The most anticipated moment of the season, Super Bowl ads! Oh and the game too.
First, let’s go over my predictions last week.
49ers @ Falcons: Over (good), Points (push), Winner – 49ers (good)
Ravens @ Patriots: Under (good), Points (good), Winner – Patriots (no good)
4 for 6 overall with one push. Not too shabby. Dare I pick against the Ravens again? Most people who would like to see them win are probably hoping so.
Super Bowl XLVII
It’s brother vs brother in New Orleans! Will it be the youthful exuberance of the streaking Kaepernick, or the veteran resolve of the emotional Lewis which carries the day? Does Baltimore complete the epically long and tiring journey, or does San Francisco go a perfect 6-0 in franchise Super Bowl history? If I would like to see Baltimore win, should I intentionally pick against them? Read on, and let’s try to sort out the most anticipated sporting event of the year.
Why I like the: Under
While I concede that 47.5 isn’t a very high total, I have a feeling that the defenses for these teams are gonna show up this week. The 49ers were able to hold the Falcons to a mere 81 yards on the ground, and while Ray Rice is a much better back than Jaquizz Rodgers, who led Atlanta in carries last week, I think the Ravens have enough to keep Rice down to a respectable total. Conversely, Baltimore was also effective against the run, allowing just 108 total yards on the ground. Brady was able to rack up some stats through the air, but the Baltimore D held him to only 1 passing TD, while also forcing 2 picks. All of this suggests to me a exciting and close game, just not one with a ton of scoring.
You Should Take The: Points
The Niners are -3.5, which I guess once again shows a lack of faith in the Ravens. Which, at this point, even I have to ask why? Without taking anything away from San Fran, they haven’t exactly had an easy road here, but that’s definitely worth taking a look at. The 49ers got an opening round bye and then had to face Green Bay at home. Certainly it’s no easy task to take on Rodgers and the storied Pack, but at least they were in the friendly and warm confines of their own stadium. From there they did have to travel cross country to play Atlanta in hostile territory and now find themselves again with a long trip to New Orleans. As I said, not an easy road and they certainly have earned their spot in the finals. However, let’s look at Baltimore. They had a wild card match up at home against Indy, then all they had to do was go on the road to beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks. With all due respect to Kaepernick, he hasn’t exactly punched his ticket to the hall of fame yet as the previous two have. So given this fact alone, should San Fran really be the favorite? It’s only 3.5, but I say take every point they’re willing to give to the resilient Ravens.
The Winner Is: Baltimore
Please don’t hate me Baltimore fans! I have converted. The last two weeks I thought the Ravens to be up against a superior opponent, and while I certainly don’t believe the 49ers to be an easy opponent by any stretch of the imagination, I think the Ravens match up quite well against them. Kaepernick may have been able to throw and run all over Green Bay, but he was brought down to Earth a bit more by Atlanta. True he only attempted 2 rushes, but that is gonna have to be his strength against Baltimore. As mentioned, they’ve already kept two of the all time best passers in check, if Kap is too indecisive with his scrambling I don’t see how he gets more done against the inspired Ravens D. Gore could also play a huge role here as well. As I stated last week, if Kaepernick starts off slow, Gore has more than enough muscle to help ease the young QB into the game with some strong early runs, in the hopes of opening the pass up later. Still, in three playoff games the Ravens have allowed only an average of 128 rushing yards per game, which isn’t bad considering they’ve faced a total of 99 runs in those games.
But what about the Baltimore offense? Flacco has been the image of steadiness this postseason. He’s thrown for 853 yards, 8 TD’s and no picks. Three of his TD’s going to his favorite target Anquan Boldin (only one less then what he had the entire season), who has racked up 276 yards receiving this post season. If there is one area of concern, it would be the awkwardness of Rice this post season. His 247 rushing yards and 2 TD’s don’t exactly pop out as overly impressive stats, especially when combined with his 2 lost fumbles. Still, he’s one of the more reliable backs in the league and he provides Flacco with another safe short yardage target.
Kaeprnick is still the wild card here. He may just be too young to realize what he’s up against and really get his legs moving, thus providing some big problems for the Raven D. But, let’s not forget the emotional Ray Lewis. Still inspiring his teammates on both sides of the ball and still looking for that second Super Bowl ring. Can you imagine a better story book ending than going out on top? I can’t and that’s why I predict the Ravens to win. I’m a sucker for a happy ending.
Memorable Super Bowl Ads
For several years the Super Bowl was overshadowed by what seemed to be the real main event, the commercials. Especially in the early 90′s when I would spend much of the night crying after yet another Buffalo Bills loss. But hey, at least they used to make it back then. Anyway, thankfully for football fans, the games recently have been much more watchable, providing us with suitable entertainment both during and away from the coverage. USA Today recently took a world wide poll and counted down the top 25 most popular Super Bowl commercials of all time. You can find the entire article here. While you will find many from my own list on here, there were several that I feel were left out. For me, what makes a great ad is how memorable it is. And, while many of these may have created some buzz that we look back at and make fun of today, it doesn’t change the fact that at one time, these were the talk of the town. This isn’t really a countdown, just some of the ones that stand out the most in my mind as having left an impression upon me and pop culture.
The “King of Beers” is in my mind, the king of Super Bowl commercials. Starting with the Bud Bowl, the beer has provided us with some of the more hilarious and inspiring ads, spawning nation wide catch phrases and even nurturing your inner love for Clydesdale horses.
Bud Bowl II- The original Bud Bowl was nice, but it was Bud Bowl II that I remember most fondly. An intense match up that came down all the way to the final buzzer. You had bottles, err players, complaining about penalties (yea ref, how did he hold) and slick moves that jerked one defender out of his label. Throw in some announcing by Brent Musberger (without him commenting on any of the bottle’s girlfriends) and Terry Bradshaw, as well as Bud’s “Appliance of Defiance” The Freezer and you have just about everything that’s both great and funny about football including the Kitchen Sink!
The Bud Frogs- One word three syllables, Bud-weis-er. Bud’s 1995 ad had every redneck catching backyard frogs just to see if they could really hold a conversation about beer.
True- How this didn’t make the list of the best commercials is beyond me, as this ad sparked a pop culture phenomenon. In fact I’m reasonably sure that in the early days of youtube, at least 50% of it’s videos were parodies of the thing. You couldn’t walk down the street without seeing a t-shirt or hat had it plastered all over it, and everyone of your friends greeted you the same way for almost an entire year. Waasssuuuppppp!!!!!
Training Montage- Anything with the theme from Rocky should be instantly awesome, and this short story about a horse named Hank aspiring to be on the Bud Hitch Team doesn’t disappoint. I can only imagine what the Dalmatian trainer is saying in dog. “We’re gonna turn you into a Clydalian Tank! You’re gonna eat lightning and you’re gonna crap thunder!”
Zebra- Last, but certainly not least, is my favorite Bud commercial. It features two Clydesdale football teams waiting anxiously on the Zebra ref to make a decision from a replay. What makes this so hilarious to me is the sight of the ass end of a Zebra sticking out of the replay booth, while the replay plays several times. Beyond that, it was a nice jab at the NFL for their replay policies at the time. This was shortly after the replay was re-introduced and was made to cover more than just scoring plays and turn overs. At this point there were no challenge flags and no help from replay officials. That meant that the ref would be the only one helping himself to the replay, and often times waiting for him to access a call seemed to take an eternity.
For some reason Doritos commercials are always violent and involve the maiming of individuals over their product. I mean I love the tasty tortilla inspired snacks myself, but I’m not usually willing to commit felonies over getting my hands on a bag.
Crystal Ball- Free Doritos at the office today? I think that’s hilarity. Throw in a gratuitous nut shot and you have comedic advertisement gold.
Pug Attack- This was the winner of a fan commercial contest. I like it enough, but I’m placing it here mostly because so many others seem to go ga ga over it. Well, at least it’s a victory for the little guy.
Tim’s Doritos- Don’t F@*K with Tim’s Doritos.
Pepsi likes to spend most of their time, and money for that matter, attempting to upstage their rival Coca-Cola. Something they generally succeed in, especially considering how Coke refuses to stray from parading out their Polar Bears year after year. Sure their cute, but they don’t get me to smile as the Pepsi ads do.
Coke Driver- While I find this commercial amusing, I can’t help but see it as slightly self defeating. I mean, how cheap are your display cases?
Ray Charles- In 1990, Ray Charles electrified soda drinkers by putting his support and catchy jingles behind Diet Pepsi. That Super Bowl, Pepsi turned up their hot ad campaign with a worldwide take on Ray’s catch phrase.
A few from different companies I find to stand out.
MJ and Larry- H-O-R-S-E was never so awesome.
Ozzy- This commercial just gets better and better. Seriously, it’s 1:02 of solid gold! All the way until the end when Ozzy asks the question we’ve been asking ourselves since 2009, WTF is a Bieber?
As always I hope enjoyed this edition of Bench Warming. Here’s to a super Super Bowl, and even more entertaining commercials. Until next time, you have been warmed.
(Note from the author: Sports incite great passion and emotion in all of us, which is why they are so popular the world over. I encourage you to share your opinions in the comments section, on Twitter or Facebook, but please do it responsibly. I have no agenda with Bench Warming other than to share my love of sports and perhaps get a few people to grin from time to time. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy reading this column as much as I enjoy writing it.)