Saturday, January 31, 2009


Remember when Broadway Joe Namath guaranteed that his New York Jets would upset the favored Baltimore Colts in 1969? That was the third NFL-AFL Championship Game, but the first game to officially bear the title "Super Bowl." I was just a kid. Let's face it, football is kid stuff. This game is regarded as one of the biggest upsets in American sports history. Of course, Namath delivered on his promise.

Farah Fawcett creams Broadway Joe

If you're like me, the Super Bowl is more than just football. It's about snacks and commercials and possible costume malfunctions. Oh, and it's about good sportsmanship and team-building and sports drinks and pep pills and jocks with no necks and male bonding and cheerleaders and, of course, the sublimation of sex and violence and homoerotic butt-slapping and towel snapping. Just kidding, coach. Football is a metaphor for the American way of life. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Now take a lap.

Yup, football sucks. Most of it, anyway. But these nachos sure look good. They are also a metaphor.

It's one thing playing a little touch football with friends--I have fond memories of catching a perfect spiral as a dog ran along behind me on an Oregon beach--feeling Kennedy-esque or something in sand and salty air --but that's a far cry from the zillion dollar business we watch today on our flatscreens. Maybe it's all about the Benjamens. That's money, dude. Now pony up.

Bobby Kennedy "going long" on the Oregon Coast

Commercial airtime costs a fortune at the Super Bowl. This year, Ivar's, a Seattle fish and chip joint, bought a half second commercial slot. That's right, a HALF SECOND. Couldn't they spring for a second? Nope. Too expensive. We looked into it.

We thought of buying time for the Nine Pound Hammer--to thank you for support, and to celebrate over 700 blog posts and an average daily readership of nearly 300 people. After checking the Super Bowl ad rates we realized all we could afford was a hundredth of a second. We were discouraged. Then we thought, what the hell! Brevity is the soul of wit, right? We'll make the best damn hundredth of a second ad in history! Would you like to see it? Would you like to see it again?

The best book on sports I've ever read was "Out of Their League" by Dave Meggyesy, an unsung football hero. Between 1963-69, he played linebacker for the St. Louis Cardinals and was All-Pro. He quit the NFL in 1969 at the height of his game, and wrote a scathing indictment that stunned Pete Rozelle into silence. The football bosses thought they could ignore Meggyesy, but the book had a huge impact on he way we think about football.

Here's an interview with Meggysey at the sports site "Edge of Sport," click here.

Money, it's a gas. Here are the top super bowl commercials from last year:

Buy "Out of Their League" by Dave Meggysey here.


mberenis said...
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Bob Rini said...

Sorry, Mbrenis, but I don't like advertising on my blog. That's kind of the point of this post, actually, how commercialization has hurt sports. Maybe it's trite, but sports are more about playing not watching. I'll be watching at least part of game tomorrow. Have a good super bowl anyway.