Manning brothers rejoice while viewers squirm over insulting commercials

Feb 5, 2008 5:12 AM

The sight of Peyton, the elder, standing alone in a skybox as his young brother Eli mounted the Super Bowl rostrum on the happiest day of his life, was a fitting end to a dramatic, bitterly-fought football game.

Eli the shunned, Eli the blamed, Eli the booed, early in the season, not only denying the Patriots an undefeated year, but playing the cool-under-fire role previously reserved in professional football for his Super Bowl foe, Tom Brady.

Brady had a bad day, but the Giants were the ones who caused it. He took a physical beating all evening, had his timing destroyed, his targets covered. The New York Giants won the Super Bowl on ironclad defense, and the tape will be studied by coaches and players for years to come.

As for Peyton Manning, he had his moment of Super Bowl glory a year ago with the Colts, and Eli, in winning Sunday night, completed a remarkable double: two brothers quarterbacking Super Bowl winners in two consecutive years.

This one lived up to its ballyhoo, even if its halftime entertainment and television commercials did not.

I may be the only nerd on earth who didn’t have a clue as to who Tom Petty was, but his frenetic antics and thundering herd of freed fanatics gesticulating wildly did nothing but provide a fine opportunity to grab a sandwich and hit the head. All I remember of the lyrics is "Hey Baby, there ain’t no way out, I won’t back down," and there wasn’t, except to listen to and watch the stereotyped analysis format of the Four Horsemen of the AFoxalypse.

I did not take up the tube’s invitation to review the commercials after the game, because I had more than enough of them to last me a full year by the time Plaxico Burress pulled in the winning touchdown.

Is there anyone out there besides me who has made a pact never to buy a product that presents puerile pablum that insults the intelligence? Do ad agencies and their clients really believe that the entire country and its consuming public have a Fred Flintstone mentality?

I resented the caveman gibberish of the rockers used to try to sell me Bud Light. I despised the children’s toys approach of Zantac. I puzzled at the staged horserace hustling vitamin water. I fumed over the childish images of Disney Pixar. And I loathed the talking baby of E-Trade.

I wouldn’t accept a lifetime supply of Life Water after seeing their repulsive dancing lizards. I was incredulous at the juvenile humor of using Planter peanuts as perfume. I sympathized with the inanity of Doritos and mousetraps being paired, and I despaired at the doubling of violence and humor in Pepsi spots.

I need someone to write and explain what all those whirling gears and spinning cylinders had to do with the Daytona 500, and where the slobs eating Portobello mushrooms whatever washed their piggish faces and hands.

The Obama commercials did not bother me, but I’m hardly objective on that score. Their sudden appearance struck me as a bit obtrusive, but if that’s where he wants to spend his money, so be it.

Did I like any of the commercials? I sure did.

The Coca Cola commercial using the Macy parade balloon idea not only was clever, but artfully executed using computer technology.

Stan’s Serenade for Best of Show came near the very end.

If you left early — not too likely — you not only missed the end of a dramatic football game, but you missed the best copywriter’s lines of the night.

A sexy, sultry model fondling a football and casting lustful glances at those watching, toys disinterestedly with the ball while a graphic reads, "We would like to remind you this game is almost over."

And then the punchline, as the model tosses the football aside, alive with anticipation and emotion, and the graphic reads:

"Let the Real Games Begin."

That completed a perfect day, since I backed the Giants, felt warmly satisfied by their deserved victory, and exulted in the persistence and rise to stardom of Eli Manning.

So now to settle back and rerun the "Let the Real Games Begin" commercial.

I’ll do it with a Coca Cola in hand, thankful for Coke’s imaginative balloon bit, and for the sponsor of my favorite Super Bowl commercial. The true test of a great commercial is that you never forget the sponsor.

Let’s all be thankful for Victoria’s Secret.