One of my football memories is watching wild celebrations in the Redskins locker room after one of their Super Bowl wins, when the camera panned around to number 65, soft-spoken defensive tackle Big Dave Butz (that's what they called him, Big Dave, because at the time he had the distinction of being the largest man playing in the NFL). Amid the hoopla, Dave sat there glum and unsmiling. "All I can think of," he said quietly (I'm paraphrasing), "is that I don't get to play football any more this season."
Always the problem with the Super Bowl. No more Great American Circus, no more inspiration from O.J. Brigance, no more Ray Lewis gassing on about God (that was getting pretty annoying, until I reflected that if God let me get away with two murders I might be grateful to Him too), no more acrobatics from Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin, who is open even when he's not. And a big paycheck for Joe Flacco, valued as a player at last. The Ravens were this year's Team of Destiny.
It was a good year for football, too. Props to Colin Kaepernick, in only his tenth NFL start. As if he finally realized the stage was too big for his experience, we watched the wheels starting to come off...and then he got them back on again, which doesn't happen very often. Of course, he had a little help—early in the second half, deep in the bowels of the Superdome, Joe Montana was seen touching two wires together, chuckling.
And last night, I swear to God, I dreamed of driving that new Mercedes Clean-Lube-Adjust, and no, I am not kidding. I am highly embarrassed on behalf of my subconscious—if it could blush, it would. (In my dream, it didn't drive very well. Although in fairness, for part of the dream I was not driving on dry roads but through what appeared to be canals).
Worst commercial: the bizarre supermodel humiliation commercial by GoDaddy. Runner up: Budweiser Black whatever-it-was. Umpteen million dollars a minute and the best they can come up with is a guy raising a glass and saying "Here's to taste"? Fire that agency.
Best commercial: has to go to Mercedes, given my dream—although they totally blew the reveal. I'd seen the commercial five times before Sunday. Kinda made all those teaser commercials early in the day seem pointless. Runner up: the cool farmer pictures in the ad about the farmers—anyone know whose photographs they were? Brought Paul Mobley to mind for me, but I don't know. And since you do not want to pull my pin on the subject of American agribusiness, or hear my detailed and absolutely airtight argument proving that Aaron Rodgers is still the best quarterback in football, I will now graciously shut up.
Hmm, turns out I won't shut up. (Hey, I'm a blogger. What do you expect?)
If you can indulge a local note, also over is the career of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, who announced his retirement last Thursday (despite an offer from the Vikings...ahem, Favre). Driver, arguably the most popular man in Wisconsin—if not, darn close—was a Packer for his entire 14-year-career. He is the team's all-time leader in both receiving yards (10,137) and number of catches (743). I also have a hazy awareness that he has something to do with dancing, although I can't tell you about that. Driver missed only four games in his NFL career. He's the second-best WR I've ever watched, after Art Monk.
The outstanding sports portrait is by Wisconsin photographer Tom Lynn, a longtime Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel photojournalist now doing freelance. It really captures its subject, in more ways than one. For more of Tom's sports photos, see here.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
A book of interest today:
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
latent_image: "Nothing in this post made any sense to me. It's as though a wrong switch was closed in your brain and everything came out gibberish...Please come back to normal, Mike."
Mike replies: What the post is saying is that I don't have much choice but to come back to normal.
Marc Rochkind: "The unusual game also had two plays that greatly helped in the ongoing football education of my partner, plays that I've theorized about to her but have only rarely witnessed: 1) the fake field goal, and 2) the intentional safety, brilliantly executed as the punter ran seven seconds off the clock while drifting towards the sideline, guaranteeing that no matter what he wouldn't fumble into the end zone. I can remember seeing only one other intentional safety in my life, decades ago. They're very rare. By contrast, the play calling by San Francisco on their last possession was atrocious."
Frank (partial comment—to see all of Frank's comment, please see the Comments Section below): "According to AdWeek, the farmer spot was Number One, 'thanks to Paul Harvey's spellbinding "God Made a Farmer" recording and the gorgeous work of 10 great photographers, including National Geographic icon William Albert Allard and renowned documentarian Kurt Markus. Yes, it's similar to a popular Farms.com video....' I am a fan of Kurt Markus and Allard is no slouch either.
Francisco Cubas (partial comment): "I also liked the farmer commercial and I think I can guess what you didn't say: those farmers are mostly gone, done by big agribusiness. Those good pictures reminded me of the natives of Curtis: not a real subject, but an idea."
Dan Smith: "I don't have a TV so don't watch the game or commercials. But, in North Dakota big corporations do not own farms. Family farms here—though they can incorporate for tax purposes—are still family owned and operated. North Dakota is #1 in eight major farm crops and top ten in 20. Farming money is 70% of the State economy, even with the big oil strike in the Western part of the State. Farm photography is enjoyable. Combines in green and red and blue and costing a half million each—we are loaded with them. Big 12-wheel articulated all-wheel-drive tractors, we have a lot of them. Farm implement dealers much bigger than car and truck dealers in this State. A great place for farm and ranch photography."
Tex Andrews (partial comment): "Disagree: The Ray Lewis murder thing. Let that go. The 'justice system' did its work. Here in Bawlamer we got tons of coverage on that to read when it happened. The prosecution had no definitive evidence at all on that one, just confusing circumstantial evidence. If I'd been Ray, I'd have gone to trial on it. Was he an idiot to be at that club and hanging out with those cats? Oh, mos def. Did he behave like an idiot immediately afterwards? Absolutely, criminal idiocy. That doesn't make the guy a murderer. [...] Give me a break, they had nothin'."
CKDexterHaven (partial comment): "I laughed out loud at the 'here's to taste' line. Unbelievably bad. I'm in advertising (sometimes), and have written only one produced commercial, but I know that line never would have survived even Draft One of anything my agency would have come up with. Not even in a spitballing session. Yes, fire that agency."
Dillan: "The Tom Lynn photo in your addendum is really wonderful. He captured so much with one frame. That's what photography is all about."