Monday, February 2

Wrapping up the big game

What a game yesterday! I think all of us Cleveland fans were excited by the dramatic finish to Sunday's big showdown and had big smiles on our faces from the final result. Yes, I'm talking about the dominant 4th-quarter effort the Cavaliers employed to grab a rare road win in the Palace at Auburn Hills, taking down the Pistons for a satisfying 90-80 win. Wait, what game did you think I meant?...

Oh, that one. Eh. The less said about that, the better. Between that and Punxsutawney Phil's declaration that there will be six more weeks of winter, Western PA is really screwing me over today. As for the game itself, I'm definitely taking the ostrich approach to dealing with it - in other words, not really dealing with it at all. Serenity now! Since I have no real desire to talk about the actual game, let's talk about amusing topics peripheral to the contest, shall we?

First off, let's recap the work of FCF's fearless predictors in the NFL postseason. As you may recall, Andy won the regular-season title by 11 games over Nick and roughly 168 games over Figgs. Heading into the Super Bowl, Nick had a one-game edge on Andy in postseason prognosticating, and was three up on Figgs. However, Nick was the only one of the group who had the Steelers, who did not cover, thus Andy was able to force a tie and Figgs earned...a less embarrassing 3rd place. The lesson, kids: never trust the Steelers. The final numbers:

Super Bowl Sunday
Andy: 1-0
Figgs: 1-0
Nick: 0-1
Nick's Money Picks: 0-1

Andy: 6-5
Figgs: 4-7
Nick: 6-5
Nick's Money Picks: 4-5

A few remarks on this year's Super Bowl commercials. Most them were so-so, as usual, and there were a few standouts and a few clunkers. I'd say Anheuser-Busch was the big loser with their bizarre fixation on horse-themed advertisements. Who does this resonate with? continued their impressive run of terrible advertising - not only do most people think they look buffoonish, but hardly anyone knows what they even do. My three favorites were:

3) PepSuber
A randomly funny SNL-flavored Pepsi ad that managed to poke fun both at over-earnest product placement and at MacGyver, featuring Richard Dean Anderson himself.

2) Conan O'Brien
The lanky late-nighter had two excellent spots. One, a Bud Light ad, found him reluctantly accepting an offer to do a spot when told it would only appear in Sweden. The hilariously bizarrer commercial-within-a-commercial was classic Conan, and of course the spot ended up being shown in Times Square, to O'Brien's chagrin. I also liked the promo for Conan's own program where Tina Fey says "If your Conan lasts more than three hours, contact your doctor."

1) Career Builder
A late-game spot where they show, "12 Days of Christmas" style, a number of reasons why you may want to consider a new job. I could watch that Asian guy walk by the guy's desk and say "hey, dummy" a hundred times and not get tired of it. This ad literally made me laugh out loud, and more than once.

Nick either reads the right articles or is quite an idea man, because he had two gems related to the Super Bowl. Before the game, I posted a link to Super Bowl Monday, a website dedicated to making the day after Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday. Seems like a solid plan. Nick, thinking outside the box, has a way better idea: just have the game on a Saturday so everyone can party properly. I cannot think of a single drawback to this idea. Please, NFL, as long as you're keeping the two-week break between the championship round and the Super Bowl, just have the game on a Saturday. The nation's football fans as well as its employers will thank you.

The real story of the game last night, as I saw it, were penalties. Penalties, penalties, penalties. Now, I'm not going to go into some big long thing about how the refs favored the Steelers or anything; even though there was a big disparity in yardage (Steelers 7/56, Cardinals 11/106), the refs got most calls right and Arizona continually shot themselves in the feet, though there were one or two 15-yarders I thought were of questionable merit. No, my larger issue is how penalties are affecting my ability to enjoy professional football.

- Holding penalties, even just the threat of them, just kill me. I can't even enjoy a long, exciting play, because they get called back so often that I just sit there, nonplussed, looking for the yellow "FLAG" bar to appear on the screen. When I've verified that it didn't, the successful play is over and the time for excitement has passed. I have no solution to this problem, unfortunately.

- Nick's other great idea was this: stop penalizing teams yards for personal fouls. Make them fines-only, make them punitive, but stop having it affect the on-the-field play. Yes, roughing the QB needs to be discouraged and quarterbacks protected, but hitting a guy after he throws doesn't affect the result of the play. Fine the hell out of dirty plays, but don't have them influence the game like they do. This is especially pertinent to excessive celebration penalities, which have absolutely nothing to do with the on-field action, yet still net a team -15 yards each time they're whistled. Yes, I know the players should know and obey the rules, but these little conduct penalties have a really unnecessary intrusion on the play.

- Related to that: what the hell was that Cardinal thinking running over the Steelers' placeholder on that short FG try? Wow.

- Some commentators mentioned how Santonio Holmes should have been flagged for his celebration after catching the winning TD because he used the ball as a prop. Indeed, this is correct according to the rules, and the refs actually should have flagged him by the letter of the law. But frankly, I'm glad they didn't, even though it would have given Arizona a better chance to win, for the reasons cited above. It had nothing to do with the game. I think all excessive celebration and taunting penalties are stupid - who the hell ever came up with this ridiculous "ball as a prop" clause? And the thing where you can't include teammates? It's insane. Penalties schmenalties.

1 comment:

Ernest said...

To attempt to assuage the pain of yet another Steelers Super Bowl win I have taken to converting all of the decent lawyer jokes I know into Steeler ones.

(1) Q: What do you call 5000 dead Steelers fans at the bottom of the ocean? A: A good start.
(2) Q: What do Steelers fans use as contraceptives? A: Their personalities.