Superbowl LI: Meh.

I’ve not long woken up and am feeling incredibly bleurgh, so forgive me if I ramble. This is because I stayed up far too late watching the Superbowl last night. And it wasn’t worth it.

Don’t worry I’m not going to trot out the usual stupid British criticisms of “Rugby players don’t need those pads” or “why is it called football when they use their hands so much”.

No, the reason I fear it wasn’t worth it was because I didn’t really care that much about the outcome. I decided to watch because I like the sport, and because of the occasion. 

Even non football fans have to admit that the Superbowl is one hell of a spectacle. It’s like the mutant baby of the the FA Cup final (or at least what it used to be) and Wrestlemania, with enough fireworks to open and close an Olympics.

But I had no strong feelings for either side. The Atlanta Falcons were a nonentity to me and while I have picked the New England Patriots to back in the past (I forget why) I’m hardly a fan. And it’s not the kind of sport where you can develop a feel for a team midway. In other games it’s easy to pick a team- you can be won over by skill, character or an individual player or turn against a team because of cheating, attitude or a specific player.

It’s for this reason that this season just gone my only real cares concerned three teams- the New York Jets, San Francisco’s 49rs and the Oakland Raiders. 

The Raiders are probably as close to having a team as I get, and this is built on shaky foundations. They have the coolest logo and colour scheme and were the favourite of nineties rappers.

The Jets are the team supported by a friend, so I like when they do well as he seems chuffed for them. 

And the 49rs? Well that’s because of one man Colin Kaepernick. I admired his quiet protest against the violence and oppression of minorities in America and felt he carried himself with dignity amongst the backlash. For that reason, I wanted him and his teammates to do well.

Beyond that I find it hard to really get behind US sports teams because I don’t have connections with any particular state or city, and many don’t have an identity that shines through to an outsider. 

Take football here in the UK. I’m a Swansea fan, but over the years have built up a whole heap of feelings for other teams. I have teams I have soft spots for (Bristol Rovers, Wimbledon, West Ham, Middlesborough, Crystal Palace) and teams I dislike to various degrees (Cardiff, Leeds, Arsenal, Chelsea). There are managers and players I like and dislike, and years of following the sport has built up these biases.

Maybe US sports fans have the same, but as a distant and infrequent observer, I’m oblivious to these quirks and the history of the teams. 

But I watched the whole first half with no real connection to either. Some were pulling for Atlanta as part of a heavy handed resistance versus Trump angle, but I wasn’t feeling it. It’s not the Patriot players fault Trump is on friendly terms with Tom Brady and the higher ups. And there are probably lots of Pats fans who hate Cheeto Mussolini. 
So, who should I pick. I could have been a glory boy and start pulling for the Falcons as they took a dominating lead in the second quarter, but I remained kind of neutral.

In fact I was more excited about the approaching half time show featuring Lady Gaga, as there was plenty of build up. Would there be guest stars? Would it be an attack on the new President? 

It turned out to be a belter, with Gaga starting off atop the stadium with an obvious dig at Trump and a call for unity. She then leapt down and descended by wire to the centre where she blazed through a series of her hits. As for guest appearances? Nope, she didn’t need any.

In the second half I continued to not care.

The Patriots closed the gap, but it still looked like the trophy was heading to Georgia. I could have gone to bed then as with Gaga done, I didn’t care.

And then in the last quarter the Patriots staged a massive comeback. They added nineteen points without any response from Arizona, leaving scores tied at 28-28. 

Still, I didn’t care. Part of me was hoping Atlanta could score as it would be a cruel twist for their fans to lose so late in the day. But on the flip side you couldn’t help but admire the Patriots for getting back into it, and does a team that throws away such a big lead deserve the win.

As it was the Patriots got the overtime winner and claimed the title. It was a dramatic finish but by this stage I was watching because I’d gone too far and it seemed silly to leave before seeing it through.

So, yeah, next year I might give the Superbowl a miss and just enjoy a good night’s sleep, and just watch the halftime show online the next day.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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Madonna and Clint: Superbowl Thoughts

Sunday night was the 46th Superbowl where the New England Patriots took on the New York giants. I’d love to give some indepth analysis about the game, but I was in work so I missed all of the first half and most of the second, catching a few minutes here and there.

This was a shame as the Superbowl is one of my favourite sporting events to watch. The Americans can go all out for spectacle in a way that in Britain would just look daft, the Superbowl is more than just a sport event.

I was rooting for the Patriots, as my neither of “my” teams had made it this far. The two teams I like most are the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders. The Cards because they made it to Superbowl 43, probably the best one I’ve watched and lost 27-23, but played really well and I love a tryer and a team that dares to adopt a fairly unimpressive bird as its logo.

The Raiders I like for even more idiotic reasons- they play in black, which automatically makes them cool, apparently their fans are mental and they were the favourite teams of many rappers.

Raiders- If its good enough for Ice Cube, its good enough for me

Also, they have a cool logo.

Anyway, I was cheering for the Pats because of several reasons-

1. I’ve supported them at two previous Superbowls they’ve played in (2004 and 2005) both of which they won, although I seem to have missed 2008 when they lost to the Giants. Why didn’t I watch it that year?

2. They are the favourite team of Peter Griffin.

3. I seem to have inherited this odd thing from watching American shows like Cheers and listening to the Tell ‘Em Steve Dave podcasts that I find it impossible to support any New York team (proof? American Football- see above, Basketball- Orlando Magic, Ice Hockey- Detroit Redwings, Baseball- Boston Red Sox)

4. They were being cheered on by my long-time crush Taylor Stevens.

Anyway, they ended up losing and I did catch the dying minutes where I hoped against hope that they would snatch victory at the end, like Wales had earlier that day.

Unfortunately, there was no win that day, and doubly annoying as I wanted one of my favourite players, the loveably mental Chad Ochocinco to score the winning touchdown.

I love Chad Ochocinco. First off, his real name is Chad Johnson, but he changed it to Ochocinco. The reason for this is because his shirt number is 85, however, Ochocinco doesn’t mean 85 it means eight-five.

He’s also been fined in the past for his ridiculous touchdown celebrations, and seemed undeterred, going on Twitter to state that these would continue. Good work that man.

Ochocinco doing Riverdance

So, having missed most of the game what I did mainly see was the halftime show, which featured a much hyped performance from Madonna.

The Superbowl HT entertainment is a phenomenon in of itself, and tends to be reserved for the biggest acts in the world, (although Janet Jackson did it one year, but I guess Michael was busy).

I have to admit, I had high hopes- I’m a Madonna fan and her live shows are meant to be quite spectacular. But, while there was a lot of pomp and show it all fell a bit flat.

Mainly because Madge seemed to be miming and also she’s now falling into that category whereby while you praise her shows its always with the “for her age” caveat- “For her age, she’s a great dancer”, “She’s in great shape, for her age” etc.

Great legs. For her age.

There were a few moments when she looked stiff during the dancing, and noticeably it was her hits selection that provided the best part of the show, the new single being fairly unremarkable.

Worrying though the high point was when LMFAO made a brief cameo and they remixed “Music” with “Pary Rock Anthem”.

In a way it was a  brave move, Madonna allowed herself to be overshadowed by her athletic dancers (a section involving a tightrope was mesmerisingly good) as well as a gaggle of younger artists. Not just LMFAO but Cee Lo Green, as well as MIA and Nikki Minaj.

Its a brave 53 year old who decides to share the stage with a much hotter 29 year old

All in all though I wasn’t impressed, my fave HT show remains the Boss from a couple of years back. But you know who’d make a great HT act? KISS. Seriously, they already put on a hell of a show, and could definitely cope on the biggest stage in the world.

KISS of Superbowl XVII

The other phenomenon that’s grown around the Superbowl is the adverts. Companies will fork out massive amounts of dough and go all out for a few seconds of ad time when they know almost all of America is watching. This leads to phenomenal adverts, and big trailers for movies.

There was a trailer for the Avengers movie, which featured the second best Hulk related dialogue I’ve come across recently:

LOKI: I have an army.

TONY STARK: We have a Hulk.

(Cue the Hulk smashing stuff up)

You’ll have to wait for the best Hulk dialogue another day.

And for the GI: Joe Retaliation, which featured The Rock quoting Jay Z and featuring Bruce Willis. Willis and the Rock? I’m in.

But the other advert that caught my eye was for Chrysler, and featured Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood delivering a rallying speech for America to get their shit back together.

I’ve mentioned before that nobody does patriotism as well as the Yanks, and this advert is proof. Its rousing and inspiring, and Clint’s badass “We get right back up again” is so awesome it raises goosebumps.

Someone on Twitter complained that they’d got rid of Michael C Hall (the Dexter bloke) who apparently does the usual ads, saying that Clint’s voice wasn’t as good.

Seriously? Clint Eastwood has, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the coolest voices of all time. Need proof? Watch the Dirty Harry “Did he fire six shots or only five?” speech. Nothing is as badass as that.

Anyway, gotta get ready to run out for work so we’ll leave it there. Any thoughts? You know what to do. TTFN.