Big Game Hunt

I may not be the biggest sports fan ever conceived, but I do enjoy certain aspects of sports culture. What's to dislike about gathering with friends, loading up on snacks, checking out the best creative output that marketers can conceive of, and watching a contest that you can immediately discuss with millions of other people? So no, you'll never see me on social media sniffing about how above the Super Bowl I am. I enjoy it, even if the DVR needs to be paused for a moment so the hostess can educate me on what a safety entails.

You can bet that there's plenty of sports analysis flying around about last night's game, but I thought it would be fun to review the Super Bowl as an entertainment experience. They certainly hope to pull in plenty of people each year that don't give a fig about sports, so it seems fair to judge how they did. From the angle of it being an exciting game, there's little that can be done. The players are going to play to win, and if, say, one team excels while the other cannot do a single thing right and the game turns into a giant blowout, DENVER, it's got the potential to be dull. Actually, I rather enjoyed it. I didn't much care who won, so the constant string of humiliations wrought upon the Broncos was pretty fascinating. It was also kind of funny to watch the tone of the announcers slowly evolve over the course of the game, from "Don't worry folks, there's a lot of game to go..." to "Well, they have a lot of work to do, but they can mount a comeback any moment now..." to "God, these people are playing some terrible football."

Aside from that, the commentary was pretty useless. It's not surprising. One of the things that keeps me from being more of a sports fan in general is that inane sideline chatter. Most of it sounds like this. What was it that Erin Andrews said? That if Denver wants to score some points, they should probably stop turning the ball over to Seattle so much? Wow, thanks for that stellar analysis. Sports commentators are terrified of dead air, but I'd rather they contribute when there's actually something relevant to mention than feel pressured to fill every second with babble.

A game so lopsided was fun for some and boring for others, but as I said, nobody can control for the entertainment value of the game itself. What they can control are things like musical performances and the much-anticipated Super Bowl commercials. How did people do on those this year? Queen Latifah sang "America the Beautiful", and looked/sounded like Latifah the Beautiful while doing it. I've actually seen a lot of online debate about opera soprano Renée Fleming's rendition of the National Anthem, which surprises me. I'm not talking about the mouth-breathers who were mortally offended at seeing any opera singer, and loudly agitated for a real 'Murican country singer to spew a puddle of melisma all over the stage. I mean people who are knowledgeable about the more classical arts roundly criticizing the arrangement, and Fleming's embellishments of particular passages. "Why can't someone just sing a straightforward, clear rendition without dipping and soaring and sliding all over the place?" is the gist of several grumbling music student posts I saw. I had no problem with the performance; maybe it wasn't the best arrangement I've ever heard, but vocally, it was lovely. Don't get me wrong, I would totally support a straightforward, clear rendition. But Fleming wasn't up there trying to stoke her ego with wild vibrato or glory notes.

Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers put on the halftime show, and zzz....... Sorry, I nodded off for a second there. What I meant to say is that I really appreciated their zzz...... You get the idea. Here we sit not even twenty-four hours later, and I can't remember a single thing about the halftime show. It was that boring. Now I feel bad for complaining about all that hysteria surrounding Janet Jackson's nipple; a little stupid controversy would be pretty welcome right about now.

That brings us to the ads. They're talked about in as much detail as the game every year, and despite a cute one here or there, they were mostly duds this year. Some weren't too bad: The follow-up to last year's Cheerios ad, Terry Crews partying with the Muppets, Butterfingers suggesting that a married couple would benefit from including a third, and a couple of the beer ads were fairly clever, and brought a smile to my face. Overall, though, the commercials mostly just substituted spectacle for substance. Spending a metric ton of money isn't enough anymore. You can't just have movie stars and fireworks; the concept needs to be interesting. There were only two that stood out to me, both for products/companies that I have no interest in giving my money to. Still, I do need to give them credit. I honestly forgot that Radio Shack was even still in business. They obviously know they have that reputation, and gave us this wonderful, self-effacing ad:

And then, there's Anna Kendrick for Newcastle Brown Ale. This one doesn't need any explanation:

So, despite it being a fairly spare year, entertainment-wise, it was still a fun Super Bowl. I can't recommend not giving a shit who wins the game highly enough.


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