I have been watching the Super Bowl since 1999 and it is only just about now that I have begun to make some sense out of it. For instance, I now know that an inflated bespectacled plum can get lusciously kissed by Israeli model and actress Bar Refaeli.
The Super Bowl XLVII last night was the first one in 14 years that I watched almost 65 percent of the time. It was the 35 percent that I did not watch which had the surge by the San Francisco 49ers who almost ran away with it from behind.
Before I say a thing or two about the game, a thing or two about the GoDaddy commercial. My first impression was that while for Refaeli the kiss looks like a novelty act, for the nerd it feels like redemption. He is really into it. Perhaps the picture that Refaeli conjured up in her mind while kissing was that of a succulent plum masquerading as Jesse Heiman (the real name of the actor playing the nerd).
The commercial has expectedly caused revulsion and jubilation depending on which side you are on. I am on the side of jubilation because what’s not to like about a woman devouring a plum?
Heiman told NBC’s Today show that they did 65 takes to get the kiss right. Of course, for him every take ought to be the right take because he was kissing Refaeli. According to Refaeli, Heiman is a very good kisser. It would be only poetic justice if Refaeli and Heiman started dating after the commercial. After Leonardo DiCaprio it would be quite a leap for her. My tabloid headline for this story would have been ‘Refaeli breaks Heiman.’
Back to the Super Bowl. The two words that I heard the most throughout the game were “scrimmage” and “linebacker”. The predominant sound during the game was something cracking, either a bone or a helmet or both. I am not even remotely qualified to judge what level of skill this kind of football requires but purely visually it seems to demand more of sheer muscle strength than anything else.
It is obvious though that the presence of 11 robust men in each team set for a head-on collision even as some of them try to go for a touchdown must require considerable athletic skills. Merely because I don’t understand the game, it does not mean that skills do not exist. I am responding to the game pretty much the way an American would respond to cricket—with amused dismissiveness.
It is remarkable how rough the game gets in terms of players pushing and shoving each other. It also seems quite common for players to grab the face mask. With their shoulder pads, helmets, chin straps, mouth guards and face masks NFL players look like futuristic warriors. If you tweaked the look slightly, they could pass off for riot police in a sci-fi movie. I am told that while NFL players guard many parts of their bodies, they do not particularly care about guarding the groin area. Most players do not wear a cup or the abdomen guard as they call it in cricket. Perhaps the most important reason they do not wear cups is because it obstructs their running.
Serious head injuries in football have long been a subject of national debate. Concussions are frequent and commonplace. Six feet plus men averaging between 250 and 300 pounds and crashing into each other is a recipe for serious injuries. Of course, NFL players have mastered the choreography of falling in a way that minimizes the impact but the fact remains that we are all made of easily breakable bones.
As an uninformed and not particularly engaged spectator of the game, it is not for me to hold forth on football. My predominant impression of the game after watching at least some part of it every year since 1999 is that it is mostly about players piling up and occasionally running.
The coolest part for me as a kind of nerd are all the graphics and markings displayed on the artificial turf and on the TV screen. It is also the number of camera angles that I find fascinating.