As the confetti fell in Cowboys Stadium after Super Bowl XLV, I was left with a feeling of disappointment.
I wasn’t disappointed with the game itself. What looked like something that might become a blowout quickly turned into an exciting game.
I wasn’t disappointed with the Green Bay Packers emerging victorious. In fact, I was rooting for the Packers. I really like Aaron Rodgers, and as a lifelong Seattle Seahawks fan who bleeds blue and neon green, I’m still pretty hacked about what I believe to be the referees’ bias in favor of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL.
I was disappointed with everything else.
I love the game of football. I loathe the commercialism surrounding it, and the Super Bowl is commercialism on steroids.
I’m Supposed to Feel Sorry for Multi-Millionaires?!
My troubles began when I made the mistake of turning the TV on two-and-a-half hours prior to kickoff. I’m sure the Fox Sports Pre-Game Show was in its 12th consecutive hour of non-stop coverage at that point, and by the time I tuned in, it was on the brink of pure absurdity.
I was visiting with family, so I didn’t catch every word of the pre-game show, but the ever-so-predictable story about Aaron Rodgers being overlooked by Division I colleges after his high school football career ended was rehashed in excruciatingly overdramatic detail.
Then came the ever-so-predictable story about Ben Roethlisberger having to overcome everything that has happened to him over the past year or so.
Happened TO HIM? I bet there’s a young lady somewhere in Georgia who feels more like things happened to HER. I have a lot of difficulty conjuring up any feelings of sympathy for Big Ben when it has been such a self-inflicted fate.
Bill the Clown
That all paled in comparison, though, to Bill O’Reilly’s interview of President Barack Obama.
First, why? Why are we mixing politics with football? Does Fox really think that people are tuned in to the Super Bowl to watch some clown interview the President about the crisis in Egypt?
Second, O’Reilly? Really? This guy antagonizes people for a living. He’s an obnoxious bully, not a journalist. He proved it when he asked the President of the United States how it feels to know that so many people hate him. Who asks that kind of question to anyone, much less the President of the United States?! Then O’Reilly acted indignant when President Obama laughed at him in response, insisting that his question was a serious one.
Clown. Complete clown.
Think what you want about President Obama. I really don’t care. But showing a live interview of him right before the Super Bowl on a topic involving anything other than football is irritating. And having Bill O’Reilly interview him was just a pathetic attempt on Fox’s part for ratings.
I would rather have listened to Frank Caliendo, while impersonating Mike Ditka, interview the President about their shared love of the Chicago Bears. That would have been entertaining. Caliendo’s skit with “Shaquille O’Neal”-and later, with the real Shaquille O’Neal dressed up as Terry Bradshaw-was funny stuff. The only good part of the pre-game show, actually.
And now that I think about it, the comedian who played “Shaquille O’Neal” in the skit reminded me a lot of Bill O’Reilly.
I Declare My Independence from Fox
Then after more mind-numbingly in-depth coverage of the minutiae of the Super Bowl, we were forced to listen to a bunch of athletes and coaches read the Declaration of Independence to us off of teleprompters in overly dramatic fashion for ten or fifteen minutes.
Granted, I was visiting with family just before that little treat came on, so I’m not sure how Fox tried to set that one up as something appropriate for the Super Bowl, but I didn’t like it at all. Not one bit.
Make no mistake. I’m proud to be an American, I have a tattoo of the stars and bars, I fly my flag, and I whole-heartedly support our military personnel. As with virtually everyone in the nation, I have family and friends in the military. God bless America.
But having patriotism force-fed to me like that was inappropriate and borderline offensive.
I enjoy the clips that many networks show of soldiers overseas cheering for their favorite teams in creative ways. I like the military presentation of the colors before the game. I like the fly-overs. I even still enjoy the clichéd football-field sized flag being held by a hundred people and made to look like it’s flapping in the breeze.
But having jocks reading the Declaration of Independence to me? No. What’s next? Are they going to read the U.S. Constitution to me? The Bible?
One of my favorite parts of the Super Bowl is usually the commercials. Following the trend of the past several years, though, they were predominantly duds again. Bud Light and Dorito’s had the best commercials, I thought, but the rest were ho-hum. The Darth Vader/Volkswagen commercial was predictable. Seeing Joan Rivers’ head superimposed on the body of the next GoDaddy Girl sent me into dry heaves (although Betty White as the next GoDaddy girl would have been funny!). I found it irritating having Eminem scowl and point and me and demand that I buy a Chrysler. And the e*Trade baby lost his appeal for me a long time ago.
Most of the commercials seemed to simply be promotions for more Fox shows, anyway, and I don’t watch much on Fox.
I think I was still reeling from the presidential interview and the Declaration of Independence debacle when more patriotism was crammed down my throat in the form of Lea Michele singing God Bless America, followed by Christina Aguilera missing an entire verse of the national anthem during her 25-minute long dirge that made a funeral procession seem more festive and fast-paced.
Why do entertainers feel the need to drag out the national anthem like that? And why can entertainers sing a barely recognizable version of the anthem, while young singers like the one in Bloomington get chastised for their unique version? (Her school later apologized to her .)
Then came the halftime show.
Whoever the sound technician was for that performance needs to find a new line of work. For the first several minutes of the show, only Will.i.am’s voice could be heard, even though the other three Blackeyed Peas could be seen singing.
Maybe that was by design, though, because that group really sounded horrible live.
I enjoyed Fergie singing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” while Slash played guitar, but that’s only because Fergie is fergalicious, and Guns n’ Roses is one of my all-time favorite bands.
The rest was awful.
For a song or two, there were a bunch of people dancing around with silver cardboard boxes on their heads. I don’t even know how to explain that.
And then, of course, Will.i.am had to slip his little political message into the middle of one of the songs.
Super Bowl XLVI
Next year’s Super Bowl will be held in my neck of the woods-in Indianapolis. Our local media assures us that representatives from Indianapolis were on-hand for Super Bowl XLV and have learned from the mistakes made in Dallas. I sure hope so.
I’ve certainly learned my lesson. In the future, I won’t turn the TV on until 10 seconds before the opening kickoff. And I’ll take the dog for a walk during halftime.
If anyone involved with the Indianapolis Super Bowl planning process is reading this, I have some suggestions for you.
Keep politics out of it. We’re here for football. Nothing else.
Instead of having someone sing the national anthem, have one of those college step dancing bands that come to town for the Circle City Classic play the national anthem. Those kids would be entertaining, and then no one has to worry about forgetting lyrics.
For the halftime show, hold a contest among local amateur bands in Lucas Oil Stadium for several weeks before the Super Bowl. Have the winner do the halftime show. They’ll be so happy to have an international stage that they’ll actually play good music. And surely by the time the Super Bowl rolls around, you’ll have the sound settings figured out.
Do not sell tickets to people to stand outside in the cold and watch the game on big-screen TV’s in a pathetic attempt to make a buck and set an attendance record.
Do not sell tickets for seating you don’t have. As Dallas learned, the fire marshal will never agree to cramming 80,000 people into a stadium that seats 63,000.
Pretend like you value your customers, and not just for their wallets.