As a longtime fan of the NFL – due primarily to my obsession with the New York Giants – I’ve always looked forward to Super Bowl Sunday, regardless of which teams are competing. It’s a package deal really, the food, friends, commercials, half-time show and yes, even the game itself. And while some years are certainly more exciting than others (the Giants’ last-minute victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII immediately springs to mind), I must admit I was extremely disappointed with the NFL’s championship extravaganza this time around.
Super Bowl XLV – as far as the Green Bay Packers versus the Pittsburgh Steelers – was all right in my book, and I suppose I should be happy that the four quarters of actual football were, if not mind-boggling, at least entertaining. It wasn’t a blow-out, there were very few bad calls (something that’s guaranteed to ruin any good football game) and hey, I was cheering for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, cornerback Charles Woodson and wide receiver Donald Driver of the Green and Gold, not to mention their loyal fanbase of cheeseheads.
No, my problem with this year’s Super Bowl stems from the other attractions which made this the most-watched championship game in NFL history, namely the much-anticipated commercials and “up-to-the-times” half-time show.
And don’t even get me started on Christina Aguilera’s performance of our national anthem, I’m just not going there.
Personally, I find it ridiculously funny how popular Super Bowl commercials have become over the last decade. Then there’s that strange new breed of viewers, who have zero interest in the culmination of the NFL season, who simply tune-in for the $3 million dollar-per-thirty-second advertisements.
My major beef with this year’s televised endorsements, however, was the complete lack of anything original or even remotely entertaining. Unless, that is, you have a penchant for needlessly-violent “comedy” pawned off as advertisement, which I do not. Not to mention the fact that, for some odd reason, men were portrayed throughout the duration of Super Bowl XLV as ignorant, lazy and well, idiotic. I’ll be the first to admit this can be true much of the time, yet I see no reason for the dumbing-down of America with this uneccesary depiction, it’s just not funny.
Of course, there was one exception to this year’s less-than-mediocre commercial offering – Volkswagen’s young Darth Vader and his numerous, futile efforts at channeling “The Force.”
This advertisement (of course) caught my eye immediately, probably because it brought back such fond memories of my childhood. I must add, however, that you’d never have caught me posing as a Dark Lord of the Sith. I’d be much more likely to spend my time (as a child) impersonating Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi. What can I say, I didn’t begin my decent toward the Dark Side until I was a teenager.
And then we have what was billed as the NFL’s attempt to get as far away as possible from the aged rock stars who’ve performed during half-time the last handful of years (ever since the infamous wardrobe malfunction). I suppose the league was worried it was driving away today’s younger crowd, and while Sunday’s over-the-top performance (and I mean that in a bad way) may have succeeded in drawing that particular target audience back to the big show, I’m guessing it definitely drove away the majority of those age 30 and above.
Let me get this straight, a group of strangely-dressed, young pop stars (jumping around) dancing and shouting non-sensical “lyrics” is considered entertainment these days? Last I checked, a musician was someone who actually performed a musical instrument, or at least had a decent voice (and can sing in key), none of which we saw during half-time this year. And I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who wishes they could find whoever made the decision to book the Black Eyed Peas and well, deal them a black eye of their own.
What it’s boiled down to is this, with all the frenzied media attention, a pre-game show that kicks-off at what, 6:30 a.m. now, and the grandiose nature of the entire event, it’s impossible for the Super Bowl these days to ever live up to our expectations.
Whoever coined the phrase “bigger isn’t always better” was right on the mark, in this instance. Year after year the big game seems to get bigger and bigger, as does the letdown when we’re left disappointed with the end result.
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