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Super Bowl of thoughts

You know who I feel sorry for?

Anyone who watches the Super Bowl for the halftime extravaganza.

It's not just that it is bad. It's bad on a XL scale.

Take this year, for example. Sure, all kinds of folks love the Rolling Stones - and they are right to. Before Keith Richards became a walking science project (you know, back when Mick Jagger weighed more than 85 lbs.), the Stones rocked.

But on the giant tongue and lips of a stage in Detroit - which did look very cool - the Stones looked old. And they sounded bad, although I don't know whether to blame the performers or the producers.

But it is not just Mick, Keith and company. For the last 15 years, the half-time show has been continually bad.

Why just the last 15 years? Well, when the Super Bowl started, the half time show belonged to various college bands and associated performers. (And, admittedly, there were sporadic performances from Up With People - enough to prove the halftime show may have been cursed from the beginning.)

But after Super Bowl 25, there was no turning back.

And I blame New Kids on the Block, appropriately enough.

Since then, performers like Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Travis Tritt, Aerosmith and others have spent time on the Super Stage. And to a performer, pretty much, they've shimmied, shook and turned out forgettable performances.

Maybe that's why the commercials have become so great.

This year, I missed most of the first half, but saw enough to pick out a few of my favorites. Monday morning commercial critics picked either the Budweiser Magic Fridge or the Budweiser Young Clydesdale as the top commercial of Super Bowl XL.

For my part, there were two others that also stood out. First, I laughed out loud at the Sprint "Crime Deterrent" commercial - especially the lawyer-penned warning at the end, which encourages viewers to not throw their phones at friends. Then, I enjoyed the "I'm goin' to Disneyworld!" practice commercial.

But - according to a Zogby poll of television viewers - none of those commercials were up to par with the greatest Super Bowl short ever. That spot belongs to No. 75 - "Mean Joe" Greene and the famous Coke commercial. Second place in the poll went to the "Bud-weis-er" bullfrogs.

Now that football season is officially over, The Mirror is officially ushering in the NASCAR season. (I know, Gene Walker is somewhere smiling right now, saying he knew I'd come around at some point.)

Next week, we're including a special 32-page edition of Inside Track, which will recap the 2005 season and look at the year ahead. After that, we'll continue our weekly page of NASCAR news.

As for me, I'm signed up for fantasy auto racing. And that's the real reason for next week's section: I need a cheat sheet.

Web posted on Thursday, February 9, 2006

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