February 8th, 2007 14:02 EST
Super Bowl is damp for audience, brilliant for Manning
Sunday in Miami, Peyton Manning was interviewed by Steve Young and Dan Marino. In a chilling irony, it seemed like he would step into a line behind one or the other at the end of what turned out to be a one of a kind Super Bowl.
Manning has been haunted by comparisons to Marino, the statistical marvel never able to win the Super Bowl, but on a drenched Super Bowl Sunday in Miami, Manning followed Young`s model and threw the gorilla off of his back, winning the Super Bowl, and the MVP (seemingly because they could not find anybody else to give it to).
Either way, Manning has led his team through the postseason by not being the statistical sensation. He has let the running backs have their due, using the attention paid to him against opponents, such as on the winning drive against the Patriots, when he called three running plays in a row.
While this can be credited, it is questionable how he would have reacted if the Colts defense did not magically improve their previously horrendous run stopping before the playoffs. What if Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes had not been successful in penetrating the Patriots and Bears?
These questions may never be answered, because nobody will ask them now that he has a championship to disclaim his reputation of flopping in big situations.
Has Manning secured his legacy? Absolutely he is one of the greatest passers the game has ever seen, and the most intelligent man to ever call plays from behind a facemask. Manning is a Hall of Famer. He will likely wipe Marino`s name off of the NFL record books, and he will likely be considered an all-time great.
Manning is the most marketable player, the most likable hero of the game today on an image basis and yet up to now he has been one of the most tortured. Now Peyton Manning can replace everything ever placed on his biography with one phrase, Championship Quarterback. He can listen to his own praises and soak up the glory, and don a gold coat after his career.
Or, he can keep adding to that bio, with more championships, and become the greatest to play the game. He can do it, but the bar has only been raised.
Now to my evaluations of the less athletic portion of the Super Bowl:
Pregame Show: C+: CBS`s pregame show began at noon and the game started 6:30. Without even watching you can tell there will be some tedious portions. And indeed there were. Rivaling ESPN`s interview of Condolezza Rice, CBS brought Katie Couric on for no apparent reason other than reminding America she works for them now. They spent a large amount of time on Phil Simms` All Iron Team, a droning, never ending chain of quasi-emotional features. They also showed desperation in airing clips of Peyton Manning in his backyard as a kid for the 3rd time.
Game Broadcast: B: It was all around solid, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms actually doing a good job containing the amazing amount of overemphasis that could have been placed on the black coaches and Peyton Manning. There were only two flaws. Simms had moments of Captain Obvious Syndrome, such as explaining in detail that the receiver`s object was to catch Manning`s pass. The most glaring flaw was Nantz`s preoccupation at the end of the game, with the last seconds ticking off the clock with no memorable call. This is where Al Michaels and Mike Tirico excel, and are therefore better.
Halftime Show: B: Prince was better than the Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney. He appeared to be alive, an improvement in the post-Janet Jackson era. However, there are plenty of people who hit their musical prime in the past 20 years who could do the halftime show. Purple Rain was entertaining, the other stuff was ok. Thumbs up to the glowing marching band. Thumbs down to the do rag or whatever that was on his head. The show gets style points for using electric guitars in the rain, and for the weird sheet thing with his shadow, even if it was fake.
Finally, the commercials.
Top 5 Best Ads
5. Grand Theft Auto (Coca-Cola)- This was a scene from the famous video game that gets turned on its ear by a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola, making the thief " do everything the opposite of usual.
4. Office Jungle (careerbuilder.com)- Maybe not as good as the monkeys, but their first ad, where the people run off the cliff, was very good. The slogan, speaking of surviving work, was perfectly worded and timed.
3. What else haven`t I done? (Coca-Cola)- A commercial that made a few early appearances made its big appearance during the Super Bowl. I liked it before and I still like it. The guy in a nursing home is given a Coke, and is inspired to do tons of things he wanted to experience.
2. Connectile Dysfunction (Sprint)- The phrase that applied to wireless cards of other companies was a real winner, and then they piled on by throwing in a parody of Smiling Bob, " and the usual elements of the erectile dysfunction medications.
1. Anything by Budweiser or Bud Light- This ad campaign was underrated due to the lack of competition. The reason this is combined is because I feel like they had the top 5 ads, all for one company. So, here are the Top 5 Bud/Bud Light Commercials.
5. Jay-Z vs. Don Shula- In this Budweiser ad, hip hop artist Jay-Z and legendary head coach Don Shula square off in a futuristic football video game. The scene reminded me of a James Bond scene in which Sean Connery faces off in table game in a casino against a villain, but I cannot recall what movie that was. Hopefully somebody knows what I am talking about.
4. Slapping- Like a lower scale version of Wazzup! " this commercial shows the beginning of a trend of guys slapping each other hard right in the face. Of course this all somehow centers around Bud Light and the clincher is when a business man slaps his elderly boss.
3. Hitchhiker- A couple drives down the road, and the male is insistent on letting a man with an axe into the car because he has Bud Light. Then these three people have to argue over whether or not to let a man with a chainsaw catch a ride, with the line being, But he`s got Bud Light. "2. Rock, Paper, Scissors- I missed this one during the game, but found it on the internet, and it involves two guys trying to decide who gets the last Bud Light. They play a game of rock paper scissors, but contrary to the actual game, rock beats paper this time as one guy picks up a rock and nails the other guy in the forehead, taking the Bud Light.
1. Carlos Mencia Language Class- The brilliance of this commercial was somewhat delayed in hitting me. It was funny at the time, but it is one of those commercials that draws a chuckle every time you think about it. Mencia teaches immigrants the importance of language to acquiring and keeping Bud Light. If you have not seen it, search for it in Yahoo video. It is classic.
Honorable Mention: Auctioneer Wedding
Here are some of the disappointing commercials:
The teaser: This is the one where you are waiting to laugh because you see something funny coming, and then it never does. The FedEx Moon Office " commercial gets the nod for ending much like last year`s Dinosaur classic, except it did not have nearly the effect.
The Stupid Pill: This is the one that left you with your chin on the ground wondering what in the world compelled them to do that. This was a tie so let me explain both.
- Snickers- You all know what is coming. Two guys bite into a Snickers and then proceed to accidentally kiss. They realize the horrible flub up and say Do something manly! " This was the most memorable and stupidest quote of the night. They then proceed to pull out a wad of chest hair.
- Chevy- The male stripper one. Yes, that one. Three women pull up in a Chevy and 50 men lose their minds, taking off their clothes and washing the car at a stoplight. It was undoubtedly funny, but more so for its off the wall plot that anything else. The thing that got me was the really old guy who looked like a ghastly twig dancing and swinging a shirt.
Overall, the Super Bowl experience was damp and somewhat anti-climactic, as the commercials came from the same company and the real Super Bowl was apparently two weeks ago in Indianapolis. Hey Bears fans, can you say Jeff Garcia?