Ed Driscoll

Fear and Loathing at the Nanny Bowl


What were they thinking last night?

After then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle invented the Super Bowl in the mid-1960s, the contours of the game slowly evolved over the years: the games themselves were often blow-outs (QED, such snooze fests as Super Bowl XX with the Bears and Patriots, and Super Bowl XXVII with the Cowboys and Bills), but the ads were lots of fun. With first cable and then the World Wide Web increasingly fracturing mass media, the Super Bowl is the only national sports event decided in one night; and outside of presidential elections, the one recurring media event an increasingly fractured America still shares. So starting with one of the first Super Bowl-only ads, the legendary Ridley Scott-directed 1984-inspired Apple advertisement to launch the Macintosh, Madison Avenue ad reps began to use the platform to have fun. Ad reps created brilliant demo reels for themselves, and buzz for the clients’ products, which sometimes, with a little luck, even translated into increased sales.

That formula began to grate a bit in the postmodern naughts, as a formula began to evolve that featured men as the butts of jokes, part of a larger trend in the media overculture that Glenn Reynolds and others were first commenting on well over a decade ago. But those seem like pretty carefree days compared to what we witnessed last night.

Despite having two of the least-liked teams in the NFL, the game itself on the field was quite watchable, the fourth quarter as good as any in the Super Bowl, with a nail-biting final two minutes, culminating in “The worst play call in Super Bowl history” by Pete Carroll, who will soon be hiring Michael Moore and Oliver Stone to determine why the play really failed. Thank God the on-field action was so compelling, because the ads were so unpalatable. By my rough count, there were at least two ads featuring people with no legs, one with a missing father, one with misogynistic anti-male crack from comedienne Sarah Silverman, and one ad bullying a ten year old boy because he said someone “plays like a girl.” (The horror.) And perhaps most infamously based on comments on Twitter and even the London Daily Mail, one dead ten year old boy, thanks to Nationwide. (And if you don’t approve of this understandable media gruel, you’re an Internet “hater” — says Coca-Cola?)

What were their ad reps thinking last night?

A friend of mine watching the game at my house last night, a fellow member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy bivouacked behind enemy lines in Deep Blue Socialist California, dubbed it “The Nanny Bowl.” He’s definitely on to something. As journalist Kevin P. Craver tweeted to me last night, “I fell into an alternate universe in which the party that loses the November election gets to write the Super Bowl ads.”

Rush Limbaugh has been talking for years about how hard the left has been trying to undermine football. Between the thuggish players making regular appearances on the crime blotter and domestic violence counseling sessions, Tom Brady pimping “Earth Hour” Al Gore-style from his zillion dollar mansion, the rumors of cheating by the Pats, the on-screen politicized halftime rants by Bob Costas and other socialist justice warriors, the veteran players who’ve transformed themselves into victims, and the offseason psychodramas of the SJW print sportswriters, the train wrecks are no longer reserved for the on-field collisions, but now overshadow the game itself.

I’m hoping last night was as much of a one-off anomaly, sort of the like the 2000 Super Bowl loaded with dot.com related ads just as the first iteration of the World Web was about to go bust later that year and the next. Last year, the New York Times, house organ of the SJWs, asked, “Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?” Perhaps with that sentiment in mind, the SJWs may have finally found a way to kill interest in the NFL, by making its final game of the season utterly unwatchable.

If such ads also wreck the reputations, and hence the sales of the companies who paid for them, hey, so much the better from their perspective.

Update: “Warren Sapp Arrested For Soliciting Prostitute” this morning, according to TMZ. “Sapp was in Phoenix covering the Super Bowl for the NFL Network.”

And you thought your hangover was bad today.

More: “Over 17 Thousand People Want NBC’s NASCAR Commercial Pulled” over its joke regarding gluten. (Insert nanny state scold Sandra Fluke tut-tutting “That’s Not Funny” here. Not to mention the clip of the Jimmy Kimmel Show asking its core bobo viewers, “What is Gluten?”)  But the ad features actor Nick Offerman playing his Ron Swanson character from the NBC series Parks & Recreation, a character specifically designed to mock conservatives and libertarians, in much the same fashion that actor Stephen Colbert was playing a character parodying Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. So it’s fun indeed to watch NBC be devoured by the PC left it spent the last 20 years courting.

Besides, why is global warming-obsessed NBC in bed with NASCAR anyhow? Don’t they know, as their own deep thinking leftwing philosopher Chris Hayes noted in 2013, such a sponsorship is equivalent to slavery?

Related: “The modern left’s ideology is one big Nationwide ad. Submit to our practices or your kids will die. Only our mandated health insurance will treat your Bain cancer or protect you from global warming,” Stephen Miller writes at his Wilderness blog on last night’s debacle. At least during the Depression, Hollywood and Madison Avenue managed to be cheerful when dishing out the pro-Democrat propaganda.

Meanwhile at MSNBC, “Lefty Sports Reporter Calls NFL ‘Brain Damage For Profit,’” as spotted by NewsBusters. Unlike Fox News and to a lesser extent CNN, since MSNBC rarely has a guest on whose opinion differs from the host interviewing him, it can be safely assumed that Melissa Harris-Perry agrees with her guest. As with Hayes and NASCAR, what’s stopping her from putting her money where her guest’s mouth is, and marching down the hall to the Comcast boardroom and demanding that (a) NBC immediately cancel Sunday Night Football and (b) Comcast no longer show any football — pro, college or high school? C’mon MSNBC, show some spine — stick it to the man!