Category Archives: NFL Marketing
The Super Bowl has come to be the perfect representation of America in all of its grossest excesses and bombastic pageantry. An annual epic display of wretched overindulgence, debauchery, drunkenness, gluttony, glitz, idolatry and greed and an overkill of hype in the true American tradition and electronically exported to the rest of the civilized and uncivilized world alike through the miracles of modern technology. Despite the continuing assault on the mythical American Dream by the establishment the citizens of the republic/empire will continue to be distracted by the same Bread and Circuses (p nem et circ ns s) that our precursors in Rome eagerly and ignorantly succumbed to as their own society was laid to waste right in front of their blind and apathetic eyes that had become fixated on cheap diversions for their daily lives. To the victors go the spoils and the victors are the networks, advertisers and league who all reap marketing bonanzas off of the unofficial national holiday. The winning team has to settle for bragging rights and a silver plated phallic object known as the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The game and its all out accompanying hype have since the early days become a showcase for consumerism and raw capitalist hubris. The game is no longer accessible to the average fan other than on televisions that incidentally have their heaviest sales in the weeks leading up to the festival. The game long ago became too expensive for the normal fan, luxury suites and parties are packed with slimy corporate Republican douchebags, power brokers, celebrities and the Jack Abramoffs of the world seeking to parlay free Super Bowl junkets into multi million dollar deals. Initially slow to catch on Corporate America didn’t always see the Super Bowl as the immense marketing and schmoozing bonanza that it had the potential to be, early games were neither heavily promoted nor watched by a large sector of the public, the game or two weren’t even formerly called Super Bowls but eventually the advent of technology allowed Wall Street to see the game for the golden plated cash cow that it really is and the political forces came to the same conclusion. The ultimate perversion was in the nascent FOX network’s acquisition of NFL television rights for NFC games, it was what made Rupert Murdoch’s fledgling propaganda mill into a legitimate force.
The fiercely protective NFL uses an iron fist in the licensing and strict enforcement of use of name in local advertising, the National Football League enforces it’s trademarks more mercilessly than members of the Tony Soprano mob and on any given Sunday local law enforcement officials throughout the country are sent on missions to flea markets to confiscate and destroy all unlicensed league and team merchandise. There should be an organized boycott of all NFL team apparel, why should anyone pay top dollar for an official jersey that may or may not have been made by foreign sweatshop labor. In caving in to celebrity idolatry and wearing this crap people are not only pumping cash into the bloated NFL beast but also offering free advertising the equivalent of walking around with a sandwich board. Would anyone pay sixty bucks and up for a shirt that advertises Subway, Burger King, Wal Mart, Haliburton, Exxon-Mobil or any other corporation?
Corporate hacks and advertisers aren’t the only grifters who use the Super Bowl as a forum for scamming and commercialism, merchandising tie ins, travel schemes, ticket scalping and any other myriad of scams both legal and illegal are typically at their highest levels in the run up to the big game. TV sales are their highest levels as Americans scramble for that perfect new electronic false deity to place on the living room altar just in time for kickoff. In the weeks preceding the game retailers normally see record alcohol sales, especially in beer, a beverage hawked throughout the game by the big three (Budweiser, Coors and Miller) with commercials often featuring much sexual innuendo. Gambling degenerates have their biggest day of the year and bets are placed on everyting from the winning team to the point spread to which player scores first or even wins the coin flip. What you don’t hear about unfortunately is that due to the increased amount of alcohol consumed nationally on Super Sunday there are also spikes in episodes of domestic violence (womens shelters are swamped), alcohol related arrests and alcohol related vehicular accidents. The biggest winners are the networks who can have their cake and eat it too due to their ability to run commercials plugging their upcoming lineup of exploitative trash television. CBS launched it’s megahit Survivor series and FOX pimped it’s hit ‘24’ action show that is really a clever vehicle for propaganda and indoctrination regarding terrorism, fear and torture state advocacy. Ruppert Murdoch’s ode to the Bush-Cheney junta’s dramatic vision of totalitarian society now in it’s fifth season of fueling the undercurrent of fear running through America like a poisoned river. Will this be the year when advertisers seek to tap into the pure American mainline crack cocaine high of evangelical ‘Christianity’ and the millions of potential customers? Will this year’s soft drink commercials feature Jesus and Moses instead of the standard celebrities and computer generated animated figures? Stay tuned. Once all barriers fall nothing will really be able to remain sacred anymore.
As America progresses along on it’s incremental metamorphosis into an ultra religious, fascist, police state one can only wait until the first Super Bowl is held in New York City in a brand spanking new stadium that will be built with taxpayer money with the promise of hosting the ultimate game dangled like a carrot in front of a donkey. There will be the inevitable 9/11 tie ins including a state of the art reenactment of the devastation of the twin towers during a halftime show that will feature ‘patriotic’ music by country western stars Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood among others. There will be military marching bands, honor guards, flyovers, gospel choirs and the new mass reality television sensation of summary executions of several prominent liberals and other enemies of the state. It will be our very own Nuremburg rally, God Bless America, Free Market Capitalism, the military industrial complex and most of all The Super Bowl itself! It will be pure viscral pomp and cirumstance on a grand scale that not even Leni Reifenstahl herself could have envisioned in her wildest dreams.
But I Digress….
This year’s host city is Detroit the former ‘Motor City’ prior to the collapse of the American automobile industry is not the typical site, only the third Super Bowl to be held in a cold weather city since the game’s inception and an obvious carrot to the owners of the woebegone Detroit Lions for their construction of the new Ford Field where the game will be played. Detroit incidentally is the only U.S. city to hold the dubious distinction of honoring former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, even presenting him with the key to the city but this was a long time ago in a different country before he crossed the Bush family which in turn has double crossed the nation. Motown is a bitterly cold Midwestern hell in early February but in terms of entertainment value will represent an improvement over last year’s host. The 2005 circus maximus was held in Jacksonville, FL, the capital of strip mall evangelical churches and a city with a notorious shortage of usable quality hotel space other than the ubiquitous Motel Sixes, Motel Eights and truckstops that flank local highways. The NFL and local chamber of commerce had to arrange for numerous cruise ships to be brought in for the week in order to accommodate the high rollers. The gripe factor couldn’t have been higher for those looking for a good time unless the game were held in Mobile, Birmingham, Nashville or some other NASCAR fixated hick mecca where the only thing outnumbering meth labs are fundamentalist churches.
This year’s matchup is between the sixth seeded AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks and only God himself knows what the fucking commericals will be but rest assured they will all be ranked come Monday morning and I will dutifully be weighing in with my opinion.
The Steelers, 15-1 last year only to go down in flames in the AFC title game are bearing the media mantle of ‘destiny’s darlings’, don’t believe it. This team is good and had they not lost QB Ben Roethlisberger to an injury for several games would have finished better than 11 and 5 on the regular season and potentially hosted the AFC title game, which may not have been the best situation given coach Bill Cowher’s 1-5 record in home championship contests. It took a convenient crippling of Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer, an amazing overcoming of a stacked deck and the NFL’s determination to see Indianapolis, Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy in the Super Bowl and then the fulfillment of the old adage that ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ in Denver where four Jake Plummer turnovers stamped the Steelers’ ticked to Detroit where they can finally ‘win one for the thumb’ and send future Hall of Famer Jerome ‘The Bus’ Bettis out in style with the Vince Lombardi Trophy in his first Super Bowl appearance. Despite the diffuculty of their journey Pittsburgh definitely belongs.
Seattle stamped their ticket to Motown by thankfully routing the perennially overrated Carolina Panthers, I just don’t know how much more hype comparing mediocre journeyman QB Jake Delhomme to three time SB winner Tom Brady that I could have stomached and fortunately due to the Seahawk ass whipping I don’t have to. As far as my official prediction goes I am picking the Steelers to win fairly easily, let’s say by a score of about 37-16 or something along those lines. Although Seattle’s run was very impressive the majority of their wins were against teams in the weak sister NFC and they did play in the worst division of that conference and easily rolled up six wins against chumps the likes of the Cardinals, 49ers and Rams (they are the NFC version of the Indianapolis Colts who also were beneficiaries of being in a bad division) and could very easily have been upset by the Redskins in their first playoff game. I am going with Pittsburgh for the following three reasons and none of them included the hackneyed and overused by the lazy fucks in the MSM ‘Team of Destiny’ or ‘The Bettis Bowl’…they simply are the better team because:
1: They are battle tested, hardened and on a mission. They will not be just happy to be in the game which is a danger to the perennially underachieving Seahawks.
2: Don’t forget that this team was 15-1 last season and has basically the same players less the underachieving Plaxico Burress, the chronically injured Duce Staley but has another year of experience under the belt for QB Ben Roethlisberger whose inevitable collision with the rookie wall just happened to coincide with last year’s ugly home championship game loss to the Patriots.
3: The Steelers are the more physical team and will be doling out punishment on every play, a franchise tradition since the days of the formidable ‘Steel Curtain’ Defense.
Does Seattle have a chance? Sure, they have won 15 games to this point, have the NFL’s leading rusher and are very well coached by Mike Holmgren who stands to benefit from the very opposite of the major factor that ultimately did his Green Bay Packers in back in 1997 when they lost to John Elway’s Broncos 31-24. The media is constantly stroking the Steelers and pretty much downplaying Seattle’s chances….a trap that bit the fat man in the ass once before and believe me, he is aware of this and will use every motivational tool in his arsenal to his team’s advantage. I would love to see a great see-saw, cliffhanger of a game as much as the NFL and the advertisers but alas the Seahawks are a soft team and this is the worst possible match-up that they could have been saddled with in Detroit.
The Steelers roll and finally get the long elusive ‘one for the thumb’.
I: Prior to all of the mega-hype and the television explosion facilitated by Pete Rozelle’s network deals and the phenomenon of Monday Night Football this was just an ugly game between the champions of two underexposed leagues, the established NFL and the rebel AFL. Vince Lombardi’s reigning NFL kings the Green Bay Packers thumped the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in a win that was so easy that backup cheesehead receiver Max McGee was able to shrug off a pregame night of intense drinking and a commode hugging hangover to catch 7 Bart Starr passes for 137 yards and two TD’s against a woeful Chiefs defense that again sucks to high heaven forty years later. This one was so low profile that it wasn’t even named Super Bowl.
II: The Green Bay Packers’ 33-14 rout of the Oakland Raiders was anti-climactic after the cheesehead win over the Dallas Cowboys for the NFL title in frozen Lambeau Field in the now classic Ice Bowl game. A sign of the times and lack of popularity of the game was that the Grambling State University played both the national anthem and half time shows in the days before the game became an American cultural icon. This year’s half time performers, The Rolling Stones released Beggar’s Banquet in 1968.
III: The game that grabbed the establishment by the balls and gave them a good, hard squeezing as the AFL champion New York Jets led by ‘Broadway Joe’ Namath stunned the heavily favored Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Miami. The brash Namath would use his ‘guarantee’ of a Jet win and then backing it up as a springboard to both fame and fortune and eventual infamy when he drunkenly slobbered over Suzy Colber on national television three and a half decades later. A symbol of the sixties counterculture Namath grew his hair long, drank heavily, fornicated with relentless abandon backed it up on the field and put a huge bug up the asses of the regressive morons who would eventually register as Republicans and lead the venomous culture wars of today.
IV: The AFL makes it two in a row as the Kansas City Chiefs thump the hapless Minnesota Vikings who will soon become purple perennial Super Bowl losers and the punchline of jokes 23-7 in a game as ugly as they get. This was the last game before the merger of the two leagues.
V: This year’s edition was a poorly played, low scoring debacle in which the Baltimore Colts Jim O’Brien kicked the winning field goal with the clock winding down and lift his team to a 16-13 victory despite 7 turnovers, the opposing Dallas Cowboys had 4 of their own in the game now known as the ‘Blooper Bowl’
VI: God’s original coach Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys crushed the Miami Dolphins 24-3 in Tulane Stadium and shed the derisive tag of ‘next year’s champions’ who never could win the big one. In a bit of trivia future Chicago raving lunatic coach and Super Bowl XX winner Mike Ditka closed out the scoring for the Cowboys with a 7 yard td catch.
VII: The AFC Champion Miami Dolphins survive a matchup with George Allen’s over the hill gang Redskins 14-7 despite a hideous botched field goal by kicker Garo Yepremian who then scooped up the ball and launched an errant Dilferesque pass that was picked off and returned for a ‘skins touchdown. The fish held on to finish 17-0, the only perfect season in NFL history and the old men are still popping the corks of their champagne bottles as the last unbeaten team goes down with each passing season. Tony Dungy’s Colts made them sweat a bit but the mutinous loser Peyton Manning would have choked it away in the playoffs anyway.
VIII: The Miami Dolphins make it two wins in a row by mashing the Minnesota Vikings into the turf of Houston’s Rice Stadium behind the blitzkrieg attack of Larry Csonka who would roll up 145 yards on the way to a 24-7 victory, a textbook demonstration of smashmouth ball that was so efficient that Dolphin quarterback only had to throw the ball seven times, completing six but when you are facing a rushing defense as reminiscent of swiss cheese as that of the Vikes he could have probably have gotten away with taking the afternoon off.
IX: The Vikes make it two in a row and three overall by losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-6 in the first of four wins for the nascent dynasty. Minnesota’s downfall (other than getting off of the plane in the first place) was in not learning a lesson from the previous year’s loss and shoring up their run defense which allowed Steeler RB Franco Harris to rumble for 158 yards. Purple People Eaters? More like Purple Pussies, Barney could have started at defensive tackle and been an improvement as a run stuffer.
X: The Steelers make it two in a row by riding a great performance by WR Lynn Swann (4 catches for 161 yards and a td) who was listed for doubtful after suffering a concussion in the AFC championship game and beat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in Miami’s Orange Bowl. In trivia notes, the group Up With People performed at halftime and game film was eventually used in the movie Black Sunday.
XI: The Vikings go a perfect 4 for 4 as Super Bowl losers as they go down meekly to future uber television analyst John Madden’s Oakland Raiders 32-14 this time getting trampled for 266 rushing yards by the Raiders’ two-pronged attack of Clarence Davis and Mark Van Eeghen and the passing duo of Kenny ‘the snake’ Stabler and Fred Biletnkoff. The game was the first to be played in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl and the halftime entertainment/advertisement was a performance of Disney’s ‘It’s A Small World’.
XII: The clock strikes twelve for the Cinderella Denver Broncos and the ‘Orange Crush’ defense whose 12-2 run captivated the Mile High City as they are destroyed by the Dallas Cowboys 27-10 in the first Super Bowl to be held in New Orleans’ new Superdome. Led by former Cowboy quarterback Craig Morton who completed as many passes to his former teammates as the guys in orange (4) the Broncos turned the ball over eight times to the ‘Doomsday Defense’ and the Cowboys held the ball for over 38 minutes in this ugly rout that was mainly notable for the Broncos’ first step in their quest to catch up to the Vikings in the futility hall of fame.
XIII: In Miami Pittsburgh goes 3 for 3 in a rematch with the defending NFL champion Cowboys in a wild offensive show. The Steelers were led by QB Terry Bradshaw’s 318 passing yards and four touchdowns, the Cowboys were equally impressive in racking up 31 points but falling short in a 35-31 loss that was as entertaining as it was wild. The Cowboys were the first team to wear their road jerseys despite being designated as the ‘home’ team although it didn’t cause a collective media orgasm like this year’s game where the Steelers rocked the sports world by doing likewise. The halftime show was an infomercial sponsored by Carnival Cruiselines. The Cowboy’s smack talking LB Thomas ‘Hollywood’ Henderson created controversy when he held court on media day to boldly proclaim that Bradshaw was so dumb that he couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the letters C and A and we know how that one turned out with Bradshaw winning the MVP award for his performance. Henderson would eventually have the last laugh despite a bout with drugs as he would go on to hit the $ 28 million jackpot in the Texas Lottery while Bradshaw would have to be content with being a clown on the FOX NFL pregame show for a living after football.
XIV: The Steelers make it a perfect 4-0 record in Super Bowls as QB Terry Bradshaw is able to overcome three interceptions in order to lead a comeback victory over the upstart Los Angeles Rams 34-19 in Pasadena much to the delight of Terrible Towel waving members of their road contingent and the chagrin of the hometown crowd.
XV: The Oakland Raiders win their second Super Bowl by riding a 3 touchdown day by MVP quarterback Jim Plunkett to an easy 27-10 triumph over Dick Vermeil’s Philadelphia Eagles in New Orleans. The Raiders’ Rod Martin intercepted three of future ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski’s errant passes and Vermeil turned on the waterworks on his way to his coming retirement to the broadcast booth. The Raiders were the bad boys of lore as John ‘The Tooz’ Matuszak tore up Bourbon Street on his way to tearing up the Iggles. This was the first game of the Reagan era and therefore the demarcation point of American society, the stirring pre game tribute to the Iranian hostages who were released from captivity as the Gipper was sworn in (allegedly the result of dirty double dealing by George H.W. Bush in cutting a deal to prevent an October Surprise to boost Jimmy Carter’s popularity prior to the election) and the patriotic horseshit overkill that is so much a part of everyday society became an integral part of the zeitgeist.
XVI: The first game to be held in a cold weather city as the San Francisco 49ers face the Cincinnati Bengals in matchup of two teams coming off of huge turnarounds, the ‘niners were 3-13 and the Bengals 6-10 the previous year. The Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit was the site of the establishment of Super Bowl legend Joe Montana who led his team to a 26-21 victory and the first of his eventual four rings.
XVII: Washington’s John Riggins ran roughshod over the Miami Dolphins with a 166 yard, 2 td MVP performance for the Redskin’s first Super Bowl win. The Skins would score 14 points in the fourth quarter on the way to a 27-17 win that put the cap on a season tainted by a 57 day player strike that wiped out seven games. This game could also be remembered for all of the gut churning nausea induced by host network ABC’s continual hyping of their lousy paramitilary action series the A-Team during nearly every commercial break. “I pity the fool” would become a household phrase during the show’s ensuing five year run. A big fan was first lady Nancy Reagan whose thrill of the decade was sitting on the burly star Mr. T’s lap.
XVIII: In the first Super Bowl to be held in Tampa’s ‘Big Sombrero’ the Los Angeles Raiders thoroughly embarrassed the NFC Champion Washington Redskins 38-9 behind a swarming defense led by Howie Long, Lyle Alzado, Ted Hendricks and Matt Millen that harassed quarterback Joe Theesman all day, sacking him six times and subjecting him to a pounding that had him dancing on happy feet all afternoon long. The Raidahs scored both on both a blocked punt and an interception return in the first half and then jumped on the back of running back Marcus Allen whose 191 yard, two touchdown day earned him the MVP. The most entertaining moment of the day however was Ridley Scott’s (Alien, Blade Runner) great ‘Big Brother’ commercial for Apple McIntosh that is renowned as one of the best if not the best advertisement ever for it’s great production values.
XIX: If you ever want a testimonial on the fleeting nature of fame and the rarity for a chance at an NFL championship just ask former Miami Dolphin Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, a man who would become the most prolific passer in NFL history but came up a loser in his only Super Bowl appearance. Marino’s second season was perhaps the greatest in NFL history with 48 passing touchdowns (a record that stood until it was broken by another prolific loser Peyton Manning’s 49 in 2004) and 5,084 yards but it ended in an ugly 38-16 defeat to Joe Montana’s San Francisco 49ers in Palo Alto, CA. In a classic display of the now commonplace and utterly shameless political stagecraft that perpetuates the cult of the almighty leader, President Ronald Reagan himself participated in the coin toss via satellite from the White House.
XX: Chicago Bears’ punk quarterback Jim McMahon moons a helicopter and allegedly calls all New Orleans women “sluts” and all local men “ignorant”, the ‘Super Bowl Shuffle’ became a pop culture phenomenon and the Mike Ditka led Bears demolish the New England Patriots 46-10 in a lopsided game where the legendary Walter Payton is deprived of the opportunity to score a touchdown by marketing sensation William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry, the mammoth 335 pound Chicago defensive tackle who would sign and endorsement with McDonalds, ironic given that today the 800 pound gorilla of the fast food industry is trying to combat the image that their food is the unhealthy crap that it truly is by featuring a new salad line in response to sagging sales and the great movie Supersize Me . Payton would be offended by the callous actions of Ditka until his dying day although he had too much class to acknowledge it publicly for the indignity that it truly was…then again why expect anything other than boorish behavior from Ditka?
XXI: The ballast laden legend of the greatness of Bill ‘The Big Tuna’ Parcells began with this 39-20 trouncing of the Denver Broncos and John Elway in Pasadena. Future CBS announcer and Giants quarterback shredded the Denver defense for an NFL postseason completion record of 88 % completing 22 of 25 darts for 3 touchdowns. This game would begin an ugly stretch of bridesmaid status and undeserved national ridicule for Dan Reeves’ Broncos.
XXII: The Broncos make it two ugly losses in a row, topping the prior year’s debacle by blowing an early 10-0 lead to ‘God’s Coach’ and the Washington Redskins who rode the arm of perennial underachiever Doug Williams and previously unknown RB Timmy Smith to a whopping 35 point second quarter and coasted to a 42-10 win, had Gibbs not called off the dogs the Skins may very well have been the first NFL team to score in the triple digits against the bumbling Broncs.
XXIII: The famous ‘John Candy’ game where 49er quarterback Joe Montana spotted the soon to be deceased fat slob actor in the stands and used the Orca sighting as a motivational ploy to calm his offense for the eventual comeback that would cement his legendary status as well as beat the Cincinnati Bengals and the Ickey Shuffle 20-16. Also of notoriety was the bad omen of Cincy head coach Sam ‘Wicky Wacky’ Wyche finding starting fullback Stanley Wilson on the floor of his hotel room john shaking, sweating and in the throes of a huge overdose of Bolivian marching powder after allegedly leaving a team meeting to find his playbook. Sure Stan, just tell it to Miami Vice. Also this year marked the premier of the fabled Bud Bowl I as a commercial.
XXIV: John Elway and Dan Reeves hit the trifecta for embarrassing big game losses when they ran into the buzzsaw of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice’s San Francisco 49er machine. Pity the poor Cleveland Browns who once again lost the AFC title game to their personal bogeyman Broncos only to sit at home sadly dipping Doritos in bean dip and crying into their beer over Denver’s failure to show up for kickoff. The 55-10 decimation still remains as the worst ass kicking in the history of a game that has had it’s fair share of them. This dog was over nearly immediately local N’awlins legend Aaron Neville finished singing the Star Spangled Banner. French Quarter bars were swarmed well before the Broncos were able to cut into a 41-3 lead and my fat ditto-head childhood friend Rocky broke down in drunken tears in the Super Dome parking lot after a sorry finale to a nightmare weekend that included being felt up in a Bourbon Street gay bar over watered down beer and a bowl of soupy red beans and rice.
XXV: The 25th anniversary edition of the Super Bowl in Tampa will be remembered not only for the blatant nationalist/patriotic militarism on display due to it falling in the middle of the Gulf War to kick Saddam Hussein’s ass out of Kuwait but for another display of kicking that will forever live in infamy in the hearts of Buffalo Bills fans on their way to their first of four straight big game losses. Poor Scott Norwood became the biggest sports goat since Bill Buckner when he missed a potential game winning 47 yard field goal allowing the Giants to eke out a 20-19 win in what was one of the most well played games in the history of the Biggest Kahuna of them all and further enhanced the legendary status of the Big Tuna Bill Parcells who was revered as if he were the second coming of Vince Lombardi until it became apparent that he has never won dick without Bill Belichik who has won three of his own titles without the annoying, fickle lard ass who was his previous boss.
XXVI: In the first Super Bowl to be played in frigid Minneapolis, MN Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas lost his helmet, was subsequently held to 13 yards rushing and quarterback Jim Kelly chipped in with 4 interceptions as the K Gun offense misfired and Buffalo went down quickly and quietly to Jesus Gibbs, Mark Rypien and the Washington Redskins 37-24 in a game that only appeared close on the scoreboard due to two late Bill touchdowns in garbage time.
XXVII: The 1993 edition of the game was played in Pasadena, CA after being pulled from original host site Tempe because of Arizona’s racist stance against recognizing Martin Luther King Day that was eventually shot down by voters giving the Phoenix area a shot three years later. The return of the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl after years of mediocrity was only the second biggest story of the day other than Whacko Jacko who performed his trademark crotch gyrations at halftime in what would be the waning days of his reign as the self proclaimed ‘king of pop’ and just prior to the continuing allegations of child molestation immersed the little freak in years of scandal. The game itself proved that the third time was definitely not the charm for the Buffalo Bills who were annihilated 52-17 as they self immolated under the weight of a record nine turnovers. The final score actually could have been worse had the showboating Leon Lett not been stripped of the ball as he was going into the end zone for a touchdown on a fumble return.
XXVIII: The Buffalo Bills tie the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings as the most losing Super Bowl teams of all time all three being a collective 0 for 12 in the big game as the Dallas Cowboys take the rematch game of last year’s contest 30-13 and Buffalo actually led at halftime 13-6 before facing an Emmitt Smith onslaught as Jimmy Johnson’s Cowboys scored the last 24 points in Atlanta for their second straight title and with a young team could have set records were it not for their petulant owner Jerry Jones who chafed at not getting enough credit for the team’s success, it had to rankle him that Johnson wasn’t exactly fond of the entourage on the sidelines including at times Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar among other Jones cronies. Then a slight at a post game party led Jones to run Johnson out of town and in an insult to the impeccably coiffed little Napoleon Jones went so far as to bring in the hated Barry Switzer as a replacement, allegedly snippily referring to Jimmah as “the little cunt”. What could have been an NFL record run of Super Bowl wins ended in disaster, Dallas would go on to win one more Super Bowl two years later but oh what could have been had egos not interfered with business.
XXIX: Coming in the aftermaths of local race riots in host city Miami this butt ugly game was yet another of the ridiculously over hyped and under competitive routs in the history of the biggest game on the planet. The San Francisco 49ers and Steve Young together emerged from the shadow of Joe Montana to drop a 49-26 ass kicking on the upstart San Diego Chargers in a game that was effectively over at halftime. ABC had the broadcast rights and rolled out not only the tired and stale Hank Williams Jr. for an ‘Are You Ready for Some Football’ pre game show followed by the ‘singing’ of the national anthem by national sweetheart Kathie Lee Gifford prior to the double whammy of her clothing line’s exposure as the product of sweatshop labor and the even more embarrassing revelation that perfect hubby Frank of Monday Night Football fame was possessed of a cheatin’ heart when it was revealed that he was banging a TWA stewardess and the ensuing scandal led to an ugly public electronic confessional on the Barbara Walters show.
XXX: Tempe, AZ finally got it’s shot to host a Super Bowl after the failure to recognize MLK day cost them three years prior and it ended up being a hell of a lot better contest than most would have imagined. Megalomaniac Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones’ big ‘Fuck You’ to former coach Jimmy Johnson by winning a title with Barry ‘Bootlegger’s Boy’ Switzer at the helm couldn’t have been accomplished without the assistance of the Cowboy’s most valuable player and it wasn’t Deion Sanders. Pittsburgh Steelers QB Neil O’Donnell who had been an accurate and fairly mistake free passer all season long imploded in extremely ugly fashion on the national stage throwing three of the worst interceptions in the history of Sun Devil Stadium and that includes the Jake Plummer years. O’Donnell single handedly not only gave the game to Dallas on a silver platter but also made a lifelong friend in mediocre Cowboy cornerback Larry Brown who was allowed to parlay his two picks into a lucrative free agent deal with perennial sucker Al Davis and the Raiders where he inevitably was exposed as the loser that he always was. The Steelers dominated everywhere on the scoreboard where they eventually came out on the wrong side of a 27-17 score thanks to O’Donnell’s lousy performance. The absence of the usual smack talk from the Dallas locker room in the aftermath speaks volumes.
XXXI: The Green Bay Packers returned to the big game after a three decade absence and were able to parlay a flurry of big plays as well as a huge special teams performance by MVP Desmond Howard whose 244 return yards including a 99 yard touchdown on a kickoff return to take the wind out of the Patriots’ sails after a Curtis Martin run had cut the Packer lead to six was the difference in this one. Local favorite Brett Favre made the most out of his triumphant return to N’Awlins a city within spittin’ distance of the family home in Kiln, MS and came away a 35-21 winner in his first Super Bowl appearance. Richard Jewell lookalike Mike Holmgren (the coach of this year’s NFC champ Seattle) bested the Big Tuna whose New England team couldn’t overcome their inept special teams play or four Drew Bledsoe interceptions in the fat man’s last appearance in the big game.
XXXII: John Elway and the Denver Broncos finally get the monkey off of their backs by winning their first Super Bowl over the much hyped Green Bay Packers in San Diego by a score of 31-24. The wild card Broncos were given absolutely no chance by the media and punditry given the line on the Packers as 11 ½ point favorites to continue the NFC’s 13 year run of dominance and were stroked all week long while the Broncos were virtually ignored. The game however was a different story as Denver played inspired ball from the get go and the Pack had no answer for their running game. This one had all of the signs of becoming a super rout early on with the Packer defense led by the incredible mountain of run stuffing fat and John Madden favorite Gilbert Brown being run over by Terrell Davis but a migraine headache sidelined TD for a quarter and allowed the cheeseheads to get back into the game. The resulting see saw battle made for one of the best and most entertaining games in years and didn’t end until a Brett Favre pass was broken up on fourth down in Bronco territory with under a minute left. John Elway would finally have his title and shed the tag of not being able to win the big one. The funniest line of the day goes to NBC’s Dick Enberg who observed late in the fourth quarter after the MVP Davis had run for his 3rd touchdown and was on his way to a 157 yard day “Gilbert Brown is down again….and he’s not getting up”.
XXXIII: Big time ‘Family values’ guy and Atlanta Falcon defensive leader Eugene Robinson celebrates his earlier receipt of the ‘Bart Starr Award’ for high moral character by ditching his wife and kids for a serious trolling expedition through Miami’s sleazier parts in search of a blowjob and was arrested by local vice cops (no word ever came out on whether he propositioned Crockett or Tubbs) in an embarrassing incident that stunned teammates and set off a paparazzi frenzy. The distracted Falcon cornerback played the game in a cloud of shame that was evident when he was burned on an 80 yard touchdown toss from Bronco QB John Elway to Rod Smith that in another embarrassing moment was nearly missed by the FOX network’s inexplicable blunder in switching from a commercial timeout back to the game. In his last game Elway is the MVP as he wins his second consecutive title and perhaps even better humiliates former Coach Dan Reeves in a 34-19 payback for ruining the early years of his career what a way to go out in style.
XXXIV: The triumph of both long suffering Dick Vermeil and Georgia Frontiere as well as the canonization of Kurt Warner, the born again Christian grocery clerk turned NFL MVP with the winning St. Louis Rams. The media predictably swarmed around Warner in a feeding frenzy and went into overkill mode with the multitude of maudlin human insterest stories over his football salvation. The network television crew featured shots of his homely, butch looking wife throughout the game who was dressed in an ugly blue synthetic fur boa that appeared to have been scrounged out of a dumpster behind and East St. Louis Salvation Army thrift store. The powers that be jobbed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by overruling an obvious Bert Emanuel catch in the waning moments of what could have been a stunning upset of the media darling Rams and given the league a nightmare matchup of two of the league’s best defenses in what would be a cure for insomniacs everywhered. This one was actually a pretty exciting game that went town to the last play and a huge stop of Tennessee Titan’s WR Kevin Dyson at the one to give the Rams a 23-16 victory and allow the emotionally unstable Vermeil to break down in tears during the post game celebrations. Also Baltimore Ravens all pro linebacker Ray Lewis is involved in an ugly murder outside an Atlanta nightclub at a postgame party.
XXXV: Mainly notable for the triumphant return of the maligned Trent Dilfer to Tampa as the winning Super Bowl quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. This was to have been the local Bucs home title game and the Glazer family fought the NFL long and hard to keep the pirate ship replica in place in the end zone rather than to remove it and use the area for extra seats. Tampa Bay finished as a 10-6 wild card team due to head coach Tony Dungy’s decision to make a political statement in starting the rancid Shaun ‘Burger’ King at QB which would eventually cost the Bucs dearly in the playoffs. In the SB the Ravens defense made mincemeat of the woeful N.Y. Giants in one of the worst games in the long and sordid history of non-competitive showings. Alleged murderer Ray Lewis won the MVP award but not a trip to Disney World out of fear that he may have shanked Donald Duck or Goofy. The final score of 34-7 is in no way indicative of just how bad a game that this one was.
XXXVI: The first post 9-11 New World Order Super Bowl saw a classic upset of an overrated and over-hyped media darling team as well as the rise of a new dynasty when the huge underdog New England Patriots stunned the heavily favored ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ of Mike Martz and Jesus Warner 20-17. Pats coach Bill Belichik began his ascent up the mountain and into the pantheon of coaching legends by simply coaching good ball, allowing the megalomaniac Ram coach Mike Martz to self destruct by arrogantly neglecting to use his greatest weapon by feeding the ball to running back Marshall Faulk in favor of instead placing the game in the hands of former grocery clerk Kurt Warner who threw the rock like he was back in Iowa chucking cans of creamed corn. A buzzer beating Adam Vinatieri field goal won it for New England in one of the best games ever. The most memorable moment of the day would however belong to rock superstars U2 whose outstanding halftime performance included a sincere and stirring tribute to the victims of the WTC and Pentagon attacks to a rousing rendition of the classic ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ in the days prior to when Karl Rove and his slimy rat fuck goons exploited the tragedy at every opportunity for political gain.
XXVII: The long suffering former NFL joke Tampa Bay Buccaneers resoundingly thumped Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in a game not nearly as close as the score indicated. New Buc coach Jon Gruden couldn’t have embarrassed ‘The Godfather’ any more had he buttfucked his former boss at midfield during the halftime show. Manic depressive Oakland Center Barrett Robbins won the ‘Eugene Robinson Award’ as he was the distraction of the year after wandering off on a drunken Tijuana rampage. Knocking back straight shots of raw tequila and taking in the legendary donkey show somehow don’t equate to a positive pre game preparation and the manic depressive Robbins was sidelined for what would be the biggest game of his life, not that it mattered to the Raidahs. The best moment of all was that the national anthem was performed by the Dixie Chicks who would soon become the scapegoat for right wing scum throughout the land as the attack on Iraq commenced and the lead singer of this lousy pop country trio dared to say in front of a foreign audience “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” Of course this was met by outrage in der homeland as well as many right wing radio sponsored cd burnings…hmmm. The only worse turnaround from nationally revered celebrity to nationally reviled infamy would have been if the Manson Family Singers sang God Bless America prior to Super Bowl III in Miami eight months prior to their notorious bloody murder spree.
XXXVIII: The infamous Janet Jackson pierced nipple incident juices TIVO sales and sends the morality police into apoplectic rants against the decline of secular society, the fleeting millisecond second glimpse of a tittie was far more outrageous to the national morality police than the general repugnant nature of the tasteless commercials featuring farting horses and ubiquitious potty jokes. Is this a great country or what? The Patriots reclaim their championship mantle by using another last second field goal by iceman Adam Vinatieri to beat the upstart Carolina Panthers 32-29 in one of the most entertaining games in the series history. There were 37 points scored in a wild fourth quarter and both quarterbacks Tom Brady and Jake Delhomme had huge passing days with 300 yard, 3 touchdown games.
XXXIX: The return from injury of WR Terrell Owens was this game’s biggest story and the Philadelphia Eagles finally in the Super Bowl after three straight NFC title game losses actually played well enough to have a chance before QB Donovan McNabb started blowing chow through his faceguard late in the fourth quarter and head coach Andy Reid’s poor clock management led to a 24-21 loss and the third title in four years for the New England Patriots. Super Bowl records were set for complaints about the host city: Jacksonville, FL the strip mall church capital of America and cruise ships had to be brought in for the high rollers due to the city’s lack of hotel rooms that weren’t part of the Motel 6 franchise.
With the chosen ones now left with months of free time on their hands to petition the lord in prayer can we now all get over the tired and obscene idea that God actually gives a flying fuck about who wins a football game? I mean doesn’t God have better things to do with his time and omnipotence, infinite power and wisdom than to waste time squandering it over such silly and meaningless pursuits? You would think that the near continual invocation of his name by self righteous jackasses the likes of Mark Brunell, Kurt Warner, Reggie White and Jon Kitna among too many others to name would place the almighty upon his great throne every Sunday and Monday night along with the odd Saturday vigorously punching the buttons on a huge universal remote and an eternal subscription to the NFL Sunday Ticket in order to keep tabs on his personal favorites. The ever increasing presence of religion in popular culture with an onslaught of Hollywood entertainment including the most recent franchise, C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia (promoted by evengelical megachurches throughouth the land), the best selling pulp trash novels of the Left Behind series as well as the ongoing invocation of religion in advertising and product pimping is as demeaning to the true message of Jesus Christ as any simple blasphemy. The use of religion as a promotional tool shows the deeply disturbing cultural sickness by it’s reduction to a moneymaking vehicle as well as dangerous by continuing to reinforce the image of the U.S. as a ‘Christian Nation’ that threatens our very system of government with being overrun by the true believers seeking to implement theocracy. The theocratic movement despite it’s necessity of using simplistic explanations to complex issues as an allure to converts is in and of itself a huge paradox when it utilizes the most potent of all technologies that is television to further indoctrinate the masses. But what would religion in post 9/11 America be without it’s hypocrisy and myriad contradictions.
Now about that overturned interception by the Steelers’ Troy Polamalu which is one of the worst officiating decisions that I have ever seen in nearly forty years of football watching, to call it curious would be an understatement. Rest assured that it wasn’t the hand of God that intervened on several occasions during this weekend’s AFC divisional playoffs (the pallor of controversy for some reason did not seen to extend to the NFC) with the incredible overturn of the potentially game clinching Pittsburgh interception as well as the refs not throwing a flag on an earlier blatant pass interference call that should have gone against the Colts as well as the phantom interference call on the notorious Colt killer Patriots that gave the Denver Broncos a first and goal on the one during Saturday night’s game. God had nothing to do with it although the fingerprints of Wall Street were everywhere, it seemed like serendipity that so many missed and plain outright bad calls were all made on the same weekend, was it in order to ensure that a Colts appearance in Detroit would become a reality? Imagine the ratings pull and phenomenal tie ins, crossovers and TV movie potential were an evangelical black head coach who has just tragically lost his eldest son to a pre-Christmas suicide were to overcome adversity in order to win the ultimate game leading a team quarterbacked by the eldest son in an NFL dynasty….there you go again, conspiracy theorist…moi?
I lost a lot of respect for the NFL over the weekend and not only over the horribly botched interception reversal or the equally terrible phantom pass interference in Denver nor the missed mugging in Indy, nor the blown clusterfuck offsides call late in the fourth quarter that resembled a drunken Chinese fire drill, nor any of the other pieces of mounting evidence that pointed to a suspicion that it sure as hell seemed like somebody somewhere wanted the Colts to advamce and was stacking of the deck against the Pats and Steelers in order to ensure that it would happen. It was just the gross tastelessness of the whole goddamned thing and the taint of the evil influence of too much money that is so corrosive to our social fabric today in free market obsessed America
At least for that mutinous loser Peyton Manning the ending was appropriate, now he can blame his offensive line and idiot kicker for blowing the game as is his style. Poor little Archie, it’s always everyone’s fault but his…how absolutely Dan Marino like and he can go down as a similar loser more interested in personal stats and glory than a title. Coach Peyton is now 3-6 in the playoffs after totally abandoning the run and a red hot Edgerrin James and when combined with the fact that he never could close the deal during his college career at the University of Tennessee he is going to wear the mantle of ‘choker’ until he actually manages to win a came in crunch time and the next one will be the first. Like Marino before him he will pile up record numbers, Hall of Fame numbers but always be remembered as the guy who couldn’t win the big one. Listening to his coach instead of embarrassing a man coming off of the tragic loss of his son to a suicide four days prior to Christmas on national television and creating a huge future rift in the locker room would help but when it comes down right down to the bottom line it is always about Peyton. With all of the tutelage that he received from his father apparently he missed the one most valuable lesson on the concept that there is no I in team. The Colts all made a big show of turning out for James Dungy’s funeral in Tampa in a show of support and togetherness and Peyton was the leader, but this was before he found it necessary to shank Dungy in the back during Sunday’s loss. Now Manning and the rest can always blame their failures on the distraction from the tragic events, the crutch is already there and if all else fails the idiot kicker can take the fall. Peyton Marino’s waving off of the punt team was as dismissive of his coach as it was disrespectful and will forever cement his image as the spoiled, selfish ass that he is.
Shed no tears for Dungy’s aborted quest for Super Bowl glory, in actuality he should already have at least one ring and most likely two from his tenure in Tampa Bay where his defense set standards for dominance. The first time out he was robbed by that aforementioned other bogus replay that overturned an obvious catch by WR Bert Emanuel that would have brought the Bucs dangerously close to ending the great storyline of the Kurt Warner led Rams and his butt ugly wife who viewers had to watch ad nauseum wearing a hideous, feathered blue dress that looked like it was dug out of a dumpster behind an East St. Louis Salvation Army store. The second botched title season died at the hand of Dungy himself whose decision to make a political statement by anointing the extremely mediocre Shaun ‘Burger’ King as his starting quarterback and as a result laid waste to what could have been a dream season with Super Bowl XXXV being in Tampa in what would have been essentially a home game for the Bucs. King predictably (to everyone with the exception of Tony D.) underachieved spectacularly by failing to produce a much needed first round bye and home field advantage and Tampa Bay was eventually routed in the wild card game by the Eagles in the dank Philly shit pit known as the Vet. The team quit on Dungy the next year and his ticket was punched to Indy when he was fired by the Bucs. Incidentally his replacement won the Super Bowl once he left and with King relegated to the scout team where he belonged.
It is however a damned shame when a man who despite his overt piety is as decent a human as Tony Dungy who to his credit is perhaps the most respected man in the NFL (other than by Peyton Manning) is latched onto by religious right and corporate bloodsuckers whose tendency to flock in parasitic manner like scabies to a host is as exploitative as it is stomach turning. Despite the weekend losses for Gibbs and Dungy there will still be those who insist that God is somehow invested in the outcome on their teams behalf, here is something for those people to ponder:
Maybe it actually was God who caused the idiot kicker Vanderjagt’s field goal attempt to miss, maybe he was sending a message that he really couldn’t give a goddamn about who wins a stupid goddamned football game.