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Brian Murphy’s Super Bowl LI talking points




For the 51st time in this great nation’s history, we will gather en masse to worship at the altar of mass materialism, overt violence and championship football.

It’s Super Bowl weekend, sports fans.

Let’s address the hot button talking points, Jock Blog-style.

LADY GAGA’S HALFTIME SHOW EXPECTATIONS: I think this sister can sing her head off, as proven by her ridiculously high-level work with the immortal octogenarian Tony Bennett. In fact, two New York City natives have not combined to produce such masterful work since Scorsese and DeNiro collaborated on “Raging Bull”, or when Sandy Koufax once listened to an Ace Frehley solo album.

(Fact Check: I have no idea if Sandy Koufax ever listened to an Ace Frehley solo album. I just know that they were both born in New York City, and have to keep this Jock Blog moving.)

At any rate, it seems Gaga’s talent is not resulting in massive expectations for her halftime show. If buzz was revving at about a ‘9’ for Beyonce at Super Bowl 47, and at about a ‘7’ for Katy Perry at Super Bowl 49, Gaga is revving at about a ‘4’ or ‘5’ right now. Nobody’s fired up for Gaga, it appears.

It’s not Gaga’s fault. I blame international distractions on our Twitter timelines, and a general SB Halftime fatigue. After all, Bruno Mars has done two of the last three. Little dude is talented, but how about taking a break, kid? Look on the bright side. Those of us north of 45 years old still remember Up With People’s python-like stranglehold on SB halftimes from the 1970s and 1980s, and will happily look forward to a few well-held notes from the little Italian girl from the Big Apple.

NOBODY IS ROOTING FOR THE PATRIOTS: Seriously. Other than a cadre of Northeastern lunatics who wear David Ortiz jerseys in the summer, and Tommy Brady jerseys in the winter, the country is tired of New England in the Bowl.

It’s their seventh time in the last 15 years, ninth overall. No team has ever reached nine Super Bowls. Dallas, Pittsburgh and Denver have reached eight. The 49ers have reached six. The Raiders have reached five.

Moreover, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have reached seven as coach and QB together. That’s remarkable and should be applauded mightily. Instead, if you pronounce the letter “R”, you are likely part of an anti-Belichick, anti-Brady army.

Why is this? Many reasons. Some see Belichick as a cheater, after SpyGate. Some see Brady as a cheater, after DeflateGate. Some are wildly jealous of Brady’s incredible life, filled with untold wealth and the ability to Netflix and chill with one of the world’s most beautiful women.

The essence of America is to appreciate success. After all, the American Dream is not to come to these shores and fail spectacularly. The Patriots should be seen as supreme competitors over a long period of time, forever pursuing excellence.

Instead, everybody hates them.


Even though Matt Ryan is the likely NFL MVP, and even though Julio Jones is a jaw-dropping talent, and even though offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has 49ers fans watching his every play call, the Atlanta Falcons are one of the most inescapably boring franchises in American sports.

While most of us will be rooting for the Falcons, we will do so knowing their fan base is sub-average in both numbers and passion, that the team plays in an antiseptic dome in a mostly faceless city, and that of 51 Super Bowls, the Falcons have only reached this stage twice. It’s tough to rally to the side of the Atlanta Falcons on a base level of emotion, kids.


HAVE THE COMMERCIALS LOST THEIR LUSTER?: No doubt, commercial-making is at a creatively high level. My 9-year-old and 5-year-old get more excited for the 30-second narratives  from Chik-Fil-A and Southwest Airlines pumping out between sporting events than they do for the games themselves. And let’s face it, we all enjoyed the tale of Fenwick, until it got overplayed.

Then again, they’re 9 and 5 years old, so . . .

I fear the heyday of the Super Bowl commercial as talking point has faded, mostly because the millennial crowd does not do commercials. The youngsters now binge watch, or stream, or cord cut, and have little time, patience or attention span for commercials.

Where is today’s Mean Joe Greene chucking a jersey to a kid? Where are today’s Budweiser frogs? Where is today’s Orwellian Macintosh ad?

Don’t ask the twentysomethings. They ain’t watching.

FOOD, FOOTBALL, FRIENDS: Don’t mean to bring y’all down!

It’s Super Bowl 51! We’re Americans! Crack a beer! Eat some nachos! Call your bookie!

And enjoy the game.