I haven't updated this in a few weeks because it didn't really need updating. Denver, New England, Houston, San Fransisco, and Atlanta, in some order, were the top 5 for three straight weeks. And then, suddenly... they weren't.
I was actually on the Seattle bandwagon pretty early. In fact, after week 3 I thought there was value in betting them to win the NFC championship and the Super Bowl. But then they sort of faded, and the computer model put them to the side. At least, that was the case before they ran off 3 straight blowouts and climbed all the way to the top of the rankings.
Okay, so technically they are at the top, but it is very close to a 3-way tie between Seattle, New England, and Denver - all are within a couple of percentage points, which is most certainly within the margin of error. What I find amazing about the computer model's projection is that they are the favorite to win the Super Bowl at this point, even though they are NOT the favorite to win their division (the odds of this happening, which require Arizona to beat San Fransisco along with a Seattle victory this weekend, are only 9%). So, Seattle is even with New England and Denver, even though those teams have a good chance at a first round bye and will play at least 1 game at home in the playoffs.
Poor Houston, on the other hand, has had a rather precipitous fall from the top. While they were never the favorite, they had spent 11 straight weeks in the top 5 (including 5 weeks at number 2) before falling off with 2 losses in their last 3 games. I've seen alot of people walking around town proudly wearing their "Houston Texans AFC South 2012 Division Champion" t-shirts. Wear it proud, Houston: it's looking like that's all you are going to get this year.
Up until two weeks ago, this space had been reserved for a weekly posting of fake LVH SuperContest picks and an update on Super Bowl standings. A run of... let's say poor performance took me out of the fake running, so I took a week to recharge and come back strong with some updated standings. Let's take a look.
What strikes me most since the last update is the disappearance of one-time runaway favorite, the Chicago Bears. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward: after spending 4 straight weeks atop the standings, they lost two in a row to the Texans and San Francisco, the last one via blowout. Green Bay, meanwhile, has gone on a 5-game winning streak to pull into a tie for the division lead. Not only is Chicago no longer the Super Bowl favorite, I now have them as a 2-1 underdog to win their division.
That leaves Houston as a narrow favorite, just edging out San Fransisco, for the Super Bowl lead. Houston just keeps winning and winning and winning, and any AFC team looking to knock them off is now likely to have to do it at Reliant Stadium. This stranglehold on the division, home-field advantage, and a first-round bye are what is currently keeping them separate from the rest of the pack of AFC contenders.
Denver, for their part, continue to be a study in how Bayesian statistics works. At the beginning of the season, I rated their chances of winning the Super Bowl at something not exactly equal to, but very close to, 0%. This initial position (bias, if you prefer) against Denver means that it took 8 weeks before I even start considering them as a contender. They have now finally reached a point where they can no longer be ignored.
The conservative nightmare endgame of environmental politics would be a world in which we are told what lightbulbs, shopping bags, and drink containers we can use; in which the government monitors our waste streams to find improper disposal of batteries or failure to recycle; in which, even inside the supposed safety and privacy of our own homes, our every move is watched and evaluated for conformity to environmental principles.
This is the world that Audi presents us with in its Super Bowl commercial from last night. Green Police are on top of your every move, dragging away otherwise law-abiding citizens for infractions against a strict environmental code. And in this world, the correct car to drive is an Audi TDI. Why does Audi package its environmentally friendly car inside a dystopian enviro-fascist nightmare? Who is it targeting with this ad?
Honestly, I'm not sure. Here's my theory: the commercial is obviously not aimed at you. If you are an environmentalist, than this commercial is openly mocking you. Instead, this commercial is targeting those that think recycling is a waste of time, that climate change is a fraud, and that personally freedom trumps societal needs. In other words: if you were at the Teabaggers Convention (or at least wanted to be), then this commercial was aimed at you. It reflects the world as you see it: an oppressive regime stripping you of your personal freedoms under the (false) guise of environmentalism. And in this world of oppression, the only way to avoid being scrutinized and outcast by society is to conform.
So, uh... I guess Audi figured everybody who actually cared about the environment was already driving a Prius?
The Superbowl is finally here! Which means we all get to see new (and probably stupid) commercials. I know that's why I watch. But more than just commercials, the Superbowl signifies the end of the football season, especially since the Pro Bowl was moved to before the Superbowl this year. So no more interesting NFL news until mid-April when the NFL Draft takes over a whole weekend. Then we have to wait three more grueling months until training camps start at the end of July. Then 4 meaningless preseason games in August, followed by the start of the 2010 season. I CAN"T WAIT!!!
OK, so now I'll update the uninteresting Playoff Pick 'Em standings. Due to the push in the Vikings-Saints game, only people that picked the Colts got the 4 points, thus we have:
The Suze: 13 (1-0-1 two weeks ago) Jesse: 12 (0-1-1 two weeks ago) Jim: 11 (0-1-1 two weeks ago) Daytrader: 10 (1-0-1 two weeks ago) Rose: 10 (1-0-1 two weeks ago) Greg: 4 (0-1-1 two weeks ago)
Now for the Superbowl, the correct pick gets EIGHT points, and I'm making up BONUS POINTS!!! Everyone tells me what they think the total score will be and the closest gets 6 points, the second closest gets 5, the third gets 4, etc. OK...to the analysis!
New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts (-5.0) So the Colts are technically the home team, and all that really means is that the Saints will call the coin toss. And I guess the Colts get to decide if they want to wear their white jerseys or their colored jerseys, forcing the Saints to wear the opposite. I'm not in the mood to look at the stats to see if the "home" team wins more Superbowls (I kinda feel like it doesn't matter), so I don't think that it's a big deal.
There are a few different things to consider in this game. A few match-ups and question marks have been discussed so far, so I think that I should weigh in on what I think.
Colts Offense vs. Saints Defense I think this is the most important thing that no one seems to be talking about. During the regular season, the Jets defense was ranked #1 and the Ravens defense was ranked #3. The Colts faced both of these teams in the playoffs and scored 30 and 20 points on these two defenses respectively. The Saints were ranked #25 in overall defense! It's absurd in my opinion to think that the Saints are going to shut down the Colts offense. So I think it's safe to say that if the Saints are going to win, they need to be able to score points to keep up with the Colts.
Saints Offense vs. Colts Defense In the regular season the Saints had the #1 ranked offense! The Colts defense was ranked at #18. So it looks good for the Saints to be able to score points. The Saints two opponents so far this postseason were the Cardinals (#20 defense) and the Vikings (#6 defense), and the Saints were able to score 45 and 31 points respectively. But against the Vikings, the Saints only gained 257 total yards (and gave up 475!). Basically the only way that the Saints won were due to the FIVE turnovers that their defense got. And still they only won by 3 in overtime. Granted that the Colts defense is not as good as the Vikings, but it's clear that the Vikings outplayed the Saints, but also made more mistakes than the Saints.
The Dwight Freeney Situation Dwight Freeney is a defensive end on the Colts who, depending on the source, tore a ligament in his right ankle in the 4th quarter (with like 2 minutes left in the game I might add) against the Jets. Dwight Freeney is unarguably the Colts' best defensive player, and without him their pass rush is not the same. The Colts have another very good defensive end in Robert Mathis, but he is very good because Freeney is great. Freeney occupies consistent double-teams which allows Mathis to play one-on-one and he is good enough to beat one-on-ones. Without Freeney, Mathis would be double-teamed. And plus, Freeney still beats double-teams consistently. There is great speculation to whether or not Freeney will play in this game. This situation reminds me of Terrel Owens' situation when the Eagles played the Patriots in the Superbowl a few years back. And Owens, who had an ankle sprain and a fractured fibula, had a GREAT game. Might we see something similar from Freeney? I doubt it. I feel that this will force the Colts to blitz more on Drew Brees in order to get pressure on the Saints' quarterback, and if the Colts don't get to Brees it exposes the Colts' secondary and the Saints might be able to make some big plays.
Peyton Manning I don't care what anyone says, but Peyton Manning is the best quarterback of this generation, not Tom Brady. If Manning had the kind of defenses that the Patriots had in the middle of the 2000s, it would be Manning with all the Superbowls, not Brady. Peyton Manning ALWAYS knows what the defense is planning on doing. And he always knows how to counter it. Peyton Manning is the greatest against the blitz. If you bring pressure, he knows who will be open and he will get the ball to him. In my opinion, the best way the Saints can play defense is by limiting their blitzes. Unfortunately, I don't think the Saints will do this. It gives the impression that you can't beat Manning if you don't blitz him, and everyone thinks that they know how to beat Peyton Manning. I'm telling you Saints, you can't beat him with the blitz, especially not if you have the #25 defense.
Experience I think sometimes people talk too much about playoff experience. I don't think it's as big of a factor as people make it seem. I think you prepare for every game in the playoffs like you do in the regular season. You prepare to win. But the Superbowl is different. Because of the hype, I'm sure that it's easy to allow that pressure to get to you, especially if you've never dealt with it before. And the Saints have NEVER dealt with it before. This is their first Superbowl since they started in 1967. The Colts won the Superbowl just 3 years ago. And a good portion of that team is still intact, especially the Colts' major weapons: Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Dwight Freeney, most of the offensive line. And this doesn't really fit into experience, but everyone is putting the Katrina pressure on the Saints. Which is RETARDED! That happened like 4 and a half years ago. Get the fuck over it. Nobody jumped all over the New York teams after 9/11. The Yankees LOST the World Series in 2001. And I'm sure there weren't any Red Sox fans rooting for the Yankees because of 9/11. IT'S TOTALLY IRRELEVANT!
The Saints' Special Teams I'm only going to talk about the Saints' special teams because I only think that they have the opportunity to make a big difference on the game. Two names: Reggie Bush and Garret Hartley. Reggie Bush can change the game with a punt return for a touchdown (he can also be a game-changer on offense, but I think it's kinda in a similar matter), but he can also muff a punt and is prone to fumbles. Hartley is basically a rookie kicker (he's not really, but let's just say he is). He missed that kick against Tampa Bay in Week 16, but he hit the game-winner 40 yarder against the Vikings in OT to bring the Saints to the Superbowl. I feel that he cannot miss kicks in this game. If they Saints have the opportunity to score points, even via a 3 point field goal, they cannot squander those opportunities, because the Colts are going to keep on scoring.
The Prediction I think this game will be "close". I put that in quotes because I think if a team quickly gets down by 14 points is very much still in it because of the way that both of these teams can score points. So if it's a 10 point win, I say it's a close game. I also wouldn't be surprised if it's a blowout, but I think that it will be competitive for at least 3 quarters. But I just feel that the Colts are going to win this game. There is just only one question mark for me, and that's the status of Dwight Freeney, and I think that the Colts are going to prepare like he's not going to play. That way if he does, then it's a bonus, not a liability. I'm thinking that it will be a 7-14 point win by Indy, so I'm not worried about the spread. My guess for total score is 65.
Two legal cases. Two Super Bowl ads. One fucked up decision by CBS.
A Kansas jury, in an almost unbelievable display of intelligence and comprehension, has convicted Scott Roeder of murder in the killing of Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was one of only a handful of doctors in the US who performed late-term abortions. Roeder (who it feels like somewhat of an understatement at this point to call an anti-abortion activist) walked up behind Dr. Tiller in the foyer of his church before Sunday services, and shot him point blank in the back of the head.
(Quick sidebar: There exists a provision in Kansas law by which someone may be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder if the killer has an "unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force". Roeder's lawyers unsuccessfully attempted to use this provision to get the severity of his sentence downgraded. Isn't this an incredibly persuasive argument? Here's what I mean: if you truly believe that a fetus is equal to a baby as Roeder clearly does, then in his eyes, Dr. Tiller was murdering babies every day. If somebody actually was murdering babies every day, would those circumstances not justify deadly force? All this is not to mean that Roeder should have been acquitted of murder, but rather that Kansas is, collectively, fucking retarded for having such a law in the first place.)
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow will star in an anti-abortion ad with his mother. While pregnant, Tebow's mom considered having an abortion before, I dunno, probably praying or some shit.
The Federal Appeals Court is currently deliberating a constitutional challenge to Prop 8, the controversial California law that banned same sex marriage in that state. Arguing for the pro-gay marriage side are David Boies and Theodore Olsen, the two lawyers who argued on opposite sides before the Supreme Court of the Bush v. Gore gas. Arguing for the anti-gay marriage side are, I presume, a bunch of horrible bigots who should just kill themselves.
The spot: An attractive woman waits in a restaurant. Her date arrives, but before she can say a word, he places his hands against her lips - he is on the phone. A montage of bad date cliches follows: he blows his nose, picks his teeth, checks out other women, sends texts from his phone, and gestures that eating dessert will make his date fat. Over this sequence, the narrator says, "Have you ever found yourself on a really bad blind date? Now imagine that date lasting the rest of your life?" The woman stares at her date/husband as he gets up from the table and says, "I have to go. Happy anniversary, honey." The logo comes up on the screen for AshleyMadison.com. "Isn't it time for AshleyMadison.com?" the narrator asks, and the screen displays the slogan: When Divorce Isn't An Option. Cut back to the woman, who is now eying another young man at the restaurant, and smiling seductively at him.
Originally schedule to air during the Super Bowl, the NFL and NBC both rejected this ad for predictable reasons. However, it was still aired in certain markets by the local affiliates, and Houston was one of those. When it was rejected nationally, AshleyMadison.com decided to focus marketing efforts in those areas where they had seen the best growth, and it turns out that the top three cities were all in Texas: Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. This set of facts tells us two interesting things:
As a result of the poor economy, we've started to see prime time ad space opening up to commercials that would normally only air during daytime television. With AshleyMadison.com and Cash4Gold.com, some of that was even able to leak into the premiere advertising event in the world.
Texas is, apparently, the biggest market for an infidelity website. A theory: the high level of church participation in the South hits the moral depravity of the big cities, causing a sort of infidelity storm front. People want to appear to be committed to their families (so no divorcing) but are also lured to the dark side by the anything goes big-city atmosphere. As a result, its raining affairs!
Now, about the ad itself. A very fine line needed to be walked here: in order for the ad to be successful, the prospective client needed to be able to sympathize with the woman's situation. If the man was actually abusive, then the viewer would be turned off (just leave him!) If he wasn't a big enough jerk, the viewer would sympathize with him (he's not such a bad guy!) But to really sell it, they needed some extra justification.
He leaves at the end. Where is he going? Perhaps... to have an affair? And did you see the restaurant they were at, and how nicely everyone was dressed? Clearly the guy has some money.
So we've constructed a scenario where a great many women would be able to sympathize: the man is a jerk, and he's probably cheating on her... but he's got money, so instead of divorcing him, just sit on the busboy's face. The ad bangs this home at the end: When Divorce Isn't An Option.
Whatever you think of the morality of the company, give the ad props for knowing who their target audience is.
Before we begin, I'd like to welcome you back home after your time
behind enemy lines at We Know Porno. Now, it is time to have a chat
with somebody who REALLY knows advertising: me.
There are lots
of reasons why somebody might watch the Super Bowl. Perhaps you enjoy
the athleticism, the brutality, the competition, the participation in a
culture-wide event, or maybe your husband forces you to. In any case,
I think its safe to assume that watching the Super Bowl is a respite
from the worries of every day life. At least, it is supposed to be.
Somebody forgot to tell the advertisers that.
Here is my rundown of ads which, to varying degrees, tapped into
the realities our particular economic climate (I believe the economic
thermostat right now is set to "scared shitless"):
calls a meeting to discuss ways in which they might cut costs. When an
intrepid employee suggests that they might save some green by not
purchasing Bud Light for every meeting, he is promptly thrown out of a
News of the bad economy has even reached our babies! They think we
should continue investing. This is why I don't take investment advice
from babies (unless, of course, they are Jewish).
Have you been dying to buy that new Hyundai, but you're afraid that you
might lose your job and not be able to make the payments? Well, Hyundai
has got you covered: if you lose your income in the next year, just
bring it back. Or keep it and live in it, whichev!
Apparently times are also bad in outer space - don't leave your moon
hires Carlos Boozer to show us how to go online and buy gaudy gold
jewelry for low low prices, which we can then turn around and sell on
Cash4Gold.com. This is the most confusing ad of the night: why is
Carlos Boozer showing children how to buy jewelry online? Where are
there parents? Why does he leave his Olympic gold medal lying around?
What is going on here??
There were a couple of ads that caught my eye that did not relate to the economy:
The mysterious meaning of G is finally revealed! (Or did you plan on blogging about this... somewhere else?!)
And, finally, this macho truck ad insists on repeated use of the
word "tranny". In an unrelated story, some words have two meanings.
So what of it, the Suze? Notice any trends? Or did any specific ads
do it for you (other than the Jason Statham one, obviously - he can
Transport me anytime, if you know what I mean*).
*I mean I'll have gay sex with him.
The Suze's take
This Super Bowl certainly brought us super bad commercial. And no,
I don't mean bad in a good way. I was less than unimpressed by 95% of
them. So I guess I'll be talking about the best of the worst here.
on the list was what I assumed to be a domestic violence commercial.
Can you guess which one I'm talking about? "Oh no. Look at the mug on
you. Diane you're a train wreck. That's why he only sent you a box of
flowers. Go home to your romance novel and your fat smelly cat...."
That's right gents and skirts, it was an ad for Teleflora.
Who the fuck cares if you get flowers from a box or in a vase? Really!?
I thought the the flower was going to take a god damn bat out and start
beating the poor woman to death, then apologize and tell her
"You make me do these things to you..." And as hilarious as we all think
domestic violence advertising is, this commerical just didn't make the
Second worst commercial of the night was Pepsi's MacGruber ad.
Guess what Pepsi? Not only does your new logo suck donkey balls, your inability to effectively market yourself makes you Coke's dirty
whore. (And I can only hope that Coke jizzes it's sweet carbonated
nectar all over your ugly face!) But seriously--use of a non-funny SNL
skit as the basis of your non-funny commerical and topping it off with the
aging Richard Dean Anderson equals BOMB!
Last on the list, I didn't LMAO with this NBC commercial.
Mainly because they listed 30 Rock as being funny. And, as we all
know... Well, I don't have to say it. Secondly, the intestinal and
bowel related problems associated with laughing one's ass off is pretty
disturbing to even think about. As least when they were done
reattaching the ass, they could wipe it with the
millions of dollars they used to buy that slot.
On that note, advertisers of the the Super Bowl, you get a wag of my finger.
When the Giants lose their first playoff game a week from Sunday, you can look back and blame me for this column. I am about to jinx them by rating which AFC team represents the most interesting Super Bowl matchup, from 1 to 6.
6. Miami Dolphins
I'm not going to lie. When I had the idea for this list, I thought this spot would go to New England or the Jets. Can you imagine it? The Patriots: A rematch from last season, when the underdog Giants swooped in and ruined the Patriots perfect season. The Patriots would be back for revenge, this time as the underdogs. What a great matchup that would have been.
Or the Jets: New York vs. New York. Brother against brother, father against son, obnoxious jerkoffs against loudmouth assholes. The subway Super Bowl, even though you can't ride a subway to Giants Stadium or Tampa Bay, where the game would actually be played.
But instead, we get the Dophins. The best I could come up with is that their coach is named Tony Sparano, which is pretty close to Tony Soprano, like in that show that took place in New Jersey, which is where the Giants play, even though they are actually called the New York Giants. Damn it all.
5. Baltimore Ravens
Rematch of Super Bowl XXXV, when the Ray Lewis-led Baltimore Ravens defense held the Giants to one special teams touchdown in a 34-7 pasting. This matchup might be more intriguing if there was more than a single Giants starter left from that Super Bowl run.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
Two stud quarterbacks from the draft class of 2004, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, each go for their second Super Bowl ring. As an added bonus, my employer is a Steelers fan, so excessive gloating on the day after the Super Bowl could have severe career ramifications.
Did you know that there is a burger joint in Pittsburgh that has an item on the menu called a Rothelis-burger, which is made with a 7-pound beef patty in honor of the number worn by the QB? I think 7 might also be a reference to the number of people in Pittsburgh who still have jobs today.
3. Tennessee Titans
You probably think that this game is interesting because it would represent a matchup between the two top-seeded teams in the playoffs, or the two teams who were at the top of the standings all year, or because it matches the Giants against Kerry Collins, the quarterback who took them to Super Bowl XXV. You would be wrong.
No, this game is interesting because it matches two teams whose names mean the same thing. Giants! Titans! This game is going to be huge!! Get it?!?!? Most exciting Super Bowl matchup for me since the Buccaneers played the Raiders.
2. San Diego Chargers
In 2004, the Chargers drafted Eli Manning number one overall. He refused to sign with them, forcing a trade to the Giants. Who did the Giants send back? Philip Rivers, the number 3 overall pick and current QB for San Diego. Rumor has it that Chargers fans are still not incredibly pleased with Eli. This could be the biggest potential storyline in the playoffs, if not for...
1. Indianapolis Colts
Manning vs. Manning. Eli and Peyton, fighting it out for their mother's love in the biggest game of the year. NBC, the network that airs the Super Bowl this year, will have a collective boner for 2 weeks. Advertisers will be falling over themselves to throw money at them. It will be the most watched Super Bowl in history. Oops, they got a semi right now just thinking about it.
It will be the most over-hyped storyline since Jerome Bettis going home to Detroit to win a Super Bowl in his final game. In fact, I'm already sick of it. Every advertisement in the month of February will have either Eli, Peyton, or Archie, who will probably send a sample of his sperm to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton after the game.
That is, unless the Giants lose to the Eagles in round 2. Dammit all.