Super Bowl With a Smirk returns for our second of five daily columns needling the self-important NFL and the excess and gravitas of its big game.
Again this year, the Super Bowl television commercials have been voted even more popular than the game itself in an annual poll of the American Society of Advertisers.
In-game ads for this Falcons-Patriots Super Bowl will cost a record average of $5 million per half-minute spot, or roughly $167,000 per second.
Sunday’s ads will include has-been comic actor Jon Lovitz for Mexican avocados, a woman having a sexual fantasy about cartoon hottie Mr. Clean, an Intel ad with Tom Brady, and a Miami Herald commercial promoting Greg Cote’s blog. (OK I made up that last one).
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Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad will tell the heartwarming story of immigrant founder Adolphus Busch’s 1857 journey from Germany to St. Louis, unless President Trump signs an executive order banning the ad.
Super Bowl ads used to be highly anticipated before companies put them out days in advance on social media. There still is a bit of unpredictability, other than the two annual iron-clad certainities
1. There will be a sentimental ad revolving around a dog befriending a bedraggled donkey in a straw hat.
2. We’ll all hate the GoDaddy spot.
▪ NFL reports Falcons-Pats will be seen in 188 countries, Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and in more than 20 languages including Mandarin Chinese, Flemish and Hungarian. Right now, two bickering crones in Budapest stirring a pot of ghoulash are in agreement Falcons coach Dan Quinn may be “a feje folott” (in over his head).
▪ “What do they know of coaching!” cried a man in Djibouti.
▪ Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan briefly lost track of a backpack containing the team’s Sunday game plan. Cannot confirm witnesses said it had been taken by a scowling man wearing a gray hoodie.
▪ Still early, but Super Bowl Week has been too quiet and controversy-free. Can LeBron James and Charles Barkley both fly to Houston and start arguing please?
▪ Short of that, would some enterprising reporter at least please surreptiously plant deer-antler spray on some linebacker?
▪ The question that nearly brought Tom Brady to tears talking about his father — “Who is your hero?” — was posed by a 7-year-old who won a contest to be a Super Bowl reporter. Great. Isn’t bad enough that newspapers are struggling. Now I have a second-grader after my job!
▪ Answer: Blonde/yellow is the betting favorite for the hair color of halftime performer Lady Gaga. Question: What do you mean there are too many ridiculous prop bets!?
▪ Notice how businesses refer to the “Big Game” in ads so they won’t get sued by the NFL? Smirk suggests “Stupor Bowl” or “Super Bore” instead.
▪ A team of Budweiser Clydesdales arrived in Houston Tuesday and were immediately signed to one-week contracts by Bill Belichick and trained to rush the passer.
▪ Only midweek, but already there are early indications the national media may be running out of story ideas. Trending: Experts in onomastics weigh in on the exact origin of Matt Ryan’s “Matty Ice” nickname.
▪ Wait. Smirk could swear he just saw Mercury Morris standing on an orange crate with a megaphone in downtown Houston loudly reminding passersby the ’72 Dolphins remain the only undefeated team.
▪ Finally, our Super Bowl Party Tip du Jour: Want a few party foods sure to surprise and delight your guests? Eight words: Tuna eyeballs, crispy Cambodian tarantulas, jellied moose nose.