Sunday, February 1, 2009


Well, the bye week is finally over, time for the game as the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. As always, there's tons of numbers swirling around the game, from jerseys to per half second commercial costs along with firsts and lasts, highs and lows and over/unders. Watching the game with non-Americans is an experience as all the nuances and ins and outs have to be explained, often involving long-winded descriptions delivered during the plethora of commercial breaks, then remembering that the commercials are why many people are watching the game. However, I do miss the Super Bowl party most of all, snacks and drinks and wacky side bets involving everything from who will win the coin toss to the colour of the Gatorade poured on the winning coach.

I'm looking for a Steeler victory, somewhere in the 29-28 range; could be wishful thinking though as I'm even figuring in a safety for the Steeler defence to go along with a few touchdowns and a field goal. This year's game will at the very least mark the first time the Cardinals have made it to the Super Bowl, a championship created by the merger of the AFL and NFL leagues in 1967. Kurt Warner will be trying to win his 2nd, his first came in an MVP performance with the St. Louis Rams in 2000, a game that featured one of the all-time best endings in SB history; the last two plays were absolutely riveting. It's hard to get video as the league is quite active in enforcing their copyright claims, hope this link holds up. Damn, Eddie George was good and look at Isaac Bruce!

One day someone will have to explain to me why the league would want to make it impossible for someone who can't get to a TV to at least see the game. Isn't it about exposure to the commercials? The commercials... They were having a hard time selling the last of them this year according to the grapevine, but managed to get them all sold thanks to lots of early pre-selling. Not surprising considering the $3 million per 30 second cost. If you happen to live in the Peugeot Sound area, or get KING outta Seattle, you can even see a 1/2 a second add for a seafood restaurant. NBC also claims to be running the first 3D commercial, promoting the upcoming DreamWorks Monsters vs. Aliens movie. However, I swear I have a memory of Coke trying the same thing once. This time it's Pepsi, through its Sobe Lifewater that's trying the gimmick, distributing the 3D glasses which apparently can be used again the next day for some NBC show called "Chuck".

The bigger commercial news seems to be ads we won't see. FedEx and GM have opted out, a good call considering their financial situation. Wrong signals and all. Last year FOX decided against political adds, this year PETA made a pro-vegetarian add that, NBC declined to run because, get this, " it depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards". Guess I need another video here:

Umm, did they say something about standards? Guess they don't remember the catfight ad that proved so successful it spawned a sequel the following year:
miller light catfight

The game itself isn't stirring quite as much hype as normal. There's a lot at work here, Arizona being a lesser known small market team, post-inauguration hangover and of course the financial firestorm. That said, I'm looking forward to an interesting game, the quintessential big offense versus tough defense battle. Warner and the Cardinals have the trifecta firepower at wide receiver, with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston all going over 1,000 yds receiving this year and Fitzgerald in particular stepping up to big time playmaker status. Meanwhile the Steel Curtain defense has lived up to it's historic legacy. Look for the Cardinals to jump out early again just as in the NFC final, but the Steelers to grind out a final minute victory. Billions will be going through Vegas where the crisis won't dent profits much if at all. So called propositional (prop) betting has exploded in popularity ever since William 'the refrigerator' Perry made many a little richer by scoring in the Chicago Bears '85 Super Bowl victory and paying off at 20 to 1. My favourites this year are whether Cardinal owner Bill Bidwell's bow tie will be red or not, the over/under 1:54 for the rendition of the national anthem by Jennifer Hudson (a former American Idol contestant?), and who the MVP of the game will thank first (pssst, betcha there's a deity favoured).

While I won't get a Super Bowl party again, I can still play Super Bowl drinking games while watching the game between the commercials. Back to those, I'll leave you with my top five all-time Super Bowl commercials, from Mean Joe Greene and Coke and a time when we called copies duplicates, through the Bud frogs and Cindy Crawford in the 90's, sandwiched in between, the iconic ad that launched the Apple Macintosh in 1984.

Mean Joe Greene 1979

Xerox monks 1977

Apple Macintosh 1984

Budweiser from 1995

Cindy Crawford Pepsi


Nelson said...

The Budweiser frogs--I forgot about them! I've heard of some of the others, but they were a little before my time.

I heard somewhere that the PETA ad was a stunt; that they weren't expecting it to be accepted, but would hope that it generated enough buzz without actually having to spend any money. If true, it's similar to what the McCain campaign did. They didn't have the money to match the Obama campaign, so they would release controversial ads via the web, then hope it would generate enough buzz to make it worth discussion on cable news shows, hence free advertising.

I agree with you that it's going to be a close game. The main difference is I see the Cards holding onto their lead. Should be fun, though.

Shane said...

Yeah, read the same thing about PETA somewhere too, does seem strange that they'd have $3 million to pay for an ad. Well, I've helped them accomplish their goal.
Would love to see the Cardinals win, somehow seems wrong to have a team with 6 Super Bowls. The Steeler defense is just too good though I'm afraid, but hoping for the upset.

Walt said...

Hey just thought I would drop by and say hello. Thanks for the comment, should be a great game. My head says Steelers but my heart says cards. Nice video's by the way, lol.
Walt AKA All Sports on the Web
All Sports on the Web