Monday, February 05, 2007

Colts Victors (+ Prince + Mars Controversy, etc.)

I woke up this morning to the radio announcer saying it was -5 F this morning without the wind chill, but the icy climate here in Chicago may also be the result of the Chicago Bears' loss in yesterday's Super Bowl to the Indianapolis Colts. It was an auspicious game, marking simultaneously the first time an African-American head coach had made it this far and the first time two--Lovie Smith for the Bears and Tony Dungy for the Colts--would be facing each other. The Bears had dominated the National Football Conference, primarily because of their defensive prowess; their main weak point remains their less-than-top tier starting quarterback, Rex Grossman. In contrast, the Colts, one of the top American Football Conference teams, have one of the league's best quarterbacks, Peyton Manning, and best receivers, Marvin Harrison, but their defense for much of the season was horrendous. If the Bears' defense could keep the scoring low and if Grossman and running back Thomas Jones could put some points on the board, the Bears would have the edge; if not, then it was Indianapolis's game to lose. As the contest began, both teams would have to deal with Miami's relentless downpour.

As it turned out, after a spectacular opening few minutes, during which the Bears' kick and punt return star Devin Hester set a Super Bowl record for the longest touchdown return (92 yards), and after Grossman threw a touchdown pass to receive Muhsin Muhammad, fortune shifted to the Colts. Manning, Harrison, receiver Reggie Wayne (above right, with tight end Bryan Fletcher), and the two backfielders, Joseph Addai and Dominique Rhodes, repeatedly drove their team down the field, and while they could not get touchdowns every time, they were able to pass Chicago by the midpoint of the game 16-14, and pull ahead 22-14 after the half-time break. For much of the second quarter and second half, Chicago's Grossman could not get a handle on the ball, could not convert third-down possibilities, and simply looked off kilter. He slipped on the wet field at one point, and threw several interceptions, including one in the fourth quarter to backup defender Kelvin Hayden, that effectively sealed Chicago's defeat. After the getting the ball back, he threw another interception, and the Vince Lombardi Trophy went to Dungy (who unfortunately has cast his lot with the horrible homophobes of the American Family Association) and the Colts.

I turned off the sloppy broadcast, which for much for the evening featured water-fogged shots, after the fifth or six incoherent invocation of "God" by the owner, Jim Irsay (whose father infamously moved the team in the middle of the night from Baltimore), and Dungy--did they think they'd dropped down at a revival meeting? Was God not on Chicago's side as well?--but I do congratulate the coach on making history and finally vindicating his talent and skills, which had been called into question by critics and his prior employers in Tampa Bay. As I noted to sports-loving friends, perhaps this victory will also mean that football fans no longer have to hear the sportswriters and commentators harping on the fact that Peyton Manning, considered by many of them to be a deity alongside the Patriot's Tom Brady, had not won the Super Bowl. I would like to see Lovie Smith lead the Bears back next year, though he'll still have the problem of his inconsistent quarterback, and a much tougher schedule to negotiate. That is, if the Bears re-sign him (and they should do so as soon as possible), and if he doesn't return, that spells an opening for the Saint Louis Rams....

Added note: Commenter Eileen rightly mentions the halftime entertainer, Mr. Prince Nelson Rogers, and I must admit that I tuned out when he came on. I was a major fan of Prince's in my youth, had a crush on him, wanted to live in that paisley-park of a world that his music conjured up...but I haven't been too Princified in recent years, and I wondered, why weren't some new musicians, from the current generation of musical artists, out there? Prince did manage to add his take on instrument malfunction, though I've heard no outcry about it (the phallic usually seems to occasion less outrage than the mammary/vaginal), but in general, for me he quickly disappeared into the surroundings. (And he certainly wasn't going to be singing any of my favorites among his songs, like "Lady Cab Driver," "Controversy," etc.)

Also, I paid very little attention the ads. Often I muted them, so I missed the homophobic one from Mars, makers of Snickers and M&Ms, that's being harshly criticized on AmericaBlog. Did anyone else catch this one? I did notice several violent ads, including one warning about heart disease that was brutal enough to induce a cardiac arrest. I also found Coca Cola's attempts to commodify Black history disgusting and offensive; and given that the last thing that many African Americans--or anyone else, for that matter--need to be drinking is corn syrup and additive laden sodas like Coca Cola, whose production takes a tremendous toll on the environment, Coca Cola's ads were especially ironic. But it's not me they're thinking about; it's the millions of children, in particular, that they want to hook on their potentially teeth-rotting fizzy juice, whose consciousnesses they want to industrialize. Somehow, I doubt the American College of Dentistry or the American Diabetes Association would be happy without their assistance.

Update: Courtesy of Audiologo (thanks so much!), here is the link, from This Modern World, to Mars's offensive Snickers commercial.


  1. John, how on earth can you mention the Superbowl and yet overlook the most important part of the game: Prince! He killed the halftime show! He came out there and tore it up! It was the best halftime show I've ever seen! He even wore a do-rag to ensure his hair was perfect for the grand finale of Purple Rain! The makeup! The teal suit! His giant shadowy phallic guitar move! I had an orgasm just watching him! And while my last comment may be slightly imapproriate for the internets, there just isn't a more fitting way to express my love for both Prince and his performance last night. Hooray!

  2. It wasn't only Coca Cola. Frito Lay / Doritos and another brand I forget also did a joint "Black History" spot that also rubbed me the wrong way.

    As for Prince, I was afraid that he'd do some of his recent stuff but he stuck to some of his older material. As a long time fan (my own faves are "Starfish & Coffee," "If I Was Your Girlfriend," "Adore," "Erotic City," "I Would Die for U," "Lady Cab Driver," etc) I was looking forward to see him perform and glad that they were giving him the exposure. Maybe it was the rain and the sound system, but it wasn't a memorable show. I wish he could have incorporated the drum corp better into his songs as well.

  3. Remember that former Chargers player Drew Gissinger? I think I saw him at the bowl. Look where he's playing now.

  4. Mars has apparently taken down the ad, but you can access one of the versions here at the This Modern World blog archive, which also has the NFL player responses to the ad.

  5. Andrés, I missed the other spots, probably because I'd really mentally tuned out the commercials after a certain point, which is something I'm rarely able to do, but I think I'd worked up the determination to do so for Super Bowl Sunday.

    Audiologo, thanks for the link: I'm adding it as an update!