Lombardi Service Plaza near Exit 17 of the New Jersey Turnpike.

JS said...

I got so dizzy during the Weeknds half-time show when he went, into, I think it was a gold maze, I had to change the channel.

I used to watch the Old "Equalizer" with Edward Woodward. Last good after-show I remember is they ran a Grey's Anatomy where Kyle Chandler was trying to remove a bomb from somebody in surgery and he got blown up.

And a career was born.

Friday Night Lights - here he comes!

I like Queen Latifah. I'll check it out.