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10 Feb 2010

Scramble for the Ball: Wrap Party

by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz

Prop Bet Recap

Tom: Sadly, the book did not actually give results for all of the bets. We were able, however, to figure out all of them except for "CBS show with the most promos." Sadly, this means I have horrible news: I lost.

Mike: Making horrible bets like a fox!

Tom: Assuming I calculated the results right, I bet $9,575 and won $9,830. You bet $9,470 and won $10,915. The biggest bet that I hit was Drew Brees not thanking anybody. God may be great, but apparently he's not worthy of being thanked. Thanking Jim Nantz, for interviewing him, doesn't count.

Mike: Well, Tim Tebow was busy doing his own commercial.

Tom: Your best hit was Pierre Garcon scoring the game's first touchdown, which earned you $1,200. One of the keys to our success was that neither of us had any big losses. So you put down $400 on Dallas Clark going over his Super Bowl XLI receiving yards total, and I put $500 on Benson's celebration of Tampa Bay's missed field goal not being shown, but those both paid off. We did each lose $250 expecting a score in the first 7:30 of the game, a bet foiled by a slight margin.

Mike: That was pretty crushing, and made me wonder for the first time how the play by play is timed. At first I wondered if it would be one of those weird scorekeeper things that varies from scorekeeper to scorekeeper, but I suppose that that is some league rule that the scores be timed according to the clock at the end of the down.

Tom: I have never noticed that not to be the case.

Mike: Just seems odd that the play would start around 7:34, the ball would go through around 7:31, and the play would then be credited at 7:29. C'est la vie. Since I lost the fantasy league soundly, I will also be sure to take my win gracefully.

Playoffs Fantasy Update

Tom: With me in the lead and eight players remaining, the only questions were how many points I'd score, and what my margin of victory would be. The answers: 263 points, which is more than anyone else in the history of FO Playoff Fantasy Football. Dave finished in second with 161 points. I also avoided the ignominy of being the first staff winner to finish below the top "Best of the Rest" score from the peanut gallery.

Mike: By a large margin, I'm guessing.

Tom: Actually, the winner, Chris UK, finished with 199, a great total. His team was mostly Jets: The Sanchize, Thomas Jones, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller, plus Darren Sproles, Pierre Garcon, David Akers, and the Minnesota defense.

Ryan D finished second with 182, and podge ended up in third with 162 points. However, a "perfectly" picked Best of the Rest team would have beaten me, thanks to Cincinnati Defense's negative point total.

Mike: I see. Done gloating?

Tom: Unless you'd like me to keep going.

Mike: No, I'm fine, thanks.

FO Playoff Final Results

Aaron Peyton Manning 66 LaDainian Tomlinson 2 Marion Barber 1 Miles Austin 17 Julian Edelman 16 Percy Harvin 4 Antonio Gates 9 Nate Kaeding 2 IND 3 120
Dave Brett Favre 44 Adrian Peterson 37 Reggie Bush 28 Randy Moss 4 Greg Jennings 19 Robert Meachem 1 Jason Witten 11 Jay Feely 17 NE 0 161
Vince Aaron Rodgers 40 Ray Rice 37 Laurence Maroney 0 DeSean Jackson 7 Donald Driver 4 Chad Ochocinco 2 Jermichael Finley 15 Mason Crosby 8 GB -5 108
Mike Tom Brady 7 Ryan Grant 7 Cedric Benson 23 Sidney Rice 42 Jeremy Maclin 20 Derrick Mason 6 Brent Celek 5 Ryan Longwell 14 NO 15 139
Sean Philip Rivers 22 Thomas Jones 19 Beanie Wells 15 Vincent Jackson 11 Larry Fitzgerald 27 Steve Breaston 25 Dallas Clark 22 Stephen Gostkowski 2 NYJ 9 152
Tom Drew Brees 67 Joseph Addai 30 Pierre Thomas 41 Reggie Wayne 21 Marques Colson 24 Austin Collie 35 Jeremy Shockey 16 Garrett Hartley 32 CIN -3 263

Sadly, "How to Impregnate French Women" Did Not Make the Cut

Mike: Your Scramble writers have spent all year mocking and deriding the worst of the commercial world. In the aftermath of the Super Bowl, however, they feel that it is time to highlight some of the good ones we were treated to this past Sunday.

Boost Mobile Shuffle

Mike: That's fresh!

Tom: The reaction to this commercial seems to be very dependent upon whether you enjoyed the first Super Bowl Shuffle.

Mike: Perhaps. How could you not love the Shuffle, though? Plus, it's self-parody, which is always great.

Tom: I do feel like they missed something by wearing Samurai Mike's No. 50, since he couldn't make it, rather than No. 34. It's also weird seeing McMahon with the rest of the Bears, since he went and stood with the Packers on the sideline of a Bears-Packers game after he retired.

Mike: True, he should have cloned himself, stood on both sidelines. That is the only way to satisfy rabid football fans.

Tom: The Packer fans seemed like good, knowledgeable fans when I was there for a preseason game last year.

Mike: I have nothing against Packers fans, but knowledge can just make football fans more scary, as our commenters will show. It leads to rabid devotion and absolute confidence in your own opinions.

Tom: But the Packers fans were nice about it, not hostile.

Mike: First, it was a preseason game. Second, all football fans are the same, some just do a better job of hiding the crazy.

Tom: But only Packers fans will steal your foodstuffs.


Mike: This commercial is a beautiful affirmation of true friendship. Can any of us honestly say that we have a friend willing to stand up in front of your assembled friends and family and pretend that your funeral wasn't a giant Doritos-fueled hoax? I mean, he could have left the guy out to dry, but he went all-in with the miracle sell. That's friendship.

Tom: Like too many commercials, however, it falls apart if you think about it too much. The casket is going to end up six feet in the ground. How is he going to breathe? Where did they find a medical examiner to sign off on a death certificate? How is he watching or listening to the game? Did they not have a viewing, where people didn't notice that he was still breathing?

Mike: You're really overthinking it. It's not like the church is going to demand a death certificate. "Hey, here's a dead guy." "Okay, then!"

Tom: No, but a funeral home might. Also, what if they had tried to cremate him? Did the friends plan that, only to find an exclusion in the life insurance policy and stick with Not Dead Guy’s plan?

Mike: I'm sure that would be part of the plan, that he had set it up to be moved later. In fact, the funeral home/church may even be in on the scheme.

Tom: It seems like an awful lot to get out of a week of work and eat Doritos. The woman in this commercial seems to be the wife of his friend. If the guy's not married, he could just stay home and eat Doritos all week.

Mike: He wouldn't get the benefit of spending a year dead for tax purposes.

Tom: He wasn't planning on being dead for a year, just a week.

Mike: It's a joke, Tom. A joke.

Mike: Holo-Favre!

Tom: I didn't even notice that when it first aired, just that it was holographic. We make fun of Favre a lot, but I really enjoy that he's at least willing to make fun of his retirement saga like this and the Sears commercial.

Mike: It's an important part of the commercial, as it is impossible to believe non-holographic things are from the future. The future = holography.

Tom: Huh. I always thought it was nanotechnology, genetic manipulation, and pizza delivery being taken over by the mafia.

Mike: Sadly, no. Holography and giant mutant space hamsters.

Tom: Well, since we sacrificed the pony last week, it makes sense that we'd have space hamsters to replace them. Although I like the Proust-quoting rockvecs more.

Mike: Fortunately, I have a miniature -- what's that, Boo? Oh, she doesn't want to be mentioned in the column.

Tom: My Vikings-fan coworker interpreted this ad as partially a shot at Chilly for hamstringing Favre. Specifically, his well-known hatred of letting players -- even old quarterbacks whose only remaining skill is reading defenses -- audible.

Mike: It's true, when Childress chauffeured Favre to the Vikings' offices, he also refused to provide complimentary fruit and champagne.

Tom: It's important to note that the "Princess" moniker isn't homophobic, but instead is a description of an apparently massive sense of entitlement. Chilly picking him up at the airport was merely due and proper, not a coach unreasonably bending over backward to accommodate a star player. It does make you wonder, however, how many players are really grounded and realistic.

Mike: "Princess" is also not emasculating. It shows only entitlement, or a name that unfortunately engenders Super Mario Bros. jokes.

Tom: Princess Toadstool was always my favorite in SMB 2.

Mike: Princess floats. Q.E.D.

Old Spice

Tom: So, three years ago, the best commercial shown on Super Bowl Sunday aired right before the Super Bowl. This year, the similar honor, for best commercial of Super Bowl Sunday despite not being shown during the Super Bowl, to Old Spice.

Mike: I'm on a boat. Old Spice needs to be commended in general, not only for this ad, but for its other ads. You see all sorts of commercials designed to be manly, show us what men are, affirm our manliness. They almost always end up being marginally offensive, since advertisers have decided that "man" is shorthand for "insensitive, inattentive asshat." Old Spice has the same aim, but succeeds fantastically because it's not condescending, it's not ridiculous, and use a positive image of masculinity: The men sound smart, they dress well, and they have masculine self-confidence that demands respect. Because this is set up so well, they can make the commercials sharp and use the guy as an effective straight man to involve us all in the joke.

Tom: The transitions here are great. Smooth, unexpected, and smart.

Mike: And they're not even non sequiturs. This dude has decided that something is happening, and that's all there is to it.

Tom: Yes, and they get all the details right. You can see the boat railing at first, and then it gradually disappears. And he's on the beach, with no transition. And on a horse. I also appreciate the break from general themes. For example, did you notice that this guy is wearing pants? Far, far too many Super Bowl commercials featured men without pants.

Mike: You should not get credit for that.

Tom: Well, sure, it's like putting "never arrested for a felony" on your resume, but if you're going up against a bunch of ex-cons, that's worth mentioning.

Mike: Just all-around well done, especially in light of its audience. The YouTube write-up provided by Old Spice is "we're not saying this body wash will make your man smell like a romantic millionaire jet fighter pilot, but we are insinuating it." That really sums it all up.


KEEP CHOPPING WOOD: Indianapolis Colts special teams. It's tough to pick one specific part of it. Matt Stover made the field goal he should have made, and missed a field goal longer than any he's made in the past three years, and shouldn't have even attempted. Chad Simpson had a couple decent kickoff returns, and one horrible decision to return a deep kick not very far. The Colts didn't allow Courtney Roby any particularly long returns, but he generally gave the Saints decent field position. According to our stats, however, the key to this game was an extra 16 yards(?) of average field position in New Orleans' advantage. That's a lot of yardage on each drive.

MIKE MARTZ AWARD: So, Matt Stover's longest made field goal this year was 43 yards. Matt Stover's longest made field goal in 2008 was 47 yards. Matt Stover's longest made field goal in 2007 was 49 yards. Matt Stover is now 42 years old, so there's reason to suspect he wouldn't be able to make a 55-yard field goal as he did as a rookie in 1991. So, Jim Caldwell, why'd you send him out to try a 51-yard field goal?

COLBERT AWARD: Sean Payton, onside kick to start second half. [Herm]You play to win the game[/Herm].

Posted by: Mike Kurtz and Tom Gower on 10 Feb 2010

45 comments, Last at 16 Feb 2010, 12:56am by Raiderjoe


by what? (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 7:38pm

Wait a minute, they didn't credit Brees as thanking God for his line "God it great"? What a ripoff!

by Theo :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 7:48pm

That's not thanking him, that's plugging him.

by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 3:12pm

Is Brees Muslim?

by Alien Manning (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 7:41pm

--"and pizza delivery being taken over by the mafia"--

Sweet Cryptonomicon reference Tom.

by jalsonmi (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 10:58pm


Snowcrash, my friend, Snowcrash. Cryptonomicon came later.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 1:22pm

Yup, Snowcrash, one of the best books ever! Besides, Cryptonomicon is mostly about WWII and hidden gold, not about Hiro Protagonist, the last free-lance hacker and best swordsman in the world, a guy that rides with a nuclear bomb in his bike, and a mind virus that was created in ancient Sumeria designed to destroy all hackers brains and take over the world.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 02/12/2010 - 1:31pm

Ancient Sumer. Not ancient Sumeria.

by Theo :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 7:46pm

"So you're a professional football player. From Los Angeles."
I had never seen that one.
Maybe because when you're looking at all the commercials; the BBC is hyping Reggie Bush with Alex Smith in the studio and Rod Woodson in the booth.

by Temo :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 8:55pm

That was an older commercial.

by hbh_uk :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 7:16am

What was all of the Reggie Bush hype about? They kept talking about him like the new Red Grange/Gale Sayers/Barry Sanders. The English guy that was hosting in the studio actually made me miss that lisping goon from Five's NFL coverage, which I had never thought possible. Mike Carlson maintained his 'what am I working with' face throughout the broadcast.

When will the BBC realise that any person crazy enough to stay up until 3am to watch the game probably has a good grasp of the basics, and deserves rather more in-depth analysis? Is there any way (other than using the rubbish feeds on Justin.tv or similar) to access the American braodcasts in the UK?

by Theo :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 8:08am

I only know of Sky Sports and ESPN America.

They did have a guy in there who could offer in depth analysis or knowlegde. But Alex Smith predicted a 'take the 3 points and stop the colts' before the Saints went for it on 4th and 1.

by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 9:38pm

who cares about commercials? Its like Demolition Man in here.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 1:24pm

That exact same thought goes through my mind every time I read this column, man! I'm going to watch that film again some day.

by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 3:15pm

Everybody get your Taco Bell ready.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 8:55pm

Owned by the mafia?

by HostileGospel :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 9:51pm

Hereby petitioning for the renaming of the Colbert award to the Sean Payton award, for obvious reasons. I think it lines up nicely with the Martz award that way too, being named for an actual coach.

Bonus points for the Baldur's Gate reference, although I am 89% sure Boo is male.

There's a place I want to be. It's the NovaCare Center. That's in Philadelphia. One NovaCare Way, where the Eagles practice and then they eat cafeteria food and they watch film and we eat and we have fun.

-Donovan McNabb

by jebmak :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 12:53pm

Go for the eyes Boo! GO FOR THE EYES!

by Chris UK :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 10:04pm

And again, blind faith in a team no one thought worthwhile wins best of the rest, please allow me my gloat, J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

by Marko :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 10:25pm

I am as big of a Bears fan as you will ever find, but even I thought the Boost Mobile Shuffle was lame. My reaction is not dependent on whether I enjoyed the Super Bowl Shuffle, since I loved that and still do. I did "go online to find the rest of [their] jam," and that was actually painful to watch. I couldn't even watch the whole thing. I stopped right after Speedy Willie's part. That was truly awful.

"I do feel like they missed something by wearing Samurai Mike's No. 50, since he couldn't make it, rather than No. 34."

They were wearing 50 not for Samurai Mike, but to promote Boost Mobile's $50 plan. Wearing Sweetness' 34 would have made no sense unless it was a $34 plan. The fact that you didn't even realize what they were advertising makes the commercial that much worse.

And I thought the Doritos funeral commercial was idiotic.

by Rhombus (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 10:42pm

Agreed on the Doritos funeral commercial, although I enjoyed some of their other ads. They had what, four different ads in the first half? One of them was bound to be good.

by Paul R :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 11:35pm

No props for the Dove "You're a Man" commercial? That's the one my wife and I liked best.


by andrew :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 1:33am

Actually didn't really care for it at all.

If the goal of the commercial was to make me want to buy "Dove", it failed miserably.

by tomj (not verified) :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 9:29am

I believe the purpose was to get your gf/wife to buy you the soap. Axe commercials specifically target men in their commercials, but a lot of men don't actually buy their own soap. Dove is targeting that market.

by Paul R :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 10:17am

Soap? I thought that stuff was for girls and sissies.

I just use a wire brush and some turpentine.

by jebmak :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 12:57pm

That might be the manliest thing that I have ever heard.

by DD (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 11:56pm

No mention of Hank Baskett in Keep Choppin Wood?

by Phil Osopher :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 10:54am

lol. that would be a bit harsh as at least he made a play for the ball, when the rest of the special teams ran away to block a kick that never came.

Plus, if you were married to that moron chick, it would be hard to concentrate on your job

by andrew :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 1:31am

notice that futurefavre isn't just him putting white stuff in his hair. They also put some reading glasses on the front of his shirt...

by MCS :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 12:25pm

In the outtakes, he actually puts the glasses on to read his statistics


by Briguy :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 2:29am

Am I the only one who thought the best commercial of the game was the remake of the "Nothing but net" commercial with Lebron and Dwight Howard? If nothing else, you gotta love it for the Bird cameo.

Or was that not a new commercial?

by Marko :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 2:34am

I hated that commercial except for the Bird cameo.

I did like the Kia commercial with the toys partying in Vegas, although it doesn't make me want to buy the product.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 12:02pm

The Kia commercial was one of the only ones I liked.

by MCS :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 10:53am

The only thing that commercial did was make me nostalgic for the old NBA. I hate dunk contests. They are merely a display of who is the better jumper.

by Jerry :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 3:37am

The Late Show promo was the winner for me, with bonus points for Letterman wearing an Art Donovan jersey.

by Alien Manning (not verified) :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 9:08am

"by jalsonmi (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 10:58pm
Snowcrash, my friend, Snowcrash. Cryptonomicon came later."

Oh yeah your right. I am reading Interface right now so I got confused. Either way they are both great books.

I cant believe how many movies/t.v. shows have stolen from Snow Crash - Surrogates, Fringe...etc.

by SuperFly20 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 9:26am

A hologram just makes sure people realize that its in the future in case they miss the date at the bottom.

I love the old spice commercial.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 12:30pm

Doristos comemricla with guy in pine box horrible. worst commeicial of super bowl. Real moron came up with that idea.

by lpstd :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 3:43pm

It's not one of the SB commercials, but this highlights reel as cut by various auteur filmmakers is great:


As for the actual ads, I'll take the Letterman/Oprah/Leno bit. That one threw me for a loop.

by Brendan Scolari :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 9:15pm

I missed the Old Spice commercial during the game somehow, but I agree that it was really well done.

I also liked the Doritos commercial where the little kid slapped the guy for trying to take his mom and his Doritos and the commercial where the toys partied in Vegas.

by Temo :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 10:39pm

As Tom helpfully mentioned, the Old Spice commercial actually aired before the Super Bowl.

by Brendan Scolari :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 11:31pm

Ah yes. I had forgotten because I read the article a day before commenting. Thanks for the heads up.

by zlionsfan :: Fri, 02/12/2010 - 1:44pm

Commercials always put me in "get off my lawn" territory. I didn't care much for most of them (although they were muted, so if there was something in the lines that was supposed to draw me in, I wouldn't have heard it) ... I watched the Green Police commercial the next day on my 360, but only to hear Cheap Trick; I had heard on XM that they had a song in a Super Bowl commercial. And of course that commercial wasn't really that impressive either: in the future, we'll have to buy VWs to keep Big Brother from harassing us? (Of course, they'll still be using orange cones for roadblocks.)

If you believe that Favre enjoys the spotlight, then you can't really give him credit for making commercials about his future ... of course he would do that. He's simply expanding the Favrefavrefavre will-he/won't-he beyond every single show that ESPN produces. Maybe he'll have a one-on-one with Oprah next.

If the Old Spice commercial was decent, then I suppose it makes up for the last several years when the commercials have ranged from stupid to dumb and stupid.


At least there were Mass Effect 2 commercials up through the conference championships. The Dante's Inferno commercials were interesting, but having just read the first two parts of the Divine Comedy (and slowly making my way through the last), I'm not sure I want to try a game that will no doubt not be what I think it should be, no matter how cool it may be (or how much like God of War it is).

by Tarrant :: Fri, 02/12/2010 - 2:35pm

I thought the commercials this year were somewhat lackluster.

My favorite playoffs commercial (although it didn't air in the Super Bowl) the past few years was the Old Spice ad with Bruce Campbell, where he walked in front of a seemingly 50 foot long painting of a gigantic neverending ship with about 40 masts, and talked cryptically about "Experience".

As for this year, I liked Doritos and "Keep your hands off my mom." Disappointed by the Bud Light ads this year, usually they're better. The Budweiser Clydesdale one also left much to be desired this year - all in all, a down year for SB commercials.

by Alex (not verified) :: Sun, 02/14/2010 - 7:06am

Hey fellas, thanks for describing some of the SB ads. I'm in Iraq, and not only do I have a 1991 era internet connection, AFN refuses to show the SB commercials. All in all, it sounds like I didn't miss much this time around.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 02/16/2010 - 12:56am

You missied nothing good with commericlas. All garbage