Monday, February 4, 2008

Superbowl XLII - the commercials and the game

The Superbowl some years can be pretty lackluster in terms of the commercials and the game itself. This year's game contenders weren't exactly who I wanted them to be, but the New England Patriots' quest for perfection certainly lent an extra interest to the game.

We watched about half an hour of the pre-game show. Oh, I mean, the "pre-kick" show. What was up with that name? We don't like "pre-game" anymore? It's too confusing? The entire pre-show is now considered part of the game, so that's only the pre-kick section? Whatever.

Jordin Sparks came out to sing "The Star Spangled Banner". I don't watch "American Idol", so I've never heard her before, but wow, did she do an awesome job. When they first announced that she was going to be singing, I figured she was just another "American Idol" connection, like so much else about the pre-show, most of which I didn't see. But, they announced that she's actually originally from Glendale, Arizona, where Superbowl XLII was being held, and her father is also a former pro football player, so she was actually legitimately connected in two ways.

The Media Commercials

I'm going to start off with the non-regular-product commercials. By that, I mean, commercials for movies and television shows.

My favorite commercial by far was the new trailer for "Wall-E", Disney/Pixar's new animated movie that's coming out this June.

Disney Wall-E Movie Super Bowl Commercial Trailer: Vacuum Love

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I *loved* the reaction when Wall-E got scared. And the ending was just too funny. I didn't think of this so much as a Superbowl commercial because they've had other trailers for the film. I didn't care all that much for the first teaser trailer, but I had seen the second trailer before "101 Dalmatians" when we saw it at the El Capitan Theatre a couple weeks ago.

Here's the official "Wall-E" site, where you can see all three trailers. Click on "videos" to get to them.

I hadn't heard of "Wanted" before, and I'm not particularly a fan of Angelina Jolie, but she looked good in this. Morgan Freeman is also in it, who I love. The trailer looked quite good and makes me interested in seeing the film.

Universal Pictures Wanted Movie Super Bowl Ad

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I don't watch the television show "Prison Break", but I know what the basic premise of the show is about, so I enjoyed the commercial they showed that was actually related to the game itself.

Prison Break - "DIG"

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"Moment of Truth" is a new show on Fox where people agree to answer questions while connected to a lie detector, and they earn money by answering the often awkward and revealing questions honestly. I haven't seen any of the show itself, but I loved this promo, also related to the game.

Moment of Truth - Chad Johnson

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One of the things I like about watching the NFL on Fox (other than having Troy Aikman as a color commentator) is that they have this robot dude, apparently called the Foxbot, who does stuff at the side of the screen when they come back from commercials. He jumps around, runs in place and does all kinds of stuff, kinda like a football player prepping. During Christmas this past year, they put a Santa hat on him at one point, and at another point, they had snow falling on him. He's fun to watch. So I loved that they incorporated him into the promos for "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles". They had a series of three segments where the terminator fights with the Foxbot, which was a perfect match-up. The terminator's appearance in the first segment was very surprising, not just to the viewer, but to the Foxbot as well.

Sarah Connor Chronicles - Terminator vs Foxbot #1

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I hadn't expected a second segment to this, so it was fun when they showed that the two of them were still fighting, and the Foxbot was putting up a decent fight against the terminator.

Sarah Connor Chronicles - Terminator vs Foxbot #2

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And then there was the third segment, which had a terrific ending. But it made me expect a fourth segment that ended the story arc, so I was disappointed when there wasn't one.

Sarah Connor Chronicles - Terminator vs Foxbot #3

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The Regular Commercials

I'm not sure there was one stand-out commercial, but they did have some good ones. I'll mention some of them below, in chronological order as they were shown during the game. The ones I really like, I've included the commercial itself. Otherwise, I'll just talk about it.

The first Bud Light commercial was about how the beer gave people the ability to breathe fire, with the scene set during a romantic dinner in a woman's apartment. Things go south though, when a cat walks by, and it turns out the man is allergic to them.

Bud Light

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The Audi commercial incorporated the Godfather theme and the "horsehead in the bed" plot point from the movie. I was actually amazed that I recognized the theme.

The Diet Pepsi Max commercial didn't do all that much for me. People were falling asleep all over, but this new great drink which has chemicals, vitamins, No Doze, Jolt, whatever just wakes you right up. The part I did enjoy was the look on Troy's face at the end when his broadcast partner shows the affects of having consumed the drink.

FedEx had a commercial involving a supposed competitor who was using carrier pigeons to transport their packages, even using giant pigeons for bigger packages. The little helmets on the carrier pigeons were pretty funny.

Tide had a commercial that took me a while to figure out. There's a man who's apparently being interviewed for a job, and as he's talking, there's a sort of talking mouth around his breast pocket that just babbles as he's talking. At first, I thought it was some kind of translation service, or maybe something about how you sabotage yourself. I have no clue what the guy was actually saying. Then you find out that it's a commercial for Tide, and how a stain on your shirt talks louder than you. Kind of an interesting idea, but the execution was a bit odd.

Budweiser had a commercial that was reminiscent of the really great ones they've done. There are a group of Clydesdales who are up for being chosen to join the team, but one particular horse is not chosen. A dalmatian takes on the task of training the Clydesdale, set to the "Rocky" theme, which was all pretty cool, especially when you see the results of the training.

Budweiser Clydesdales Superbowl Ad: Hank the Clydesdale

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Sobe Life Water had a commercial where lizards who have consumed their liquid start dancing like in Michael Jackson's "Thriller". Who knew that in 2008, "Thriller" would still be relevant? It was really cool. Oh, and the person in the commercial was Naomi Campbell. I had no idea who she was. I'll admit that at first, I thought it was Beyonce only because I've seen Beyonce in another commercial for some phone company a little while ago, and I had no idea who she was either. OK, yeah, I've heard of both of them, but I didn't know what they actually looked like. So sue me.

Sobe Life Water Super Bowl Commercial: Naomi Campbell

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Pepsi had a commercial where Justin Timberlake was basically being dragged all over because of the power that someone was using in drinking their Pepsi through a straw. Kinda weird, kinda funny. Oh, and it took me a while to recognize him too. Feel better?

The Vitamin Water commercial with Shaquille O'Neal as a jockey was kinda funny.

Bud Light had another pretty cool commercial about a caveman who invents the wheel, but the cavemen are unclear on the concept of how to use it. I love the last line of the commercial.

Bud Light Super Bowl Commercial: Cave Man Invents Wheel

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And then I saw the commercial for a car that I'm really supposed to buy, which is being released in June. The car is called the Genesis. I so have to buy this car. Yes, I base my car-buying decisions on the name of the car, the color of the instrument panel, whether or not it has a cupholder and a myriad of other important considerations. So buying a car called the Genesis would seem to be a no-brainer, right? But it's made by Hyundai. I don't want a Hyundai. I can't buy a Hyundai. (The husband pointed out that it's a fairly large car, and I don't generally like driving larger cars. But I could probably get used to that. So that's not the stumbling block.) I don't want a Hyundai, but I have to have the Genesis. I'm so conflicted.

E-trade had a commercial with a talking baby buying stock online that was kinda funny. It wasn't as weird or creepy as other talking baby commercials, so it looks like they've got the talking trick worked out better. I can't imagine that the baby spitting up on the keyboard was good for it.

Coke had a commercial involving the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that I loved. They had giant balloon floats of Stewie from "Family Guy" and of Underdog, and they're both fighting for the giant balloon float of a Coke, but ultimately, an unlikely victor appears.

Coca Cola

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Coke had another commercial where a Democrat and a Republican were fighting during a debate but sharing a Coke made everything better. Pretty topical at this time. I only wish Coke really worked like that.

E-trade had a second commercial with the talking baby, who used the money that he saved to hire a clown, but then he made a realization. Had I not already said that?

If you missed the commercials or want to see them again, all of the commercials run during the Superbowl are available here.

OK, onto the game itself. What the heck was with the 400 people all present at the coin toss?

The Giants won the coin toss, and they had a nice drive down the field which resulted in a field goal.

OK, slight break here. I loved watching Troy Aikman in his day, and I think he does a great job with the commentary, but dude, you're driving me crazy with one thing. At one point, and I don't even know who or what he was talking about, he said someone or something was "very difficult to defense". He said something similar to this at some point during the regular season (or maybe it was a playoff game - I can't remember), and I remember staring at the TV at that point. So apparently, Troy has no idea how to use "defense" versus "defend". Troy, dude, call me, we'll talk.

At the end of the first quarter, the Giants were leading the Patriots, 3 - 0. The Patriots didn't score in the first quarter really only as a technicality, because after a Giants penalty, the Patriots were on the 1 yard line. They didn't manage to score before the quarter was over, but they did score the touchdown within the first 3 seconds of the start of the second quarter. That was all the scoring that would happen in that quarter, and at halftime, the Patriots were leading the Giants, 7 - 3.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, and then with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Giants scored a touchdown, putting them ahead of the Patriots 10 - 7. But about 8 minutes later, the Patriots answered with their own touchdown, putting them back in front by a score of 14 - 10.

And then came the play of the game, late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots defense was after New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, and it looked like they had him sacked, with at least one Patriots defense player having a hold of Manning's jersey at one point. But Manning miraculously manages to get away as well as throw a pass that gets caught and sets up the touchdown that the Giants score with 35 seconds left in the game.

The Patriots try to come back, but their efforts are shut down by the Giants' defense, who even sack Brady once on the Patriots' final drive.

The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots by a score of 17 - 14 in Superbowl XLII, fueling discussions that will last for quite some time as to the perception of the Patriots, who had a perfect 16 - 0 regular season and two playoff wins but who failed to win the biggest game of the season.

The real MVPs of the game were the New York Giants defense, but because there wasn't necessarily one standout player and they couldn't give the MVP to the entire Giants defense, the MVP ended up being awarded to Eli Manning, probably because of his spectacular fourth quarter play. Brother Peyton Manning won the MVP when his Indianapolis Colts won the Superbowl last year, so they're the first brothers to win back-to-back Superbowl games and MVP awards. But Eli Manning so needs to give seriously nice gifts to this defense.

Most people had expected the Patriots to win the game. Even those who were picking the Giants seemed to do so out of a sense of loyalty to the team, not necessarily because they really thought they were going to win. The spread was 12 points, though I would have seriously taken that bet. Given everything going on with the Patriots and Giants in the last two weeks, I still thought the Patriots would win, but I didn't think they'd beat the Giants by 12 points, so I thought that was a good bet to take.

But from the very beginning of the game, the eventual upset was being set up. The Giants got the ball first, and they managed to march down the field. They weren't able to get a touchdown but at least managed to get on the scoreboard first with a field goal. And then the Giants defense showed how amazing they were. Tom Brady's first two passes were incomplete, and the Giants defense was already getting to him. During the course of the game, Brady was sacked and knocked down quite a bit, and he never really seemed comfortable and in a groove, so completely against what we've been used to seeing with him all season.

On a side note, I'd heard this story earlier in the week that a couple weeks ago, the Patriots had already applied for a trademark of "19-0" and "19-0 The Perfect Season". That did not go over well with a lot of people, including the New York Post. I found it hysterical that the Post then proceeded to apply for a trademark of "18-1". Here's the New York Post article about that.

I've gotta get a copy of the New York Post today.

Oh, and the Boston Globe was already planning to release a book entitled "19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England's Unbeatable Patriots". They're either going to have to scrap the book completely or rework the book and the title.

Congratulations to the champions of Superbowl XLII, the New York Giants!

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