Monday, February 2, 2009

Baby, We Were Born to Run

(Photo: London Telegraph)

Before I actually talk about the game, I would like to extend this greeting to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission:

May all your doctor appointments start 3 hours late and contain uncomfortable prostate exams.

Seriously though CTV, thank you for 5 hours of commercials for next year’s Olympics. If it hadn’t been for those ads I would never have known they were coming up. Now I’m going to make a special point of NOT watching the 2010 games just out of spite (not that I would have anyway).

Are we so terrified of our fragile Canadian culture being eradicated that we can’t possibly show the Super Bowl commercials? Was there such a back-lash last year after that happened? Normally, I’m in favour of some government controls so that free enterprise can’t run wild, except for two places – liquor stores and entertainment.

To me, federally funding or protecting a Canadian TV show or movie and laws about Can Con on the radio are just ludicrous – if something isn’t good enough to be on TV or the radio without special laws in place, THEN IT SHOULDN'T BE ON TV OR THE RADIO! I’m not ok with inferior programming just because it happened to be created by someone born in the same country as me. If something sucks out loud, I won’t make a concession because it’s Canadian content – and I shouldn’t be forced to watch it or listen to it. If Theory of a Deadman can’t get any airtime without federal regulations, well… you know, maybe they shouldn’t get any damn air time. Even if the alternative is… (terrified intake of breath)… American.

There’s a reason people would rather watch The Office than Wild Roses and it’s not because of our obsession with the all-consuming American Culture. It’s because The Office is sublime and Wild Roses sucks like a siphon hose*. If aspects of the Canadian entertainment market are continually protected, where is the incentive to actually improve the product? There’s a reason that Corner Gas is so popular and is even airing on some American channels… and it’s not because of government coddling – it’s because it’s a quality program! Admittedly it’s not always my cup of tea, but it is well-written and acted. And yes I realize that Corner Gas probably got money from the federal government to make that well-written and acted program.
(*To be fair, I've never seen Wild Roses - it was just the first thing I could think of)

Fine, that is what it is – having a Canadian culture is important. But why is it that the only way we can have our own culture is by forcing it on people? I’m not for the complete destruction of the Canadian entertainment industry, but in the name of all that is hilarious can’t I at least have a choice? Canadians are the funniest people on the planet, there is no disputing this – satire is our national pastime. And there are truckloads of Canadian music that kick seven kinds of ass. But we’re still stuck so far inside our Canadian Inferiority Complex that we think the earth would stop rotating if we allowed in ESPN or Bud Light commercials. Do we really think we’re only capable of producing something worth watching if we can make people watch it?

There are plenty of true Canadian patriots who would still watch SporstNet if we suddenly were gifted ESPN. And you know what we’d soon realize, ESPN sucks… a lot. Some of their anchors are funny and some of their programs are nice, but after you’ve watched your third Around the Horn you’ll be looking for a gun so you can blow your brains out. But why not at least give us the opportunity to make that decision for ourselves? And let me watch College Football Gameday!!

I understand why the CRTC doesn’t want to let in media giants from the U.S., their Canadian counterparts wouldn’t be able to compete financially. But it’s very frustrating to me when I have 4 different NBC stations and I can’t watch Super Bowl commercials on any of them because CTV is simulcasting on all of them, even the non-HD West Coast one – which they usually don’t do. If I wanted to watch Canadian commercials, I would. But I don’t, so at least give me the option not to one day a year.

Through all of this, I am buoyed by the fact that the commercials weren’t very good this year – at least from the ones we were watching on YouTube during the endless Olympic propaganda (Yeah – suck it CTV, we still weren’t watching your commercials), except for this one:

At the very least, this whole situation made the decision of going to the bathroom during the game or during the commercials an easy one.

And speaking of the game, how ‘bout that game? It’s hard to believe we’ve had two great Super Bowls in a row (at least two great finishes), that’s almost unheard of. To me, last year’s was much more satisfying but I think this year’s was actually the better game. Other than the fourth quarter, last year was pretty dull; and last year’s winning touchdown wasn’t nearly as dramatic as this year.

I went into the game thinking I had no real rooting interest, but I soon found I was very much cheering for Pittsburgh – and I don’t really have a good explanation for this. I think it’s that I think Pittsburgh is a vastly superior football team. Arizona had a great run and came together at the right time, but they weren’t a better team than Pittsburgh. This is basically the same situation as last year with the Giants and call me a hypocrite if you want, but I will cheer against New England until my throat bleeds.

A few points about the game:

A) How does no one tackle James Harrison as he’s galloping down the field? With Boldin, Breston and Fitzgerald; and Hightower/Arrington/James – how do they not get to him before he’s 95 yards down the field? That said, it was a pretty incredible effort by Harrison.

B) Arizona should have taken more shots down the field to Larry Fitzgerald. As the only person I was with who is actually a Cardinals “fan” kept saying, “Why don’t they just throw it to him and let him get it.” I completely agree, even in double coverage Fitzgerald comes down with the ball 8.5 times out of 10. Warner had pretty good protection in the first half, they could have at least taken a shot.

C) Refereeing being a major story. What are most people talking about today? Officiating. Even as someone cheering for Pittsburgh I will admit the roughing the passer call on Docket was bogus. And how Santonio Holmes didn’t get called for using the ball as a prop after his touchdown is beyond me (To the point that I yelled out, “He’s using the ball as a prop,” as it was happening). The two defensive holding calls were bogus, but at least they evened out.

D) And in a game where every second play was being reviewed, why why why why why wasn’t the last play reviewed? Even I thought Warner’s arm was moving forward. I’ll never understand that one.

E) I thought Springsteen was great – even going off the board with “Tenth Avenue Freezeout” for the opener - until they did that lame referee thing. You’re the Boss, you’re better than that. And to the thousands of women who got pregnant when Bruce’s crotch hit the camera, you’re child support payments will be mailed out in 8 1/2 months.

F) The spread put out by TH was superb. I was in a food-coma for most of the third quarter.
(The much-dicussed First-Quarter dessert. Tremendous)

(My traditional Super Bowl cookies, which have certainly taken years off my life at this point)

And that’s it – the 2008 NFL season is finished (the Pro Bowl doesn’t count). As far as I’m concerned the 2009 season starts in 16 days with the Combine. But then we have to wait until April for the draft. Unlike last year, I don’t forsee a complete offseason-shutdown of Sports As Life. There will be much homerism as I discuss the Kansas City Chiefs and their search for a head coach and respectability. And there will also be a special offseason project I’ve got ready go, which I’m very excited about and will probably unveil tomorrow or maybe the next day, or whenever I feel like it.


Rider Prophet said...

I found it funny during the trophy ceremony when Big Ben said "Whose laughing now O-line?"

... umm me and many others. Your O-line was one of the team's weak spots this season and struggled during the big game culminating with a holding call that negated a 20 yard gain and cost the Steelers 2 points, possession and almost the game (now you can debate the legitimacy of that call but still...).

PS - the commercial where the koala gets punched was fantastic. "Oh Dear"

Napoleon in Rags said...

Agreed. Their O-line was the weak spot for them. They got better throughout the year but were still pretty sad, especially in the Red Zone. I was trying hard to debate the holding call on the safety, but was shouted down pretty quickly.

I acutally didn't even see that in the post-game. I was racing to get home in time for the Office.

Trebor said...

I was at a party at a freinds house with about 70 people. He's got the 60" plasma upstairs and a projector downstairs so it was a definite treat to watch the game. I had my 3D glasses ready tow atch the commercials and was sadly informed it would have to wait... though with that many people I couldn't hear anything, so watching the commercials lates was ok by me..

the only thing that could be heard every time arizona had the abll's is fitz open ?? He's always been good but wow, that last touchdown puts him up to 1 of the top 3 wr's playing.

Experiece was great there was 2 deep friers going, 3 tailgate bbq's, a game of street hockey and even a small grease fire. Though the steelers went and ruined it.I loathe them. I'm yelling "eject harrison he's clearly raging on steroids" (best/worst 1/2 yrd penatly ever).

With the score 27-23 I did get some solace in the fact that $2 wager just won me $100. Thus ending an incredible season as I also got second in the fantasy playoff, losing only because of fitz.

I would agree it was a good superbowl, but because of the otucome I can't say it was great.

Oh yeah another thing...cheering for Big ben to get sacked is very frustrating. Almsot every passing play the defense seems to have a chance but ..... I will give him credit in his ability to avoid getting taken down. I still

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Steelers fan and I despise Hines Ward. The cocky little twerp has always got that shit eatin' little grin on his face. I realize that he has game but geez..... What's with this "Steelers Nation" stuff?

I thought the difference in the game was the Cardinals DB's seemed to be confused and a step behind the Steelers receivers the entire game. I mean throwing into triple coverage for the game winning td with DB's essentailly looking like spectators. I realize one has to be cautious of being flagged for pass interference on a route like that but that was ridiculous. It was a well thrown ball granted, but with the game on the line you have to be a little more aggressive than that.