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Feb 04 2013

The best and worst review of yesterday’s Superbowl

It fits my perception of the event. Tom Shales reviews the Superbowl, and talks about the half-time show, the pregame show, some weird interruption in the game, the announcers, and, of course, the commercials, and nowhere anywhere in there does he talk about the game. I don’t know who played or who won, and I don’t care, and neither, apparently, does Tom Shales. Football teams are just floating corporations whose purpose for existence is to scoop up specially fast meaty people, give them a brief period of pampering and unwarranted glory, and in return, grinds them up and gives them brain damage for the entertainment of the people.

And now the hype surrounding this Superbowl nonsense has grown so huge that it has completely drowned the game. I’m not going to watch it ever, and for that matter, I’m not interested in watching any football game.

78 comments

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  1. 1
    shouldbeworking

    There was a football game yesterday? In the middle of ice fishing season? Silly ball players.

  2. 2
    captainoblivious

    But it amuses the Masses. Keeps them entertained and prevents them from clinging to their guns and religion.

  3. 3
    Ray Thaw

    So he was reviewing the show, not the game…which is clearly a secondary consideration…we watched the commercials over our shoulders…sound off for game, on for some commercials.

  4. 4
    Gregory in Seattle

    @shouldbeworking #1 – I think PZ is talking about the thing at the Beyonce concert.

  5. 5
    mikeconley

    It’s sad that 2001 got it all wrong, and that two of my favourite dystopian science fiction films of the ’70s — Soylent Green and Rollerball — seem to have got it right.

    When they start putting the last forests in domes, it’ll be time to just turn off the lights.

  6. 6
    georgewiman

    Would this be a good time to mention that taxpayers spent > $450m to rebuild the Superdome? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that figure.

  7. 7
    georgewiman

    Oops, sorry – I got the amount wrong. ThinkProgress sez $470m.

  8. 8
    unbound

    As usual, the Puppy Bowl was far more entertaining with just as much corporate logos / commercials going on. At least the Puppy Bowl had some commercials about Despicable Me 2 which were much better than any of the commercials at the Super Bowl.

  9. 9
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Did VW show their racist crap add or not?

  10. 10
    Lou Doench

    It was a fun game… many twists and turns. We had a party and my brother announced that his wife was expecting in August. Good times.

    I guess that makes me a bad person?

  11. 11
    grumpyoldfart

    I like football – American, Australian, and Irish. Three great codes.

  12. 12
    jstackpo

    Awww… guess who lost a bet.

  13. 13
    carlie

    Meanwhile, Coca-Cola asked viewers to vote for their favorite character in a commercial that showed various stereotypical folk — cowboys, an old-fashioned Arab sheikh, a bunch of post-apocalyptic road warriors — racing through the desert to get to a Coke.

    I was surprised at how many people didn’t get what was going on there (based on tweets and liveblog comments I saw). Looked to me like characters from movies that take place in deserts – Lawrence of Arabia, Mad Max, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and a cowboy movie (probably a specific one, but I couldn’t tell which one).

  14. 14
    myeck waters

    We went to a movie early Sunday afternoon, and the annoying video program they play before the (adverts they play before the trailers they play before the actual) movie actually “presented” a sneak peak at two of the Super Bowl ads, as if we were getting a special treat. I mean, the entire thing is a bunch of promos anyway, but at lest most of it is promos for the things that are supposed to be the entertainment.

  15. 15
    timgueguen

    Hearing about the blackout makes me regret I didn’t watch it. Of course seeing that interesting bit would have required watching all the uninteresting bits. Once the Grey Cup is held for the CFL in November my football watching is done for the year.

  16. 16
    brucegee1962

    But apparently the you can’t vote for the Arab to get the Coke. What’s up with that? Is Coke just trying to randomly piss off different minorities?

    I mean, it doesn’t bother me that he was portrayed as a stereotype, because everyone in the ad was a stereotype. But why shouldn’t he get the same shot as everyone else?

  17. 17
    Raging Bee

    … and a cowboy movie (probably a specific one, but I couldn’t tell which one).

    There are no specific cowboy movies, except for “Tombstone” and “Silverado.”

  18. 18
    maidao-horton

    I love Superbowl Sunday. There are no lines at the store, the state parks are deserted, and I get a lot of attention from my server at my favorite restaurant. It’s as close to the apocalypse as we will ever get around here.

    As advertising goes, Tide deserves an honorable mention for their Miracle Stain commercial.

    http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-super-bowl-commercials/0ap2000000134733/Miracle-Stain

  19. 19
    melissajones

    I can’t believe PZ is dissing Superb Owl Sunday! Who doesn’t enjoy a superb owl, seriously?

  20. 20
    Gregory in Seattle

    My go-to site is SuperBowl-Commercials.org, which has the commercials and some (usually) funny commentary.

    Loved the Tide commercial (especially that it poked fun at religionists.)

  21. 21
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Priscilla Queen of the Desert

    The Rockettes were in Priscilla?

    Fuck Coke for choosing, for whatever stupid reason, not to feature Drag Queens in a clear reference one of the most iconic and campy LGBTQ films out there.

    Fucking fucks.

  22. 22
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    (Incidentally, I didn’t watch the super bowl.)

  23. 23
    vaiyt

    Every owl is superb.

  24. 24
    Reptile Dysfunction

    Steve Tasker certainly did not acquit himself as well as
    Al Michaels did during the earthquake world series.
    Admittedly, the stakes were higher then.

  25. 25
    Jadehawk

    Did VW show their racist crap add or not?

    according to my twitter feed, yes.

  26. 26
    Ingdigo Jump

    So Doritos had a commercial where a man tries to use a magic dog to commit rape

  27. 27
    PatrickG

    I don’t know PZ…. by not watching, you’re going to be woefully unprepared for the Congressional hearings on how the power outage damaged our standing abroad. I mean, if we can’t reliably supply power to the Most Important Sporting Event Ever…..

  28. 28
    Nemo

    Shales is a TV reviewer. The game itself is amply covered by the Post’s sports reporters.

  29. 29
    poxyhowzes

    We have never owned a television set, but after moving to Columbus, OH, about halfway through Woody Hayes’s career as head coach for Ohio State, we succumbed to fan fever enough to tune in the radio when the Buckeyes were playing.

    One year the Buckeyes went to the Rose Bowl, and we decided to rent a TV to watch the game on New Year’s day. It was then that I realized that I literally *can’t* watch a football game — I have no idea what to look for on the field, how to recognize any given formation, what numbers are assigned to what players, or any of the other visual arcana associated with the game.

    Moreover, commentary on TV is not intended to “describe” anything that’s happening on the field, IMHO, but rather to demonstrate how much better the announcers would be if they were coaching the teams, to argue vicariously with the referees in about 1/3 of the referees’ calls, and to read endless and largely mindless statistics off the secret “announcer/commentator” files on their laptops.

    pH

  30. 30
    Nemo

    Sorry, make that “the Sun-Times’ sports reporters”.

  31. 31
    Thorne

    and a cowboy movie (probably a specific one, but I couldn’t tell which one).

    Sounds like it could be Hidalgo, which would fit with the theme. But I didn’t watch, so I can only guess.

    by not watching, you’re going to be woefully unprepared for the Congressional hearings on how the power outage damaged our standing abroad

    Oh good! More bafflegab to keep the loonies from doing anything really meaningful.

  32. 32
    Jadehawk

    the power outage damaged our standing abroad

    oh, that one’s easy. since furriners don’t give a flying fuck about gridiron/handegg, no one abroad noticed.

    :-p

  33. 33
    penguinninja

    Truly the highlight of the Superbowl, nay, the entire playoffs, was the smarmy god-bothering of Ray Lewis, Ravens linebacker. When allegations surfaced that he’d used performance-enhancing drugs, the right reverend Ray blamed it on Satan deceiving the masses.

    Maybe he and Tim Tebow can take their bullshit Football & Jesus show on the road in the offseason.

  34. 34
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Wanted to destroy my TV when that Paul Harvey “God Created Farmers” pablum was done.

    If corporate US actually cared about farmers, they would not have set it up where they are foreclosed against and stripped of their possessions

    Cover up the class warfare (Upper class defrauding working class.) with such pandering shit..

  35. 35
    Rob Grigjanis

    American football: 12 minutes of playing time, a 60 minute clock, and 3 hours from start to finish. The attraction must be the number of possible pee breaks.

  36. 36
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    As the game was shown on the BBC in the UK (so no adverts) there was a lot of gaps filled in with punditry. I was half-watching whilst doing something else and gave up before the break.

  37. 37
    epicure

    I watched a real game – Italy beating France in the Rugby Union Six Nations…

  38. 38
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Yes, epicure, let us descend to regional snobbery. How clever.

  39. 39
    drxym

    For me it’s a toss up between American football, baseball, cricket, formula 1, and NASCAR for which is the most mind numbing televised sport.

  40. 40
    ChasCPeterson

    I’m not going to watch it ever, and for that matter, I’m not interested in watching any football game.

    And this makes you feel smug for some reason?
    You’re complicit if you own a TV set.

  41. 41
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Wanted to destroy my TV when that Paul Harvey “God Created Farmers” pablum was done.

    I was glad my kids were in bed already by that point, because that ad made me blurt out, “What the fuck is this bullshit?”

  42. 42
    auditorydamage

    Moreover, commentary on TV is not intended to “describe” anything that’s happening on the field, IMHO, but rather to demonstrate how much better the announcers would be if they were coaching the teams, to argue vicariously with the referees in about 1/3 of the referees’ calls, and to read endless and largely mindless statistics off the secret “announcer/commentator” files on their laptops.

    The concept of the play-by-play announcer seems to be dying. I work at a company that produces loads of described video, and we’re doing a run of live-described baseball games once the season starts again. When we described a game back in the fall, my jaw dropped once I realized that the describer was doing what a radio play-by-play announcer would have done, and doing a better job IMHO than the main broadcaster’s announcer. The TV crew relies so heavily on the assumption that the viewers know what’s going on that little details like pitch count, player locations, etc. get ignored in favour of random blather about whatever subject crosses their minds at a given moment. It’s reached a point where action happens on screen, and the announcers are busy rambling about some inside-baseball matter or a debate about who has the slicker shoes instead of recounting what’s going on. Apparently, everyone who watches TV has perfect vision and knowledge of the game or something.

    I find that football announcers are a bit less sloppy in that last regard, mostly because they have clear opportunities to pontificate in between plays and during possession changes. Unfortunately, the pace of pro football games has slowed due to the prevalence of TV timeouts. My family used to have season tickets to a perennially losing team, and it was obvious when the officials had to stop the game so the broadcaster could squeeze in a couple of ads between plays or possession changes.

    I find that I enjoy the game itself, due to being brought up in a football-heavy subculture (unusual for Canuckistan, but being cheek-to-jowl with the US border has interesting results), but the ludicrous pageantry, cheesy amplification of the competition, and avalanche of stupid advertising make watching it on TV painful and embarrassing. I went for dinner with a friend and her toddler last night; my partner won’t even watch a game.

    It’s kinda sad – I don’t mind sports, kind of enjoy them, would play them if my eyes didn’t stink, but the crap attached to the games repulses me. No, I don’t want to hear about how a particular truck or beer will make me a real man, and stop waving that flag in my face.

    *rant done*

  43. 43
    Lou Doench

    @auditorydamage
    To be fair, the CBS crew is probably the worst #1 announcing crew in sports. Phil Simms is just a clueless color man who adds nothing to the broadcast. Cris Collinsworth would have done a much much better job.

  44. 44
    bcmystery

    I don’t like a thing which other people like, making me superior to those other people.

  45. 45
    scienceavenger

    Football is combat chess, and that makes it the best sport out there IMO. If you didn’t enjoy this game, one of the most exciting Super Bowls in a while, there’s no hope for you. Pity all the social nonsense attached to it obscures that so much, and has so many people feeling so smug and superior dismissing it. At least it has scoring, something that vastly overrated borefest of a similar name most of world obsesses over could use.

  46. 46
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    And an other person playing the game of regional snobbery

    Meh..

  47. 47
    magistramarla

    We went to a Super Bowl party. It was our very first, and we’re middle-aged.
    I suppose that it says something about the crowd that we were with that the only times that the house got quiet was during the half-time show and during a few of the more amusing commercials.
    It was a really nice party!

  48. 48
    qwerty

    I went to my favorite gay bar to watch the game. It has two sides. On one side, the game was shown, on the other, show tunes which were interrupted with Beyonce’s half-time show.

  49. 49
    Rob Grigjanis

    @45: “that vastly overrated borefest of a similar name”

    Oh no! I wasted 40 years of my life and a knee playing TVOBOASN! *sob*
    I blame Bobby Moore and Eddie Gray.

  50. 50
    qwerty

    “For me it’s a toss up between American football, baseball, cricket, formula 1, and NASCAR for which is the most mind numbing televised sport.”

    No, poker tournaments win hands down.

  51. 51
    pensnest

    drxym

    For me it’s a toss up between American football, baseball, cricket, formula 1, and NASCAR for which is the most mind numbing televised sport.

    Wait, you forgot golf.

    *wakes up* What was I saying?

  52. 52
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    I’ll admit to enjoying the game, especially after the power came back on when it looked like SF might actually pull off a comeback. I’m not a big football fan but I was pulling for the Ravens because Chris Culliver is an asshat and while I was glad to see how quickly the management dissasociated themselves from his comments the qualifying defensiveness (he’s just a young guy, he was caught off guard, he didn’t really mean it) was pretty pathetic. On the other hand you have Raven’s linbacker Brendon Ayanbadejo who has been highly outspoken in favor of marriage equality.

    And of course the play of the game (in fact the most amazing play I have ever seen in my limited football watching experience,) was Jacoby Jones’ 108 fucking yard kick return.

    But goddamn, commercials are stupid and gross.

  53. 53
    futurechemist

    For me it’s a toss up between American football, baseball, cricket, formula 1, and NASCAR for which is the most mind numbing televised sport.

    Cricket hands down. Especially test matches. Any game that can last 5 days and then be declared a draw because the game isn’t over shouldn’t be shown on TV.

  54. 54
    Chris Clarke

    Your preferred sporting team sucks.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    For me it’s a toss up between American football, baseball, cricket, formula 1, and NASCAR for which is the most mind numbing televised sport.

    For me all of those are excruciatingly boring. In fact, I find all sports very boring to watch, even hockey, which I don’t dare confess around neighbors and coworkers – it’s a bit like being a godless nazi muslim around here.

  57. 57
    drxym

    “No, poker tournaments win hands down.”

    I semi enjoy watching edited poker hilights since I’ve written poker simulators so I have an interest in the odds and psychology. I think I’d cut my own throat if I had to watch the unedited versions.

  58. 58
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    For people like me who don’t care at all about sporting events and remain ignorant by choice, it’s an annoyance that all our fellow USAians assume we care about the Super Bowl, assume we know who’s playing, assume we have a stake in the outcome, and give us strange looks when we don’t signal back to them our very earnest commitment to sharing this one-day cultural identity.

    It’s a minor annoyance, of course. :)

  59. 59
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Also annoying is when colleagues on a work teleconference jokingly apologize for yelling at the TV/cheering/sobbing when Some Big Game That Means A Lot To My Parochial University’s Local Culture as if this were normal and that the rest of us find it totes understandable and no, we’re not at all offended by you wasting our time on a tedious conference call. It literally does not occur to some people that, no, your religious obsession with Your Team is not shared by everyone and it does not excuse you from basic manners.

  60. 60
    ChasCPeterson

    It’s no sign of intelligence or maturity or right-thinkingness or class to not give a shit aboiut sports.
    I don’t really see how choosing to be ignorant about anything is something to brag about.
    This is about right.

  61. 61
    susans

    My husband said he would be watching The Game, but when I walked by, that was Chestnut scoring a touchdown. Puppies!

  62. 62
    georgewiman

    “It’s no sign of intelligence or maturity or right-thinkingness or class to not give a shit aboiut sports.”

    Citation needed. Or are you just playing the “Elitist!” card as a way of feeling like “Salt Of The Earth” to people who find massively taxpayer-subsidized testosterone poisoning personally distasteful and want to share their incredulity over this omnipresent cultural circle-jerk? Go cheer for a team somewhere.

  63. 63
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    It’s no sign of intelligence or maturity or right-thinkingness or class to not give a shit aboiut sports.
    I don’t really see how choosing to be ignorant about anything is something to brag about.

    The fuck is your problem? Seriously? You’re turning into a real fuckin’ crank. I didn’t say a word about “right thinking” or “class.” I merely said I don’t CARE about sports and I don’t want to know. The hell is wrong with you?

  64. 64
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    It’s also no sign of intelligence or maturity or right-thinkingness or class to treat people like they’re idiots and morally suspect when they say they don’t know what’s going on in sport. You do get that that happens, right? You do understand that all one needs to do is say “Oh, I’m not watching the Super Bowl” to get that kind of bullshit, right?

    But no. I’m provoking it and making a statement about my sniffy superiority by the simple act of trying not to engage in that conversation. Right.

  65. 65
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    I have a real love/hate relationship with sports. I really only started watching them in 7th grade to have something to talk about with other kids, but I quickly became fascinated with the team-building/statistical aspects of the games. At the same time, I hate the culture of entitlement that surrounds sports and know that if I were to meet most of the players I enjoy watching, I would likely find them to be fairly loathsome individuals. But I still sit there, night after night, and cheer for my Orioles and Sabres. And I really can’t explain why. Even I don’t get it…

  66. 66
    leonpeyre

    I’m right there with you, PZ. I took yesterday afternoon as an opportunity to take advantage of shorter lines at Costco.

  67. 67
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    I took yesterday afternoon as an opportunity to take advantage of shorter lines at Costco.

    I made the mistake of going to the grocery store on Saturday afternoon. In Baltimore. The lines were down the aisles. I barely got a parking spot.

  68. 68
    Rip Steakface

    It was then that I realized that I literally *can’t* watch a football game — I have no idea what to look for on the field, how to recognize any given formation, what numbers are assigned to what players, or any of the other visual arcana associated with the game.

    The only thing you need to look for is the ball. Everything else doesn’t particularly matter. Formations are team- and play-specific and player numbers are almost entirely random. Simplifies a lot, no?

  69. 69
    myeck waters

    I had to spend an hour in the waiting room of a tire shop while my wife’s car was worked on today, and the TeeVee was turned (LOUDLY) to the “Maurey” program, which featured a steady stream of young couples screaming at each other about the paternity tests, the results of which were then announced onstage, followed by more screaming.
    Televised sports is urbane and sophistimicated in comparison.

  70. 70
    rrhain

    Yargle! Bargle! Get off my lawn! How dare a cultural event that I don’t care anything about be considered popular!

    Old Man Yells at Cloud.

  71. 71
    phiwilli

    And it was in competition with PBS’s Downton Abby, the best of all soap operas! For me, PBS won.

  72. 72
    J Dubb

    Paul Harvey. Don’t get me started. It’s hard to single out the worst American who ever lived, but he is in the running.

  73. 73
    georgewiman

    The Paul Harvey commercial had “gooey glurge” written all over it so I skipped it. I made the horrible mistake of watching the GoDaddy commercial, however. Now I need to bleach my brain, but it did validate all the effort to dump that company last year.

  74. 74
    Crissa

    How many times in one review must someone insult animation? Yeah, it’s overused, under-paid work, but I doubt he even knows the latter.

    Sheesh.

  75. 75
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    It’s no sign of intelligence or maturity or right-thinkingness or class to not give a shit aboiut sports.
    I don’t really see how choosing to be ignorant about anything is something to brag about.

    Saying “this is boring” is bragging now ?

    I’ll bet you “choose to be ignorant” about knitting patterns and windpipe music.

  76. 76
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    PZ:

    I thought you were forbidden by the internet powers that be from commenting on comments people make about various topics…

  77. 77
    sinned34

    Penny Arcade said it best a couple of weeks ago.

  78. 78
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    As mentioned elsewhere, I don’t give two shits about football. I think it is too violent and shares waaaaay too many of the negative traits I see in religious institutions. Having been a bartender for 12 years, I’m also sick of people assuming that because I am behind a bar, and have a penis that means I automatically love football, know who’s playing, and know the score of any particular game. It’s also massively grating when people give me dirty looks when I say I don’t follow football.

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