Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Super Bowl moments

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Just one more sleep until Super Bowl XLVIII -- which is 48 in gladiator speak -- and you football fans know what that means.

It means you and your friends will be jammed cheek to jowl in front of a big-screen TV at a fun Super Bowl house party.

It goes without saying this party will not be taking place at YOUR house, because -- let's face it -- you are not the sort of idiot who wants an army of friends hiding chicken wings between your sofa cushions or dribbling a gallon of guacamole on your new carpet.

Your main activity at this fun party will be staring at the TV with laser-like concentration to analyze every play as the NFL's No. 1 offence, the Denver Broncos, tackles the NFL's No. 1 defence, the Seattle Seahawks.

We are, of course, just kidding. Like most sane fans, you are going to be focused on the Super Bowl commercials, which this year cost $4 million for a 30-second spot and a jaw-dropping $8 million for a full 60 seconds.

In between the commercials, you are going to want to impress all the other armchair quarterbacks with your vast knowledge of Super Bowl History, meaning you will need an informative and educational guide to the big game.

Unfortunately, we don't have time to do that, so here instead is a look at our Five Favourite Super Bowl Moments:


5) The Game -- Super Bowl XLVII in 2013

The Super Moment -- "Scotty, we need more power!"

The play-by-play -- We were talking to kids in a city school this week, and one of them groused: "Who cares about the Super Bowl?" Who cares? People with TVs care. According to Nielsen ratings, the Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers on CBS was the most-watched program of 2013, with nearly 109 million viewers. The No. 2 show of the entire year? It was the blackout that occurred early in the third quarter when the power unexpectedly went out in the New Orleans Superdome. According to Nielsen, more than 106 million viewers sat there and watched 34 minutes of CBS analysts gazing at their navels, which was officially classified as "Super Bowl XLVII-Delay." What caused the blackout? No, it wasn't Beyoncé's halftime show. Ironically, it was caused by a device, a relay, specifically installed to prevent a blackout. Ravens players, however, have blamed a conspiracy involving NFL boss Roger Goodell. Where were you when the power went out? You were in front of your TV!


4) The Game -- Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004

The Super Moment -- "Nipplegate"

The play-by-play -- What do you remember about the game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers. You remember one thing -- the moment during the halftime show when Justin Timberlake ripped open the front of Janet Jackson's black-leather ensemble, thereby exposing one of her breasts, adorned with a nipple shield, for approximately half a second. Timberlake later blamed the "accident" on a "wardrobe malfunction," thereby coining a phrase that has become part of pop-culture lore. How big a deal was the boob flash heard around the world. Among other things, it led to stricter broadcast regulations (live TV events are now aired with a 10-second delay), an act of Congress (the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005), the cancellation of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (Sniff!), and a $550,000 fine levied against CBS by the FCC, a penalty later voided by the courts. And YouTube creator Jawed Karim has said the incident led to the creation of the video-sharing website. The malfunction became the most searched event and image in Internet history. Our question: What's wrong with you people?


3) The Game -- Super Bowl XVIII in 1984

The Super Moment -- "The First Mac Daddy"

The play-by-play -- With apologies to Coke, Mean Joe Green, and Budweiser's frogs and Clydesdales, when it comes to Super Bowl ads, there's only one No. 1. And that would be Apple's iconic 1984 commercial, directed by sci-fi legend Ridley Scott, which introduced the famed Macintosh personal computer 30 years ago. It's the spot against which all other Super Bowl ads are measured. In a nutshell, it shows a monochromatic future in which expressionless humans are assembled before a giant screen on which a Big Brother-like head is giving a speech about conformity. In the midst of the grey, a young blonde woman in running shorts and a Mac T-shirt sprints through a tunnel carrying a large sledgehammer. Chased by four members of the Thought Police, the nameless runner hurls the hammer at the screen just as Big Brother boasts, "We shall prevail!" As the screen explodes, a voice-of-God narrator declares: "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984." Did it work? If you're reading this on a computer, you know the answer.


2) The Game -- Super Bowl III in 1969

The Super Moment -- "Promises, Promises!"

The play-by-play -- The New York Jets weren't just supposed to lose 45 years ago; they were supposed to be crushed by the mighty Baltimore Colts. But Broadway Joe Namath had other ideas. Three days before the big game, the quarterback who made white football cleats famous appeared at the Miami Touchdown Club and brashly guaranteed a victory, even though his AFL champion squad was 18-point underdogs to the NFL champs. True to his word, Joe led the Jets to the greatest upset in Super Bowl history -- a 16-7 win over the Colts. The playboy QB completed 17 of 28 passes and was named the game's MVP. As he jogged off the field, TV cameras captured Joe raising his index finger to the sky, telling the world the Jets, who have never made it back to the big game, were No. 1. Without Broadway Joe's bravado, the Super Bowl wouldn't be what it is now -- the biggest circus in sports.


1) The Game -- Super Bowl I in 1967

The Super Moment -- "The Ballad of Max McGee"

The play-by-play -- Having caught only four passes during the entire season, the aging Green Bay Packers backup receiver knew in his heart he wouldn't get to play against the Kansas City Chiefs. Head coach Vince Lombardi had raised the fine for breaking curfew to $10,000, but Max snuck out of the hotel and spent the night drinking and partying. Then, three plays into the game -- YIKES! -- the starter got injured and Max, suffering from a monumental hangover, was thrown into the game. He had to borrow a teammate's helmet because, reportedly, he forgot to bring his own out of the locker room. By game's end, a hungover Max had snared seven receptions for two touchdowns, including the first ever scored in a Super Bowl. Stubborn to the end, Max, ignoring strict orders from his wife, climbed onto his roof in Minnesota in 2007 to clean it with a leaf blower and died after a fall.

In Max's memory, let's all hoist a beer, of which the Nielsen Co. says 51.7 million cases will be sold to fans on Super Sunday. Max would have wanted you to know that.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 1, 2014 0

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