Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl XLV

For the average American, the Super Bowls Sunday experience can be broken down into four distinct aspects: the spread (the food), the game, the halftime show, and the commercials. Let's see how this year's SB stacked up:

The Spread
Pizza, buffalo wings, chips, dip, and American beer? Check to all of those. This year our house even featured two, that's right, two types of queso dip. You weren't ready for that, were you? I didn't think so.

Highlight: Did I tell you that there were two types of queso? And one had bacon in it. Jack. Pot.

: The spicy beef/buffalo chicken/potato in puff pastry hors d'oeuvres purchased from Costco were more pasty than filling and kind of bland.

Biggest Surprise
: Batman cupcakes that turned your mouth blue and had Batman rings on top.

The Game
Has anyone else been impressed with the quality of the last few Super Bowls? The overall quality of play has been great the past few years and last night's game was no exception. Excellent play on both sides of the ball by both teams seem counter intuitive, but I would argue that the Packers and Steelers played well on both offense and defense. Turnovers, sacks, long touchdown passes, tough runs; they were all there. It's hard to ask for anything more.

Highlight: Nick Collins's pick-6 on the first play from scrimmage following a Packers' offensive touchdown was an exciting spot in the night, but a drive-extending 31 yard connection from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter showed that the GB QB has the steely nerves and talent to make the big plays when it counts on the sport's largest stage.

Disappointment: Roethlisberger not getting Lawrence Taylor'd by anyone on the Packers.

Biggest Surprise: The Packers ability to keep things together and hold onto a win in the 4th quarter despite game injuries to important starters like Charles Woodson, Sam Shields, and Donald Driver.

The Halftime Show
For several years the Super Bowl Halftime Show has been terrible. Overcompensating for the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" of Super Bowl XXXVIII, the minds behind this show have only had "classic rock" acts perform during halftime. Normally I'm all about classic rock music, but it's just sad when you have music legends trying to perform at a level that they're just not able to anymore. Granted I'm no Black Eyed Peas fan, but it was getting really hard to watch 60-year-old men stage slide their crotches right into the camera. I thought this year's performance was pretty decent, but that may have been a result of my extremely low expectations.

Highlight: The cameo appearances by Slash and Usher (while not totally necessary) was neat and I was impressed that they were able to keep this a secret for as long as they did.

Disappointment: Usher has a better voice than any of the Black Eyed Peas, but he spent too much time dancing for the audience really enjoy it. Damnit Usher, we know you've got smooth moves, but I want you to make me want to make love in this club.

Biggest Surprise: I actually sat down and watched the whole thing, which is the first time this has happened in years. Well played halftime show, well played indeed.

The Commercials
Some people watch for the games, some people just use it as an excuse to get drunk on a Sunday night, and some people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. The commercials can be hit or miss, but there are usually some real favorites that stand out and become a part of our culture (for better or worse) for years.

Highlight: The 'Star Wars VW' commercial went viral before it aired during the Super Bowl (I'll admit I was within the first 1,000 to view it on youtube a few days ago, I kid you not) and has quickly become one of the favorites.

Disappointment: There were so many "old" commercials. I always expect companies paying $3 million for 30 seconds to spend a little extra time on the commercials they submit for the Super Bowl coverage, but there were a lot of commercials that I had seen before, and many of them weren't very good either. Come on ad execs. Get it together.

Biggest Surprise: So maybe surprise isn't the right way to go, but I really really liked Motorola's commercial for its Zoom tablet. It was smart and savvy in the way it parodied Apple's infamous "1984" commercial by portraying Apple as the "Big Brother" that is making us conformists instead of the "freedom" company they originally portrayed themselves to be. It was artistic and a sharp contrast to a lot of the more slapstick offering we've come to expect in Super Bowl ads, and it got its point across while showing some of the Zoom's functions. A nice surprise that shows how commercials can still be smart.

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