Whether you’re a sports fan or not, you have to admit that the United States is a football nation. We may still refer to baseball as the national pastime, but there’s no denying that, for the time being, football is our national passion. And this weekend, yet another exciting season will culminate in yet another Big Game, when the Seattle professional football team takes on the Denver professional football team.
If you’re wondering why I’m using such generic language to describe this weekend’s game, it’s because I recently learned how aggressively the NFL protects its trademarked phrases, “Super Bowl” and “Super Sunday.” I learned about the league’s strict copyright policies from the same place I learn about most things: late-night Comedy Central. Luckily for all of us, Stephen Colbert has devised an ingenious method of circumventing the league’s copyright enforcers. Shifting one consonant to the left, Mr. Colbert has spent this week hyping “Superb Owl XLVIII.” You can watch his hysterical explanation at this link.
I doubt the NFL will kick up any dust over my use of their trademark phrases, especially given my limited audience (hi mom and dad!), and so I’ll continue to use the phrase “Super Bowl” throughout this post. Before I offer my Super Bowl prediction, however, I thought I’d spend a little time on this weekend’s other big attraction: TV commercials. Corporations annually spend millions for 30 seconds of airtime, and most of the commercials they produce are instantly forgettable. There are exceptions, though. The fact that I can still remember the Budweiser frogs almost twenty years later must mean that it was a successful ad. And though I was too young to notice Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial when it first aired, the 60-second spot (directed by Ridley Scott) has since earned a reputation as one of the most important commercials of all time.
There’s one commercial that people seldom mention, but which I’ve always thought was a little strange. It’s common knowledge that automated robots have put thousands of American autoworkers out of a job, and yet General Motors produced a commercial for the 2007 Super Bowl that not only sought to imbue these robots with emotion, but also asked viewers to sympathize with the machines. They even had one of the robots consider, and then commit, suicide. Check it out for yourself:
Ultimately, of course, the Super Bowl is about the game and, more specifically, the players. Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to tally which states are best represented in the Super Bowl. Little surprise that the most populous state, California, is contributing the most players on both teams:
California 13, Texas 8, Georgia 4, Virginia 4, Florida 3, South Carolina 3, Washington 3, Illinois 2, Massachusetts 2, Oklahoma 2, Tennessee 2, Alabama 1, Michigan 1, Pennsylvania 1, Arkansas 1, Arizona 1, Wisconsin 1, North Carolina 1, Hawaii 1, Louisiana 1, Oregon 1, Ontario (Canada) 1, Queensland (Australia) 1
California 10, Georgia 5, Ohio 5, Florida 4, Texas 4, Louisiana 3, New Jersey 3, Iowa 2, Kentucky 2, Missouri 2, Nevada 2, Virginia 2, Colorado 1, North Carolina 1, Pennsylvania 1, Illinois 1, Oklahoma 1, Alaska 1, Idaho 1, Michigan 1, Connecticut 1, Tennessee 1, Wyoming 1, Minnesota 1, South Carolina 1
And finally, since I promised I’d make a prediction, I predict that the Denver Broncos will defeat the Seattle Seahawks, 30-24. Mark it down. Why am I so confident that Peyton Manning will win his second Super Bowl? Honestly, I’m not, but picking him gives me an excuse to post one of the greatest (fake) commercials in the history of Saturday Night Live: