THE VAULT

Sports Monkey: Commercial Suicide
January 27, 2007 by Damien Atlas Sports Monkey

I hate commercials.Next week the Indianapolis Colts will face off against the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, and I couldn’t be more disappointed.

It’s not the match up that’s disappointing but what’s going to transpire during the television timeouts. You know what I’m talking about: Super Bowl commercials. The same mind-numbing, soul-destroying garbage flashing on our screens but with new packaging. It’s the same numb feeling you get watching Dane Cook gesticulating his way into a caricature of himself.

The Super Bowl has, for a long time, been the prime place for every company with a big enough wallet to make a huge splash. This is their shot at entering the lexicon of completely useless knowledge that will one day become a Trivial Pursuit card, stumping a twelve-year-old kid in 2020 and make him the laughingstock of some nerd herd. This is Simpson’s quote territory, down the street from the number of licks it took to get to the center of a tootsie pop universe.

No other television event has the ridiculously large audience that the big game guarantees, no matter how unappealing the two teams competing are. Ad agencies mess their freshly pressed shorts just thinking about the number of people watching their clever contributions to human civilization. Not necessarily useful or entertaining, but clever.

Clever: the last bastion for those desperate to impress.

This wouldn’t be a problem if the ad freaks weren’t encouraged by people who watch the Super Bowl just to see the commercials. Yes, they exist. It’s true. I’ve met them. Some have even been men, if you can feel comfortable calling them that. I’d like to at least pretend the level of consumer slavery necessary to subject yourself to four hours of television to see a few decent thirty-second commercials is the lone province of women.

Let me have my illusions.

I guess, to be honest, at least one of the teams playing does have a hand in my disappointment. Or at least one player does.

Peyton Manning, the star quarterback of the Colts, will pretty much, in my expert opinion, sell anything. In the last year he’s had commercials for Sprint, Mastercard, Gatorade, DirectTV, Reebok, Sony, and Tweeter Stores. I don’t even know what a tweeter is but it sounds like an STD.

“Did you guys hear? Peyton Manning’s got the tweeter.”

“Isn’t he married?”

You don’t even need to watch football to know who Peyton Manning is because he’s everywhere. I’ve seen so much of Manning this year that I was hoping he’d lose earlier in the playoffs so I wouldn’t have to see his face for a while. The more he wins the more it encourages corporations to put him in their commercials. While Manning’s had plenty of brilliant regular seasons, he hadn’t won a big postseason game in his entire career before this year.

I understand to the victor go the spoils, but if not winning the big game means you get to be in commercials for seven different companies, what does winning the Super Bowl get you? Will the Manning virus spread to the point where I can’t remember him ever wearing a football helmet? In twenty years, after he’s long retired, will he be selling Cialis and Viagra in alternating commercial breaks? Will a dangerous mix of the two drugs form a cocktail so potent that the speed of rushing blood to Manning’s nether-region result in his instant and bloody death?

Peyton Manning seems like a nice enough guy. I don’t wish pain or explosions on his nether-region. I just want him to stop being a part of every football game I watch. There’s only one more game left this season, but a Super Bowl win could put him into some sort of strange stratosphere reserved for permanent staples of television. He’ll be the Dick Clark of athletic commercials. Will we still be watching Peyton Manning commercials after he’s suffered a stroke in his elderly age and slurring his words like a drunken hooligan?

For his own good I hope Manning doesn’t win the Super Bowl. Whatever part of me that enjoys watching him doesn’t want to always picture him wearing a fake moustache and selling me Sprint cellphones after every touchdown. Having a few commercials is fine, but if at the end of the game I hear the words “I’m going to Disneyland” come out of his mouth he’s dead to me.

~Damien Atlas Sports Monkey