Super Bowl analysis for channel surfers

Chris Bateman
By Chris Bateman February 8, 2013 12:48

My long-awaited post-Super Bowl analysis:  It sucked.

It always sucks when your team loses. It sucks worse when your team snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, as the 49ers did in the waning seconds of the 5 ½ -hour spectacle.

(Subtract  the blackout, Beyonce, and Alicia Keys’ 56-minute National Anthem, and “the game” would have been only the length of a movie deemed way too long to win an Academy Award).

Finally, it eases the pain a bit when your actual favorite team – in my case, the Raiders – aren’t even in the same solar system as the Super Bowl and you’ve adopted the otherwise despised Niners only as a surrogate pick.

Still, I began to channel surf at halftime. With the Ravens leading by 15, my dead-wrong gut feeling was that there wasn’t much left to see.

Only much later did I hear a right-wing radio commentator condemn Beyonce for performing a “simulated sex  act” during her glitz-laden, if not clothing-laden show. I suddenly wished I had stayed on Channel 13 to make up my own mind about what she was simulating.

But then I would have missed Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl IX. And I was hardly the only one who traded NFL football for bunch of mini-mutts frolicking  at Geico Puppy Bowl Stadium (yes, the insurance company bought naming rights).  Some 12.4 million watched  the Precious Bowl, making it Sunday afternoon’s  No. 1 cable show and No. 2 overall.

Not only did Animal Planet’s  lights stay on, but the game featured a kitty halftime show, hedgehog cheerleaders, hamsters piloting a blimp, penalties for pooping pups and an MVP (“Marta out-hustled puppies twice her size,” a commentator said of the apparent German shepherd cross. Drug tests are pending).  puppy bowl

Puppy Bowl viewership was up 64 percent over last year, meaning it  should overtake actual football  in the ratings sometime in the next couple of decades.  We’ll know this particular apocalypse has arrived  when nearly 100 million Americans crank up their flat-screens, get drunk, and high-five their buddies when a pint-size golden retriever noses out a stretching dachshund for the Nerf football.

Other options for disillusioned fans, I found, are plentiful.  Splitting up the 68 or so viewers nationwide not watching the Puppy Bowl or Super Bowl  were:

  • Hucksters peddling a variety of gimmicks and gizmos, including “The Best Home Heater Ever,” “Mega Ninja Kitchen System,” “Nutribullet,” “The 10-minute Trainer,” “Sexiest Makeup Tricks” and that perennial post-Super Bowl favorite, “Melt Away Belly Fat.”
  • Drama that puts XLVII’s game ending gold-line stand to shame. A few summaries:  “Christine mistakes a cop for a stripper,” “A desperate counselor wants the baby of a high school senior,” “Scott learns about the lesbian scene,” and, from “reality TV,”  “Kim uses Kourtney’s breast milk to help treat her psoriasis” – which got me back to the Puppy Bowl in a hurry.
  • A smorgasbord of “what-the-hell” offerings from networks that knew they didn’t stand a chance: Man vs. Fish in a Nat Geo special called “Wicked Tuna: Hooked Up,” Speed’s “Dumbest Stuff in Wheels,” CSPAN’S more-effective-than-Ambien “Mark Shields Discusses his Career,” “HeeHaw” reruns from, of course, the Rural Network, and a religious Zumba special from the Prayer Network, which of course didn’t have a prayer.
  • Dozens of movies including my favorite, 1953’s “Roman Holiday.” In it “a young princess (Audrey Hepburn) runs off with a U.S. newsman in Rome.” Alas, stuff like that never happened during my years in the trade – but what can you expect when you cover Tuttletown?

I landed back on Channel 13 in time to see tons of purple-and-yellow confetti poured  from the Super Dome rafters onto the jubilant Ravens, who survived an 11th hour (almost literally) Niners drive to prevail. “I have touched the confetti!” exulted linebacker Ray Lewis, ending his 17-year NFL career in a paper blizzard bearing his team’s colors.

Which gives rise to the only question that has remained unanswered in thousands of hours of post-Super Bowl analysis, most of which made Mark Shields sound exciting: What became of the 49er confetti?

Red-and-gold confetti, hundreds of pounds of it, must have been up there in the rafters, just waiting to drop if the Niners won. Is it still there? Will the NFL ship it to Rutherford,  N.J.,  just in case SF wins Super Bowl XLVIII in Metlife (formerly Giants) stadium? Can 49er fans buy packets of it, just to remember what might have been? Can we Raider faithful buy packets to burn while casting spells?  And, except for me, who cares?

That said, baseball – a confetti-, Beyonce-  and spectacle-free sport otherwise known as the national pastime  – is about to begin. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Florida and Arizona next week. Hope springs, though not eternal, even for Chicago Cubs’ fans.

Which might be the best post-Super Bowl news yet.

columns-of-columns-208x300Chris Bateman, 66, is a journalist based in Sonora, California, where over the past 40 years he has covered everything under the Sierra Nevada sun.  

 Copyright © 2013 Friends and Neighbors Magazine


Chris Bateman
By Chris Bateman February 8, 2013 12:48
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  1. Helen Pen February 8, 13:22

    You are really enjoying that big old TV aren’t you! By the way I loved Roman Holiday! And I love the Cubs! Let’s go to a game together and have a yummy hotdog/ sausage!!

  2. Russell Frank February 8, 16:15

    Favorite line: “Alas, stuff like that never happened during my years in the trade – but what can you expect when you cover Tuttletown?”
    Meanwhile, I was in Sonoma Co. and can tell you the real reason the Niners came to life in the 2nd half: The woman next to me re-centered her Qi. l saw her do it.

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