It will come as a shock to absolutely none of you that I am not particularly athletically inclined nor, for that matter, am I especially athletically interested. In my salad days at DC and Marvel, I will admit to playing more than my fair share of volleyball and softball. In fact, on my office wall, I still humbly display the framed certificate given me by the 1976 Marvel Softball Team that proudly proclaims me "Best Spectator".
Now, granted, I did once see a Lakers basketball game live, thanks to the generosity of my old buddy Ted Elliott, and I do still try to take in a baseball game at least once a season with some friends, but that's more for the shared experience and the opportunity to scarf down Dodger Dogs and salted peanuts for five times what it would cost me if I purchased the same items at my local supermarket than for any deep, abiding love of the game. I've never attended a soccer match, a hockey game, a golf tournament, or a tiddlywinks championship.
Which makes it all the more bizarre that, every year, come rain or shine, I religiously watch the Super Bowl.
Okay, you can pick your chins up off the floor now, while I explain. You see, in his last years, before the much too early death of my beloved father, he kept attempting to explain the game of football to me. To this end, for several seasons running, we would watch the Super Bowl together and he would carefully explain the rules and subtleties of the sport to me, almost all of which went immediately and utterly over my head. I still can't tell a right guard from any other brand of deodorant and, to me, a center will always be the chewy middle of a Tootsie Roll Pop. But I loved my father more than I can ever hope to be loved, so I sat and I listened and I adored the man all the more for his infinite patience and his support. When my father passed, I decided to carry on our tradition, so every year, I invite a handful of good friends over to the house to eat pizza and chips and nachos and share the day with me and the spirit of my dad.
Since I don't really follow football during the regular season, I usually decide which team to root for during the game based on which side has the coolest uniforms, but this year the decision was particularly easy. Since I'm noted for the stuffed Teddies I used the collect (thus proving the old warning never to display two of anything in your home, lest your friends assume you collect them), I opted for the Chicago Bears, while my equestrian wife chose the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, the Broncos weren't playing this year, so she changed her vote to the Indianapolis Colts.
The game started off like Gangbusters, with the Bears' Devin Hester returning the kickoff ball 92 yards for a touchdown in the first 14 seconds of the first quarter. This was followed by several quick turnovers (my favorites are the frosted raspberry ones), and it was starting to look like this was going to be the Super Bowl to end of all Super Bowls. We should, of course, have known better. The second half of the game provided the usual embarrassing rout the Super Bowl always turns into, and the Colts walked away the winners.
But let's be honest, people, we really don't watch the Super Bowl for the game, or for the Halftime show (am I the only one who half-expected Prince to get electrocuted right in the middle of his set?), or for the spiffy uniforms. We watch for the commercials, don't we? C'mon, you know you do.
So which ones were your favorites this year? For me, it was the Blockbuster spot with the poor mouse, almost all of the Budweiser ads, and that totally surreal pitch for Emerald Nuts that explains how Robert Goulet sneaks into your office every afternoon at Three to mess things up. Oh, and let's not forget the Snickers ad. I'll be having nightmares from that one for years to come. So how about you? Which ads tickled your fancy the most? I'm more than willing to be convinced I'm wrong.
In the meanwhile, thanks, Dad. I'm already holding your seat for next year.