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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: The Sports Curmudgeon on Super Bowl Ads, Mike Nolan, the Vikings plus more...

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posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 02:58 PM
Well, it won't be a Pennsylvania Turnpike Super Bowl; the Eagles kept their part of that bargain but the Pats waxed the Steelers. So now, you can call it an Interstate-95 Super Bowl if you want because that road in fact ties Philly to Boston, but that's a bit tenuous.

I'm sure someone will come up with something marginally clever to give a momentary theme to this iteration of the Super Bowl but I'm focused on other matters such as: I wonder what clever wager the Governors of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts will make on the game?

I'm looking ahead to next year's Super Bowl already because that will be Super Bowl XL and I wonder if the league would have the chutzpah to put on a halftime show at something labeled "XL" featuring someone like Aretha Franklin. I doubt it.

Let me get some ancillary Super Bowl stuff out of the way early on. The NFL had Wilson Sporting Goods create 72 footballs for this year's Super Bowl Game. That's it. So after you see the 73rd ad on e-bay for a genuine football used in Super Bowl XXXIX, remember that at least one of them is a forgery -- and probably 70 of them are forgeries. This year's game is in Jacksonville. Unless that city had experienced a huge renaissance since last I spent time there in the early 1980s, the scribes who cover the game and the bigwig sponsors who attend with their families - and their "other families" - are going to be underwhelmed. Next year the game will be in Detroit. In February. That will surely be a resort-like experience those scribes and "heavy hitters" will never forget. Get set to read some pieces in the national press about placing a few more of the Super Bowl contests in more posh environs. These two upcoming locales aren't going to be popular.

The Jax city fathers did something recently to make the Super Bowl a lot cozier for Super Bowl fans in their town. It seems that the Jacksonville police arrested three homeless men and charged them with drinking in public; the attorneys for the men claimed selective prosecution of their clients because there were few if any tailgating arrests at Jaguars' games and there would certainly not be mass arrests during the Super Bowl as fans quaffed a "couple of brews". To be sure no overzealous police officers went and did that, the Jax city fathers repealed the ban on public drinking in the city.

Ads for this year' Super Bowl will cost $2.4M for a 30-second spot. That is a modest 4% increase over last year and FOX says that they have already sold out 95% of the spots. Rumor has it that the ads will be a bit less risque/controversial this year and that there will definitely not be any flatulent horses portrayed. People who cover the sports advertising world report that while people definitely remember the "flatulent horse" from last year's game, many of them do not remember the product associated with that ad and few people felt more positively disposed toward that brand as a result of that ad.

The most frequent of the advertisers will be Anheuser Busch; they have purchased 10 spots. This should be interesting because all season long we have been bombarded with Coors Light ads saying that Coors Light is the official Super Bowl XXXIX sponsor. I'm sure that the Bud folks will do another "Clydesdale football" ad; what I really want them to do is to bring back Louie the Lizard...

At the other end of the NFL spectrum, you have the SF 49ers and their new coach, Mike Nolan. Over the weekend, it was announced that Mike Singleterry would follow Nolan from the Ravens' coaching staff to the 49ers' staff. It would be a whole lot better for the team if Singleterry "the player" were following Nolan to the 49ers. Failing that, maybe if Ed Reed were heading west...

The 49ers are still looking for a GM who will work in conjunction with Nolan as the new coach. Leave it to Scott Ostler to put that situation into perfect perspective in his column in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Nolan and John York say the 49ers' coach-GM relationship will be like a good marriage, and thus there will be no disagreement on matters such as what to do with the top draft pick. Good luck fellas. I've got a good marriage, but I want the 49ers to draft Aaron Rodgers and my wife thinks they should trade down for more picks. However, we speak with one voice concerning our new drapes."

Charlie Walters reported in his column in the St Paul Pioneer-Press that the Vikings' "director of research and development" was in Maui for the Hula Bowl and he served as the secondary coach for the East team there. I have a degree in chemistry - although it dates back to the days when the phlogiston theory had just been debunked - and I worked in the R&D business for 30 years prior to writing these diatribes. So, what are the Vikings doing in terms of research and development that requires them to have a director of that department? Are they tied into BALCO in some way? Enquiring minds want to know...

In NBA news, the Knicks and Lenny Wilkens have parted company. I recall last year when his hiring was hailed as a masterstroke by Isiah Thomas. I'm beginning to wonder if Isiah Thomas' spectacular playing career has blinded some of the people who report and comment on basketball. Let me say unequivocally, that Isiah Thomas was a great basketball player and anyone who quibbles with that in any way need not participate in any future discussions about basketball. However:

Isiah Thomas did not cover himself in glory in his stint as the architect of the expansion Toronto Raptors.

As coach of the Pacers, he did OK with a team crafted by someone else but as soon as he left and Larry Bird took over as the coach, the Pacers got significantly better.

He owned and ran the CBA and it was on the brink of insolvency during most of his ownership.

He has run the "rudderless" Knicks franchise now for less than two years and is on his third coach - and this latest guy has the "dreaded interim coach tag" on him.

He has made trades that generated a lot of headlines in a lot of newspapers but they have not generated a lot of wins on a lot of basketball courts.

So, at what point is it fair to ask of Isiah Thomas, just what have you accomplished since you stopped playing basketball?

Finally, here's an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

"Fyodor Nesterchuk, a 63-year old insurance broker from the Ukrainian town of Kamen-Kashirsky, hasn't slept in more than 20 years, the Russian News and Information Agency reported. Doctors are getting so desperate to find a cure, we hear, that they've written him a prescription for 49ers season tickets."

Hey, if that doesn't work, how about an Al Gore speech on the mechanics of restructuring Third World debt... ZZZZ SNORKZ ZZZ

But don't get me wrong, I love sports...

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon


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