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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Super Bowl is finally over and so is one of the more controversial NFL seasons in recent memory. It probably didn’t help very much that everyone’s poster boy for cheating in the NFL, Tom Brady, won his fourth title and was named as the Super Bowl MVP for the third time. But that is how it goes when the Seattle Seahawks decide to gamble on the one-yard line with less than 30 seconds to go in the biggest game of the year.

The game itself, despite is bizarre and unnecessary ending, was extremely entertaining. It started out pretty slow, but picked up speed in the second quarter and the second half was one of the best halves of football I have ever watched. It was everything that surrounded the game that I felt was a bit suspect.

I have always been of the belief that an outrageous production that has nothing to do with the music is used to mask a lack of musical talent. I have to be careful though because I am a Pink Floyd fan and Pink Floyd invented the concept of the large, rock concert light show. But with Floyd, it was all about things that accented the music and entertained the audience. Throughout all of the pomp and circumstance of a Floyd concert was that incredible music that will live on for generations to come.

Katy Perry’s music will be forgotten as soon as she stops spewing it out from wherever she is from. While the large, golden tiger was cool, it was merely a distraction from the lack of musical talent that was on display. With Pink Floyd, the band hid behind the lights and allowed the lights to accent the music. With Katy Perry’s multiple costume changes in a single 15-minute performance, it is pretty easy to say that she is attempting to distract us from something. That something was the horrible music we were subjected to at halftime.

Whatever happened to performances like the one we saw from Prince or Paul McCartney? I am not a U2 fan, but even I could appreciate the energy of U2’s Super Bowl halftime performance. What has happened to rock music? Is it really dead? Is there a reason why the Foo Fighters could not have played halftime? Are the Foos too talented? What about Weird Al? There was a huge movement to have Weird Al play the halftime show and that would have at least been entertaining.

What about the commercials? Everyone is talking about the Nationwide commercial dealing with the death of a young child and much of the talk is not good. The audience watching the Super Bowl wants to laugh and cheer. It does not want to stop and think. By the time the fourth quarter rolls around, many people watching the Super Bowl are not really capable of thinking very much anyways.

So shame on you Nationwide. You have a very important message to put out there and you choose to do it during the Super Bowl? If I was an advocate of that cause, I would be furious. There are better platforms for presenting a message like that which will not alienate the audience, but instead successfully bring attention to an important cause. The Super Bowl is not that platform.

I have no idea who gave the green light to the tortoise and the hare race ads for Mercedes-Benz, but they should be fired. As with many Super Bowl commercials, there was a build-up to that ad and it was just awful. The same goes for the “first draft ever” commercials. What was that for?

I used to love the beer commercials during the Super Bowl and I don’t even drink beer. But these “hidden camera” commercials that are obviously being done by professional actors are getting old. The pac man ad was hokey and I am still trying to figure out why Budweiser continues to spend what looks like millions of dollars on commercials that just fall way flat. Remember Ah-nold and tiny tennis last year? Yeah, the beer companies are just falling flat with their Super Bowl ads.

I liked the hedgehog commercial and the daddy commercial got to me. But, honestly, I cannot remember what either one of those commercials was trying to sell. The Geico swag commercial was uncomfortably funny. The hot blonde ladies with the big bazoombas are nice to look at but, once again, what are they selling? The guys in the audience may not care, but the advertisers better care because giving guys all over the country a peep show without selling your product is a waste of money.

The Breaking Bad commercial was probably the best one because, well, Bryan Cranston. But, once again, without looking can you tell me what it was selling?

Now let’s talk about the commercial everyone is buzzing about – the Budweiser lost puppy commercial. First of all, I thought this commercial was supposed to be pulled, but my wife informed me that Go Daddy had a lost puppy commercial too and that was the one that got pulled. Both puppy commercials should have been pulled.

I understand what Budweiser is trying to do because they have been doing it for years. Bud wants to create a warm and fuzzy feeling around their Clydesdales (which they were going to get rid of) and use cute to sell beer. It is a brilliant advertising scheme and it works every time. But it doesn’t work on me. Call me an old, cranky man (you wouldn’t be the first to call me that) but I loved the old Bud commercials that made me laugh. This warm and fuzzy feeling associated with beer is just . . . weird.

So most of the commercials fell flat and the halftime show was great if you are 12 years old, the parent of a 12-year-old, or the grandparent of a 12-year-old who loves watching your grandchild enjoy a television show. Other than that, it was painful to watch. No, I did not like the dancing sharks.

That leaves us with the game on the field. It was a great game, but that will not matter to anyone other than Patriots fans. Tom Brady’s fourth Super Bowl win will forever be overshadowed by events off the field. It begs the question – if greatness on the field is no longer grabbing headlines for the NFL in its biggest game of the year, then how much longer does the NFL really have to go before it becomes a parody of itself?

George N Root III is a miserable old man who doesn’t drink beer and loves a good football game. His column appears every week, just so long as those darn kids stay off his lawn.

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