Superbowl XLV – A Final Word from Our Sponsor

8 02 2011

I Got A Feeling....

Having now had the chance to catch up with everything that happened on Superbowl Sunday that wasn’t game related, it seems that the Bridgestone Half Time Show starring the Black Eyed Peas was not the success that some had hoped for.

Following last years quietly embarrassing performance of The Who – a band that I wish had died/retired before they got old – the crowd in Arlington, Texas were forced to look away from reading the match-day program to watch a futuristic display of synchronized dancing and fist-pumping by Fergie, will.i.am and the other two members of the BEP which was mercifully short. The sight of Slash appearing through the stage (in a specially designed Top Hat) was as unexpected as the subsequent mauling of Sweet Child of Mine by Fergie was unwelcome and the appearance of a gentleman by the name of Usher led me to some frantic googling to discover who he was.

Utilising a cast of extras from Tron: Legacy and a load of dancers with boxes on their heads, the BEP managed to make their greatest hits sound like a medley of uninspiration – which Rolling Stone magazine were quick to label as the “ghastliest half-time show in sports history”.

Which started me thinking about other sports that allow the playing surface to be used as a defacto concert during the game.

I couldn’t think of any.

Sports such as soccer, rugby and cricket have no need for “entertainment” at half-time. After 45 minutes of play in a soccer match, the players are treated to a break of 15 minutes – during which time the crowd are normally entertained by the resident disc jockey spinning a few tunes or interviewing some ex-player by the side of the pitch. Rugby players get ten minutes (and that is relatively new as they used to just change ends after each half!) whereas cricket does take 45 minutes for lunch but that is again time dedicated to interviews and the occasional chance for youngsters to practice their bowling/batting on the outskirts of the pitch.

So the Superbowl is quite unique in wanting to provide additional value-for-money.

If I was the groundsperson, I would probably prefer the chance to get out and repair some divots but in American Football the movement of the ball is not dictated by the quality of the surface or the state of the turf meaning that the chances of a bobble affecting the final result are remote.

This years game was apparently quite exciting. I use the word “apparently” because I have to admit that I didn’t watch the game live. It was recorded and then I fast-forwarded through the intermittent action to get to the important part of the broadcast – and the Half-Time show.

For me, the Superbowl was never about the Packers vs the Steelers or whether Ben Roethlisberger was able to raise his game (he didn’t, got intercepted more than once). No, I wanted to see what consumer goodies I wouldn’t be able to afford and whether the amount of money that it costs to get a Superbowl spot for corporate advertising would produce any memorable commercials.

On the whole, I was disappointed again.

Cars, Beer, Crisps (or chips as I believe they are known), More Beer, More Cars, Chocolate, some Internet Service Providers and some more cars.

Celebrity endorsements from Ozzy Osbourne (with Sharon lurking like some desperate wannabe) and Justin Bieber, Eminem, Roseanne Barr (desperately trying to be funny whilst being hit by a log), Richard Lewis (?), and Kim Kardashian. A commercial for http://www.godaddy.co that featured a mysterious hot girl who turned out to be Joan Rivers and some chimpanzees that were more convincing as CareerBuilders. Some spots for Pepsi Max and Doritos that got a laugh on first viewing that will probably turn into irritation as they get played on heavy rotation for the foreseeable future – although the sight of a worker licking his colleague’s finger and then ripping another’s trousers off to sniff the cheese-laden backside was funny but disturbing.

One Star, Two Muppets.

The only one that I would probably be happy to see again was the Volkswagen spot which had a little boy dressed as Darth Vader (complete with Imperial March soundtrack) as he tries to use the force on various items around the house before being tricked into believing he has succeeded with his father’s car – spoiler alert : the Dad presses the button and freaks the kid out.

Apart from that, the entire experience kinda passed me by. I appreciate that this is a huge day in American sports, understand that it’s not so much about the two teams and their fans (although apparently the “real fans” are priced out of the market) but about celebrating the end of another professional football season with as much corporate-sponsored entertainment as possible.

But when the topics of discussion are not so much about the game but the quality of the commercials being aired during the numerous breaks in play, it becomes very hard for a casual observer to actually care about who wins or loses. The American Football season is so short that it becomes something that doesn’t become interesting until after the baseball season has finished and expires at the midway point of basketball/ice hockey. And yet for millions of fans across the country (and in other parts of the globe), the Superbowl marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

I just wonder what the players do with their time until the entire circus starts up again in August. After all, it’s not as if they have any international competitions to prepare for.

But that is a discussion for another day. This Limey is just looking forward to the start of baseball in April and I have my tickets already.

2011, the year when the Boston Red Sox reclaim their place at the top table. World Series, here we come.

Failing that, there is always Major League Soccer……….

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3 responses

8 02 2011
Superbowl XLV – A Final Word from Our Sponsor « Limeyview | directoryofarlington

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9 02 2011
Matty Mac

“Failing” and “Major League Soccer” always seem to wind up in the same sentence together.

The trucks left Fenway, bound for Florida, yesterday. Hallelujah.

9 02 2011
davidjbolton

Thanks for that! It wasn’t intentional to put those words into that context, but I am actually looking forward to the MLS season.

can’t wait for April, I have a ticket for the Rays on the 13th. Go Sox

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