Tag Archives: Super Bowl

The Pepsi (Non) Challenge

While there may have been some consternation or disappointment that Lady Gaga didn’t take the opportunity at the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl Halftime Show (PZSSBH) to make a political statement of some sort regarding the Muslim ban, the dissing of two U.S. allies, nominations of an array of Wall Street billionaires to the Cabinet, throwing shade on federal judges, making outlandish claims about voter fraud, or comparing American citizens with Vladimir Putin, did you happen to notice that this was the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl Halftime Show?

There’s no business like show business and something like the PZSSBH is the biggest business of them all each January on screens across the planet.

It has long been a mystery to me why there are performers like Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. But it is less of a mystery when you figure that there are those who are going to watch the Super Bowl because they like football and so they’re going to watch the Super Bowl, or those who are going to watch the Super Bowl because they are at a party where there are so many and so large screens that it is impossible not to watch the Super Bowl, and then there are those who might click over every now and then to see if they can catch a commercial. Or if there is some performer playing at the stadium with a stage set that is only dwarfed by those used for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies.

You want to sell those people some Pepsi Zero Sugar. You hire Gaga.

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Superbowl Producer Hates Live Music

Super Bowl pre-game show producer Rickey Minor admits that Jennifer Hudson and Faith Hill Lip-Synched:

Minor explained that he insisted that both Hudson and Faith Hill, who performed “America the Beautiful” before Hudson, sing to the prerecorded tracks the NFL requires them to submit a week before the game.

“That’s the right way to do it,” Minor said. “There’s too many variables to go live. I would never recommend any artist go live, because the slightest glitch would devastate the performance.”

What a crock of shit. Why even bother trotting the singers out there then? Wouldn’t a nice video montage of soldiers and nurses and cops and teachers make for even better television?

The Associated Press has more.

Springsteen to Rock Super Bowl XLIII

Six years ago yesterday on Glorious Noise, Johnny Loftus compared the NFL season to a world tour by your favorite rock band. Specifically, he explored the similarities between Bruce Springsteen and the Chicago Bears:

Brian Urlacher is not Bruce Springsteen. While the Chicago Bears’ leading tackler and unassuming team leader was a free safety, wide receiver, AND punt returner at New Mexico, Urlacher could not at press time sell out the United Center based on his strength as a songwriter, singer, and bandleader. Nevertheless, Urlacher’s weekly onfield heroics and meat and potatoes demeanor are a rallying point for many Chicagoland football fans. And while he’s never sold out the UC, Urlacher’s passion between the goalpoasts is a big reason why so many Chicagoans make the trip to downstate Champagne for Bears home games, played away while Soldier Field is on the DL. He gives them something to believe in, and please don’t make any Poison bits here. Because the NFL’s highly-paid heroes are, for many Americans, as singularly heroic as a rock and roller like Bruce Springsteen.

I guess we were a little ahead of our time because the National Football League has announced that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play the halftime slot at the Super Bowl on February 1 in Tampa Bay.

Is Loftus some kind of crazy prophet or something? GLONOstradamus, baby!

Prince Reigns at Super Bowl XLI

The Purple BadnessPrince steps into the cultural madness and freakshow that is the Super Bowl halftime event to show America what it means to blow this motherfucker out.

The Super Bowl halftime show has become as much a part of the event as the game itself. What started with college marching bands filling time between halves has evolved (or devolved, as the case may be) into an entertainment extravaganza that rivals the most elaborate North Korean flip tile spectacle and is a tacit acknowledgement that the performer is a bona fide cultural icon. That kind of elevation is generally a sign that the artist in question has also probably passed into artistic irrelevancy. That’s why it was so great to see The Purple One put on an exhibition of true rock genius.

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That Dog Doesn’t Bite: Super Bowl XXXIX

He said grass. And hell.McCartney. Half-time show.

That’s all that needs to be said. People immediately know what is being discussed. Which is, in some ways, disturbing. Why is it that there is a nigh-on universal recognition of a game being played by a bunch of people who are otherwise undifferentiated (outside of their speed, bulk, dexterity, or other functions) for most of the year? Why do we watch? The train-wreck phenomenon?

Much of the commentary about the half-time show is probably going to be centered on the fact that having Sir Paul play is the “safe” route. Although this is contextual. Back in the day, The Beatles would have as controversial as Janet’s bejeweled breast. That would have been during, say, Super Bowl I. Presumably, however, there are those who want to “protect” us who are parsing the lyrics of “Get Back,” which will bring the wrath of Whomever down on the head of McCartney, no doubt.

Continue reading That Dog Doesn’t Bite: Super Bowl XXXIX

Meditations on Janet Jackson’s Right Breast

I'm-a have you nekkid by the end of this song...To be sure, the fact that Justin Timberlake removed a portion of Janet Jackson’s Genghis Khan-like costume during the MTV-orchestrated Super Bowl half time show is well known. Presumably, this has more to do with the fact that Janet’s career is about as over as M.C. Hammer’s: they can both do a great job of bustin’ a move, but who the hell has been thinking about buying discs from either of those two? Since Janet posed a few years ago for a Rolling Stone cover with her breasts covered by a man’s hands, it is evident that she’s not in the least bit shy about showing her well-rounded skin. What’s somewhat interesting about the whole thing is that unless someone was watching the CBS telecast with a high-definition plasma screen about the size of something found in a multiplex, the exposure was something that would be best measured by physicists at Argonne National Lab, as it had the half life of one of those new transuranic elements that have just been found.

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That’s Entertainment

Graham Greene, a 20th century author who worked in a variety of literary genres, made a distinction in classifying his work as either a “serious” work or an “entertainment.” Greene did write about serious issues in some of his novels—most notably the meaning and sustaining of faith in a world that oftentimes wracks us with existential doubt. But he also wrote stories that were meant to amuse us, to reduce the amount of ratiocination required while perusing the words on the page. I’ve always thought that this distinction between the two types of work is a good one.

Although Johnny deals with some aspects of Super Bowl XXXVII in the post below, I’d like to make a few different observations about what is evidently a testosterone-fueled event that has taken on mega-Dionysian proportions during the past few years. It is interesting to look back at Hunter Thompson’s writings on his holding forth on the scriptures while on the balcony of a Hyatt with what was perceived a large leech crawling up the back of his spine on a Super Bowl Sunday morning. The absurdity of the actual event in and of itself today is in many ways far in excess of what was then chronicled by Thompson as something that was bizarre.

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Some Final Words on Super Bowl XXXVII

Celine Dion, “God Bless America” – The woman has an extremely large, extremely froggy voice, a husband whose first job was as a deckhand on Sir Walter Raleigh’s frigate, a promotional contract with Daimler-Chrysler, and an irritating French-Canadian accent. While all of these things bother me, it’s the last two that REALLY cream my brie. I mean, did the CFL get Mariah Carey to sing “Oh, Canada” at the Gray Cup? And as Chrysler bought ad time during the Super Bowl, was there some back-end hanky panky going on to install the company’s newest spokeswoman onstage? (This paragraph is funnier when read while impersonating Dion’s stupid, pinchy-mouthed accent.)

Dixie Chicks, “The National Anthem” – These girls can sing. Natalie Maines has a distinctive voice, one which immediately stands out while your car radio scans for music. As she harmonized with her bandmates, their collective voices and the inventive arrangement made for one of the more interesting performances of the anthem in recent memory. Or at least it was better than that kid on the “American Idol” premiere.

Continue reading Some Final Words on Super Bowl XXXVII

INORDINANCE

Super Bowl XXXVI Makes Al-Qaida Run For The Hills —

“No more Terry Bradshaw!” they scream.

Johnny Loftus

Each year, the concentric rings of florescent gluttony emanating from the Super Bowl reach further and further out, before they eventually dissolve, say, around the time pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in late February. But this year, on top of the reams of ad money and endless sports media backslapping that have become traditions, Fox’s coverage of the Super Bowl was spun as an “America RULES!’ boondoggle on par with James Brown’s “Livin’ In America” spectacle preceding Apollo Creed’s bout with Ivan Drago.

And I still don’t know what an Mlife is.

The event played out on a series of levels. In the center was the game itself, which was treated as a non-event til midway through the second quarter, when it became clear that the AFC’s New England Patriots were not the Washington Generals to the NFC’s St Louis Rams’ Globetrotting “Greatest Show on Turf” act. Revolving around the game was the usual Sunday slumber – which on Fox is dominated by JB, Terry, Cris and Howie’s towel-slapping antics and barely tenable game analysis. But because of September 11, and in anticipation of the patriotic daisycutter that will detonate over Salt Lake City next week, Super Bowl XXXVI was almost forgotten amidst the Up With America! fervor lancing through every aspect of the event.

 Mariah Carey sobered up long enough to competently lip-synch our national anthem. A full-figured gal, Carey’s pinup girl good looks nicely complimented Fox’s troops-in-Kandahar breakins. Here’s what you’re fighting for, boys. Get home safe, you hear? And when you do, visit Mariah at the group home, where she’s gearing up for a tour of America’s roadhouses and supper clubs, selling her new release from the trunk of her 1986 Nissan Sentra. Vanity license plate: CRAZY4U.

 “Sir” Paul McCartney, looking spry in his casual tracksuit, performed “Freedom,” his wretched song penned in the wake of 9/11. The sentiment is to be applauded. But like Neil Young’s “Let’s Roll” before it, the song just sucks. A better Macca moment came during halftime, when he harmonized with Terry Bradshaw in a version of “Hard Day’s Night” straight out of the decaying brain matter knocking around inside Bradshaw’s skull. The erstwhile Steeler QB played too many games without his helmet on, and it shows. For his part, McCartney took it all in with good-natured charm, not even flinching when the decidedly un-funky James Brown suggested that McCartney’s old band changed the world “with their moptop haircuts.”

 U2 made the most of their 12- minute halftime gig, even if the heart-shaped stage and “Beautiful Day” don’t have the same freshness they did over a year ago when we first saw and heard them. Bono’s entrance through the crowd was a nice touch, as was the brief coda of “MLK” before the Edge’s sparkling intro to “Streets Have No Name.” Instead of his usual sermon on peace and love, Bono chose to let an enormous projection of 9/11’s victims speak for itself.

It’s been suggested that an American band should have performed at halftime. Who, Grand Funk Railroad? U2 is no longer just an Irish band. While Bono’s proselytizing is at times overwrought, he and his band have truly become a band for the world. Their message is clear, but their music supports it with appropriate amounts of rocking and songcraft. They were the perfect choice for this year’s halftime show, reinforcing the patriotic flair of the show with their trademark grace and sound.

By the end of the fourth quarter, a slush fund of ad dollars had amounted to a memorable Broadway chimp, a few funny Budweiser ads (“I’m doin’ fine. My brother just picked me up from the airport and…”), and the fact that Britney would have been hotter in the 1950s. Because of the Patriots’ late game heroics, Fox had to push its tribute to departing broadcast icon Pat Summerall into the post-game. But when it finally came, the video montage was accompanied by some extremely awkward on-camera banter between the ancient Summerall and his booth partner for 21 years, the monolithic John Madden. It only got worse when each member of Fox’ broadcast crew delivered a soliloquy about what Summerall meant to them (or at least what he meant to their fledgling careers as moronic broadcasters). It may have been time for the 71-year old Summerall to hang it up, but Fox’ treatment of his farewell was concurrent with the network’s bludgeoning, substance-less brand projection. Even drunk, senile, and old, Pat Summerall has more class than goose-necked desk warbler Cris Collinsworth.

Given the Fox network’s penchant for brazen cross-promotion, Super Bowl XXXVI’s patriotic bent could have been so heavy-handed as to make the terrorists hate us more. The cast of “That 80s Show” reciting the Gettysburg Address in Valley Girl accents, perhaps? Instead, the event combined reverent patriotism, exciting football, and a hint of that “don’t fuck with us” cold war chest-thumping that defined Rocky IV and America in the 1980s.

And in the end, a red, white, and blue team of upstarts and never weres, led by a spunky kid QB with corn-fed good looks and an “aw, shucks” smile, knocked the cool kids’ block off, and made the Vince Lombardi trophy their own. If that doesn’t sound like a script written for America in 2002, I’ll submit to a Quizno’s product testing seminar.

JTL