Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Last Reason for Roman Numerals

That would be Super Bowl XLIII. It's like the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final, for American football. I have to admit I've never watched an American football game before. But indications are that the Super Bowl isn't so much about the football as about the marketing and the hype. And seeing as I'm in the USA, the commercials would be the "real" $5-million Super Bowl commercials. (In Canada they are replaced by ordinary commercials, marketing to Canadians). Plus it won't hurt to know enough about the game to have something to talk to my customers about. Guys apparently have to watch a certain amount of football in order to maintain testicular size, and my customers are all guys.

I only saw a few commercials. I stop watching by habit when the commercials came on, and kept forgetting that I was supposed to be checking them out. What did I learn? Some beer makes it summer wherever you drink it. Some beer is more watery (they call it drinkability) than other beer. Other beer (or possibly the same beer) has nice talking horses. Trucks with aluminum transmissions can drive uphill through fiery tunnels (actual demonstration). Drive recklessly enough and maybe the mouth will fall off the woman who is nagging you to slow down. (I'm hoping that one wasn't a beer or a car commercial). If roadies flew aircraft the runway lights would explode during take-off. (I think that one was an ad for a telephone or an internet provider). Pepsi is now teaching the world to sing. I was completely baffled what one ad was for, and then visited the site. Headsnap! It's a "discreet dating service for married people." A domain reseller (which coincidentally my employer uses) will enhance your assets, or possibly cause women to flash their tits at you. There will be a special edition of The Office on later. Thank you for watching and congratulations to the winning team.

I didn't perceive a level far above regular commercials. The money is in the audience not the production. I suppose the boob flashing was a wink to the halftime "wardrobe malfunction" of a few years ago. I'm guessing the broadcasting standards haven't changed in XLIII years? Considering the audience, a topless halftime show ought to be a hit. I guess it's too early in the evening to show skin on network TV. But if they can digitally put markings and advertisements on the field, they can digitally put bikinis on the performers. I can't see anyone in the target audience being really offended, and I bet more people would watch.

It's too bad the athletes have to be so heavily padded so you can't see the shape of their bodies. I understand it's to prevent injury on the field, but how about if they take off their helmets and shirts at the end of the game. All that time in the weight room just for hitting each other and running around? C'mon, show some muscles. I think I like sports where everyone wears spandex better. Yes, that's right, she watches one football game and she's going to tell you how it should be done.

Except I tuned in to watch a cultural event, and a football game broke out. You don't need to know anything about a game to realize that when there's two minutes left and the score is really close, and the ball is right on the edge of where the team that is behind needs to put it to get ahead, it's exciting. The yellow team guy threw the ball and another yellow team guy caught it, and the red team guys jumped on him. And then they did it again but this time the yellow team guy ran a longer way and caught the ball before the red team guys jumped on him. (But not nearly as far as the guy who earlier ran all the way from one end of the field to the other without getting knocked down). Next they threw the ball to a yellow team guy who was in the goal area, but he missed it, but being American football they got a fourth try, and this time the guy caught it. He then got knocked out of bounds, but apparently that was alright. The red team guys got a try at throwing the ball then, but there were only about 30 seconds left and someone caught it wrong or something and they did not get any more goals so the yellow team won. It was very exciting, I assure you.

A behind-the-scenes quirk that amuses me, but that veteran Super Bowl watchers probably know, goes back to the theme of people without shirts on. In anticipation of one of the teams winning, the marketing people print up gazillions of shirts and other merchandise proclaiming each team the champions. As soon as they find out which team is the loser, they deliver all the correct merchandise to where it can be sold to fans, and then send all the stuff with the wrong team declared the champion off to destitute people in refugee camps and disaster zones, where they care even less than I do who won the game, but presumably can clothe a family of five with a couple of 3XL football shirts, a baseball cap and a foam #1 finger. I'm not certain the foam fingers go to the third world, but the hats and ball caps do.

Go team! And they're getting bigger already, I can tell. See?

For television coverage of a different event, you can see the 60 Minutes interview with Captain Sullenberger and his crew online.


dpierce said...

The only problem with the topless halftime show is that it would probably be interrupted by mediocre commercials. (This year was sort of weak for commercials.)

Anonymous said...

My favorite sports announcer was the late great George Carlin:

"And now here is a partial score: Notre Dame... 6"

I caught part of Springsteen's halftime show and none of the game, which was perfect. Bruce rocked out in a middle-aged power ballad medly for 12:00 and that was OK. I can do without the commercials.

(Really!?? A discreet dating site for the married? I'm shocked, I tell you. )

Anonymous said...

Middle-aged? He's 59...I guess hope 'springs' eternal (sorry).

I hope your assertion is false...since I watch NO football, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see if aviators are more, less, or equally interested in football compared to the general population. I suspect less, but I have no data to back that up.

Callsign Echo said...

@anonymous: I think Aviatrix is an outsider to football because she is Canadian, not because she is a pilot. I happen to love football (Go Noles!) but I'm pretty sure that has little to do with my aviator's training, either.

Aviatrix, your perspective on U.S. is always entertaining. Keep up the good posts.

Matthew Flaschen said...

Regarding that "one ad", you were apparently in "luck". According to KPRC, the Houston NBC affiliate, was one of the only stations to show that ad.

jinksto said...

Great posts. I'm one of many who are decidedly not football fans. The only benefit the SuperBowl provides for me is that for a couple of hours that day there's no traffic on the roads.

Anonymous said...

Frankly I pass on the football (pun intended). But Springsteen rocked! We tuned in just for that, then turned the TV back off. There's too much waiting around in football for me.

And I can't help thinking that all those guys that emphasizes that much macho bluster have got to be very insecure. And, what's up with the Viagra ads in sports? I thought all those guys were the height of testosterone?

Anonymous said...

It's funny, Tangozulu -- I actually think those who haughtily proclaim that they watch *no* football are generally far more insecure than your average fan!

Anonymous said...

Hey, great to see someone with the same level of knowledge (or should I say LACK of knowledge) on American football.

(and yet again, they bastardise the use of an English word.... it's not REALLY football, is it?)

Mind you, I haven't watched superbowl for at leat V or VI years (its *very* late night viewing here in England - at least you got to watch at a more "normal" time!)


Anonymous said...

You had me laughing so hard, my fellow workers came to see what was the matter. Now they know that I am a closet web surfer at work.

I loved your entire riff on super bowl, advertisement and american football.

Anonymous said...

I found this one of your most amusing posts, Aviatrix. It had me laughing several times.

I do find the 'affair' dating site appalling. That, to me, is a new low. I would think the TV networks having shown their tendency to enforce some sort of moral standard are slipping to the highest bidder. Indeed if you are advertising that then why *not* a topless half time show? The latter seems less offensive than suggesting infidelity. Anyway, I digress.

Also, I want to point out that not all American males are into the sport. I only realized the game was on when out working in the yard and hearing the neighbors cheer. It took a while to put two and two together to realize what it was. Frankly, I would have rather been at the airport or out flying.

Anonymous said...

“how about if they take off their helmets and shirts at the end of the game?”

Well, it might work for Superbowl, but I couldn’t help thinking that it would never work for Rugby; it just wouldn’t be a pretty sight. They don’t usually wear helmets, and certainly no padding, so after the game you have all these bruised, mountainous bodies, covered in mud and dripping with sweat, often showing long-broken noses, cauliflower ears, and resembling nothing so much as the undead. It’s enough to frighten ghosts.

Yet these savages in shorts can transform a clever pass, agile dummy, or heroic tackle into pure poetry that has the crowd on it’s feet. Clever stuff.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, fess up. There's football in Canada too. A little different - think the field's square rather than rectangular - but most of the elements are similar. Helmets, padding, forward passes and lots of time-outs for TV commercials - eh.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I'm haughty when accused of being a 'typical American' since it always seems to be in a negative context. Not insecure, though. Wait, maybe I am. Oh, dear...does everyone think I'm insecure? Was that why those people were looking at me that way? Oh...

Unknown said...

firstly, "football" is an oxymoron...it's more like Rugby for softies.

I have seen it (briefly) Don't have a TV or an interest in "team sports".

I realised I was "a bit odd" at school, when I had no interest in playing football,but wanted to know how engines worked,planes flew,things were made....

I don't find the titillation of "topless entertainers" to be appropriate in that sort of venue,( though I've seen pictures of Bodypainted nudes and am stunned by the realism and creativity) ,nor do i think the infidelity site is morally sound....but to be pragmatic, people are going to stray,it does facilitate them not crapping on their own doorstep.
I'm not holier than thou" but civilisation is sinking into a moral pit.

Anonymous said...

firstly, "football" is an oxymoron...it's more like Rugby for softies.

Actually, it is *not* an oxymoron. An oxymoron is a combination of words which is contradictory within itself. "Deafening silence" and "exact estimate" are examples.

The words "foot" and "ball" aren't mutually contradictory, so "football" isn't an oxymoron. You probably meant "misnomer" but this isn't accurate either. The foot is used fairly frequently in US football; when punting, place kicking for a field goal and on kickoff. I'm no expert, but I think that if you examined how the game was played in the early days you'd see a lot more examples of the foot being applied to the ball. The style of play has changed, perhaps because many kicking plays were found not to be effective.

At any rate, I'm not a big (US) football fan, I can't recall the last time I watched a superbowl, but even so, it is wearying listening to those who feel they must sneer at the game, for it's name, for it's padding, perceived skill level, or whatever pretext. It is much like listening to those pathetic fools who have to sneer at what we call soccer, merely because they are not fans, or sneer at Formula one racing because they are NASCAR fans. No difference at all, really. Seems everyone has to find something to at which look upon from down their noses.

Why is that?

Aviatrix said...

Why is that?

I made fun of the game because (a) it was easier than trying to research all the correct terminology and players' names, when people would still be able to tell I wasn't really conversant with the terminology, and (b) I thought it would make my readers laugh. And it did, so I succeeded.

Ignorance isn't disapproval.

Anonymous said...


I wasn't referring to your comments. I didn't get even a hint of disparagement from your post, just interest and amused wonder at the unfamiliar.

dpierce said...

Seems there have been several examples here lately of readers equating inquiry, bemusement, and observation with (negative) criticism.

dpierce said...

(and that comment wasn't necessarily directed at you, A Squared)

Aviatrix said...

I have the best readers of any site on the net, and I trust you guys to figure it all out in the end, with respect and intelligence.