06 February 2005

Patriots win! Patriots win!

Woo hoo! Patriots win! Patriots win! "The New England Patiots will be the first dynasty of the 21st century," says Joe Buck.

It's final! 24-21 Pats! I can't stop typing exclamation marks!
Picked off!
I'm not gonna lie -- I'm a bit nervous. Philly's wasting a lot of time, though.
Whew, the Patriots recovered the onsides kick. Heck of a blocking job. So with the Eagles touchdown, it's now...
Patriots 24, Eagles 21
Freddie Mitchell? I recognize the name, but... Seriously, it's his first catch of the night. "I'd like to thank my hands" my ass. Punk.
Field goal, Patriots! Seven is always better than three, but at least it's a two-possession game.
Patriots 24, Eagles 14.
Commercial analysis: MONKEYS AGAIN! ARGGGGGHHH! Despite my colleagues' protestations, I really do have a career in marketing. At least I know what *not* to do.
Bethel Johnson just had a short return. I don't recall hearing his name during the broadcast, which tells me he's due. Look for Brady to send Johnson on a fly route and heave it deep.
The Patriots covered the kickoff return very well, keeping Reid from his normal spot past the 30. Is this the start of the Pats clamping down? One can hope.
Touchdown Patriots! Clock-Killing Corey Dillon! Woo hoo!
Patriots 21, Eagles 14.
So the Eagles' defensive guys were screaming "Screen," and the Patriots ran it anyway. And ran it well. THAT'S confidence... when the other guys know what's coming, and you ram it down their throats.
First down, Patriots. Nicely done, Kevin Faulk. You kids out there should watch how he patiently waited for his blockers on this screen play. That slight hesitation gave him the yards needed for the first down.
Crap. Touchdown, bad guys. Good drive, though. Pats seemed on their heels the whole time. Ugh.
Patriots 14, Eagles 14
Commercial analysis: Ameriquest Mortgage, with the guy holding a seemingly bloody cat and a long knife. I'm all for ridding the world (or at least the homes of the women I date) of cats, so I liked this one. Much better than the guy-holding-up-a-convenience-store effort from the first half.

Commercial analysis: CareerBuilder.com. Ha! Another monkey commercial. One down, at least one to go. Are we that out of ideas? Really, guys.
Commercial analysis: Anheuser-Busch, with the travelers applauding soldiers in the airport. Very, very well done. I'm choking up just thinking about it. We must never forget that these people -- mostly kids, really -- are putting their lives on the line every day. They *are* heroes. All of the talk about football "warriors" (and I'm guilty of it, too, as demonstrated by a previous post) pales when these men playing a game are juxtaposed with real warriors.
Touchdown, Vrabel! OK, so I was a quarter late with the prediction. Heck of a catch, too, what with the juggling and all. He outran The Freak, too! What a move.
Patriots 14, Eagles 7
Commercial analysis: Publix, with the boy baking a Valentine's cake for his mother. This may have been a local spot, so not everyone saw it, and it broke Ray's Rule #1 for Super Bowl ads (don't show a commercial you've previously aired -- debut them on the big stage), but it's still touching. Some -- not I! -- might have teared up.

Commercial analysis: Ford, with the Mustang frozen at the stoplight. Ray's Rule #2 for Super Bowl ads: Don't buy more than one spot if you only have one ad to show. This was an OK commercial when we first saw it just prior to the game, and it only drops in value with subsequent showings.

Commercial analysis: Ford just aired the Mustang commercial AGAIN. Bad, bad Ford. If you're out of fresh ads, show the "track of dreams" spot with Steve McQueen again. That was a hot one.
Halftime with Paul McCartney. Only a handful of the on-field fans remembered his first U.S. invasion, but everyone sang along with "Hey Jude." Nice job with the plus-shaped under-foot video screens, too, showing everything from glowing circles, to first-half highlights, to the Statue of Liberty. Well done, Don Mischer Productions.
Commercial analysis: NFL Network, with various players (mostly quarterbacks) singing "Tomorrow." Low-hanging fruit, but still funny. Gruden can't carry a tune in a basket, but he growling at the kids with perfect pitch. Poor McNair on the massage table, too. I tell you, that man is a warrior unlike any other. And kudos to Roethlisberger for looking genuinely ticked at Montana. Not bad, rook.
Heading into halftime it's 7-7. Both teams have turned the ball over, been hit with (and saved by) stupid penalties, and have failed to move the ball much offensively.

Commercial analysis: Heineken with Brad Pitt. Cute. Not as cute as Jennifer Aniston, mind you, but few are. Even with endorsements from such fabulous celebrities, Heineken still tastes like ass. BTW, I'm available to pitch yummy beers like Fat Tire, Sweetwater 420, or Paulaner Hefeweizen.
Touchdown! Givens was all alone on the right edge of the end zone. It wasn't the play action to a tight end that I (and one of the talking heads) predicted, but I'll take six any way I can get it.
Patriots 7, Eagles 7
2:00 warning. Patriots have 1st and goal, and could really use a score here. Play action pass to a TE or a D-guy (e.g., Vrabel?)
Commercial analysis: CareerBuilder.com, with the monkeys. Please, enough of the monkeys! I predict at least two more commercials with our primate cousins. I do appreciate the "room full of monkeys" reference, given how often we've used that statement in an attempt to launch products early.
Huh? The Patriots lost a fumble? Brady turned it over? C'mon, Tom, let this make you angry. Make... the... bad... green... men... pay.
Commercial analysis: Cadillac V-Series. Good-looking, hot-performing cars. That the cars in the tunnel remind me of Colonial Vipers in launch tubes is another plus. Please, Cadillac, drop the "Break Through" theme. Following Chevy's "Like a Rock" strategy, huh?
The Patriots have run three straight, with two screens to Dillon (OK, those are technically passes), and the off-tackle with Faulk. Keep running, baby! There's another one. As stout as Philly's defense is, they've shown weakness stopping runs up the middle.
Commercial analysis: Be Cool preview. Travolta and Uma dancing again? Wasn't once enough? Vince Vaughan is in this, though, so I'll prolly see it. That man is funny like few others.

Commercial analysis: Degree, with the Mama's Boy dolls. Funny dolls. Stupid connection to the product. Looks like some creative type was sitting on that idea for a while, and finally found an opportunity to sorta link it to a client.
Commercial analysis: Lays, with M.C. Hammer. So this is what he's doing to pay off that debt? Wonder if he still had those pants, or had to find them... somewhere. The smart kids threw him back over the fence. Good for them.
OK, Pats, the Eagles are closing in. Time for a strip or a fumble recovery.
Quack quack. What a horrid pass. Yes, I want the Patriots to win, but I don't want McNabb to do poorly.
Shoulda had the interception. Dang the penalty! Yet another one. This is not a typical beginning for the Patriots. Wonder if this break settles McNabb down, and he takes care of business in the red zone.

Commercial analysis: Longest yard. Adam Sandler as a QB? Huh? He threw that pass in the preview like a baseball! But it does have Burt Reynolds...
Big sack for the Patriots! 16 yards! This would be a good time for an INT, fellas.
Commercial analysis: Diet Pepsi, with hunky guy who looks surprisingly like me. Nice cameos, easy to dance to, I give it an 8.8.

Commercial analysis: GoDaddy, with bimbo testifying in front of an AARP committee. Wasted money. Guys, spend the coin on better hosting admin tools, and find a new ad agency.

Westbrook just picked up a first down. Troy Brown tackled like, well, the bimbo from the bad commercial, but it's difficult to speak ill of him, given he's playing offense, defense, and special teams. New England has two penalties thus far -- both times jumping on offense, which is unusual for them. Hopefully this portends nothing...
Commercial analysis: FedEx, with Burt Reynolds. I like pretty much anything with Burt Reynolds, so this one makes the winners list. A bit dry -- intentionally so, I believe -- with a big finish with "Don't Stop Believing."
Did Patten pull a Pinkston? Sure looked like he developed alligator arms on that third and long pass attempt.

Commercial analysis: Diet Pepsi, with P. Diddy. Very well done. Pepsi has a history of lame commercials, especially when given a huge audience like the Super Bowl, but this one was funny. New agency?
Michael Douglas gives me the creeps. Always has. Not sure why -- he's not a bad actor -- but it's rather disappointing he's infiltrated the Super Bowl.

:: National Anthem ::

I really like players who sing -- and know -- the National Anthem. We should all know it, but it's far too rare so see and hear folks singing along. And as big, strong, and fearsome as the players are, they're still awed by the flyover. Something about military jets makes us all five again.

The best version of The Star Spangled Banner I've ever heard was before game three (I think) of the 1986 World Series in Boston. Smokey Robinson combined the National Anthem and America the Beautiful. Normally I'm a purist -- don't muck with the anthem, but that was the best I've heard. Anyone have a recording of it?

Commercial analysis: XXX -- What kind of "secret agent" has his code name TATTOOED on his neck? Even French Intelligence could spot him!
At the last minute I decided to watch the Super Bowl from home tonight, rather than head to a party. If the Patriots weren't playing, and I didn't want to focus so intently on the game, I would be with friends, but, well, these are the Patriots, and this New Englander is taking nothing for granted.

So when I think of it I'll post a few thoughts here, beginning with the pre-game. Good lord, could Fox stretch this out any longer? What are the chances of returning to simpler days, with the broadcast beginning a few minutes before kickoff, giving the announcers a chance to set the stage, introduct the players, and take one last commercial break before the kick? Close to nothing, I think -- especially with Fox handling the broadcast.

And away we go...

02 February 2005

President Bush just began his State of the Union address. Alert viewers noticed congresswoman Cynthia McKinney on the aisle, a position she reclaimed after a two-year hiatus. I'm curious how early Ms. McKinney arrives in the House Chamber in order to occupy that seat. Perhaps one of her aides performs that function? Regardless, the past two years were refreshing.

01 February 2005

Thanks to Netflix I've been catching up on movies over the past few weeks. A lifelong James Bond fan, I was quite looking forward to Die Another Day.

What a perfectly dreadful film. No wonder Pierce Brosnan doesn't seem too upset at the thought of not reprising his role as 007. The writing was the worst of any of the bond films, with sophomoric double-entendres that better fit in Scary Movie. Not that the acting was much better. I wonder if Brosnan was embarrassed during filming, and chose to exert as little effort as possible.

Word is the next Bond film will feature more -- gasp -- character development, perhaps ending the reliance upon special effects and grandiosity. Speaking of the next film, it is my hope that Clive Owen gets the gig; if not, Hugh Jackman would do.