Published in the Rains County Leader on February 9, 2016:
Those who know about such things estimated that over 117 million people would watch Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. David and I did our part to fulfill those predictions. Kitty was present, too, but she did more trouble-making than watching. Since the game was on at the time when I usually write my column, I justified my lack of focus by making notes about what was going on, and I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts.
I enjoyed the MVP intros before the game. It was fun to see some of the old-timers, especially the Dallas Cowboy players. However, it amazed me how many men who memorized complicated play books and performed with extreme precision on a football field missed the big yellow spot they were supposed to stand on while they were being introduced.
The National Anthem by Lady Gaga with Marlee Matlin signing in the foreground and the Blue Angels doing a flyover blew me away. Normally I don’t like a stylized version of the Star-Spangled Banner, but there are always exceptions, and this one left me in tears.
Some people who don’t even like football watch the Super Bowl just to see the commercials. There weren’t any that knocked my socks off this year, but there were some that I really enjoyed.
- The Hyundai commercials were fun, especially the one where the dad used the “car finder” feature to track his daughter on a date, completely freaking out her boyfriend. I also liked the one with the two bears who were chasing a man. He used the “talk start” feature of his car to get away, and after he sped off, they stood looking wistfully after him. One said, “He used talk start. I just wanted to hug him.” The other smiled and said, “I wanted to eat him.” Good job, Hyundai.
- The Dorita ads were pretty good, too. In one of them, a man was eating Doritos while his wife was having an ultrasound. He discovered that the baby responded when he waved a chip in front of the screen. I won’t describe it further except to say that it was a little gross, but still funny. The other ad was about dogs who were trying to get into a supermarket to get Doritos. Their antics to outsmart the store manager, and the stunt they pulled to finally get inside, were laugh-out-loud funny.
- Several of the other car commercials were good, but my favorite was the Prius commercial. In it, a gang of thieves came running out of a bank with bags of money just as their get-away car was being towed away. They stole a bright red Prius, thoughtfully leaving a bag of money along with a thank you note, and proceeded to elude the police and get away. My son Christian has driven a Prius for years, so I’m somewhat familiar with its anti-theft features. Unless the owner in the commercial had left the key in the car and left it unlocked, I doubt they could have stolen it. Still, the idea of a Prius winning a high-speed chase was very entertaining.
- I watched for the traditional Budweiser commercial featuring the Clydesdales, but when it came on, I was in the dungeon straightening the mess Kitty made when she cleared one end of the shelf above her bed. When I came back into the living room, I saw flashes of the huge horses, but I didn’t see any puppies, so hopefully I didn’t miss too much. I did, however, see the Budweiser don’t-drive-drunk commercial, and I loved it. I particularly liked the part where Helen Mirren, in her very proper English accent, said, “If you drive drunk, you, simply put, are a short-sighted, utterly useless, oxygen wasting, human form of pollution.” Sounds right to me.
There were also a number of commercials I didn’t like, but I see no need to bore you with those except to say that some ad agencies try too hard. In the future, I wish someone would invent a rating system for the commercials so you would know when you need to stay put and when it’s safe to take a bathroom break.
Halftime is the highlight of Super Bowl evening for some people. I’m more into the traditional marching bands and drill teams kind of halftime show, but the video flashbacks of previous Super Bowl halftimes and the card displays by the fans in the stands were cool. In fact, the entire spectacle was visually stunning – if you’re into that sort of thing – but we couldn’t hear the vocals over the screams of the crowd and the percussion.
Another Super Bowl tradition is the snacks. I didn’t go to any trouble, but we did share a plate of summer sausage, cheese, crackers, and spicy mustard in front of the TV. Kitty tried repeatedly to get to the food on the coffee table and was sentenced to a time out in the dungeon. That’s when she created the mess I was cleaning up when I missed the Clydesdales.
Every year I hope we will return to the glory days when the Cowboys were in the Super Bowl as often as not, but I was happy that the Broncos were in the big game. I loved it that the Broncos drew first blood, and that they led all the way to the end. I am an unapologetic Peyton Manning fan, and I am thrilled that, if he chooses to retire after this season, The Sheriff will go out on top.