UnNews:Super Bowl to feature platitudes, advertisements
7 February 2010
The event has become a de-facto national holiday. This year, viewership will be especially high in the Washington Beltway, where an improbable winter snowstorm means that local roads are dominated by foreigners and Floridians who can't imagine that they will not get full performance from their car's brakes. Consequently, anyone with a television will not venture outside.
Viewers who never follow the NFL will claim that they are only watching to view the advertisements. Sponsors pay over $1 million per minute for placement during breaks of the Super Bowl, and the ads are thought to be the best the advertising business can produce. A popular genre is ads for beverages and beer that use humor and animals to avoid making any statement about the product. In the United States, it is as taboo to show beer in its typical consumer use as though it were toilet paper. Another genre is brief, cryptic ads to goose traffic to new websites that have about two weeks of life left after spending their entire seed capital on the ads.
However, Super Bowl Sunday marks a vacation from the American orthodoxy that everything on television must deliver a healthy message to the nation's youngsters. Commercials will show abuse of co-workers and objectification of women, while the program itself shows athletes strutting and exchanging High Fives based on a hard hit on the wrong side of the field during a game-winning scoring play for the opponents.
The game itself is between the Indianapolis Colts, whom bettors favor by 5 points, and a team from the South, which used to be known as the Aints after they played an entire season and ain't won nuthin.' Betting on the Super Bowl, incidentally, is illegal throughout the United States, and no one engages in it.
The odd twist to this story is that Colts quarterback Peyton Manning grew up in New Orleans and used to root for his father, who played for his current opponent. Likewise, Drew Brees, the leader of the Aints, has a map on his wall that probably includes Indianapolis. The network is likely to run dozens of tedious "human-interest features" instead of live coverage of important plays.
The Aints are not as horrible as in past years, but some of their fans who attend today's game in Miami, and some fans watching at home, will continue to wear paper shopping bags over their heads in a nod to the team's storied history. "It's important for not only the people in New Orleans, but I think the people around the country because you do understand how much it means to that community and what they've been through," Brees says. It was barely four years ago that Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city, an event its residents still mope about, even though Mississippi and Texas repaired the damage before 2005 was over. The 2010 Super Bowl will give municipal workers another reason to delay repaving the city's streets.
For his part, Manning praises the fans in Indianapolis. "What has been exciting for me since I have lived there, it's always been a sports town, but it's really turned into a football town." Manning claims he never sees city residents on Sunday who are not interested in the Colts.
In the NFL tradition of saying good things about opponents shortly before trying to send them to the hospital, Manning says, "I feel like both teams have gotten to this point because of the success of the teams," charitably ignoring the fact that New Orleans deliberately lost its final two regular-season games on the pretense of "resting" key players. However, the team let fans attend the imitation football games on the payment of Monopoly money.
- Barry Wilner "Time to Play: Who Dats and Hoosiers in Super Bowl." Associated Press, February 6, 2010