The Unbearable Lightness of Being Bob Costas
December 05, 2012
Why is Bob Costas holding back on gun control? Because that's who Bob Costas is.
The Man Who Shaped the Way We Watch Football on TV
November 03, 2012
Some years ago, I got a call from NFL Films, from a man named Steve Sabol. Yes, he realized I was English by birth and might not know much about American football. So I explained to him that I had arrived in San Francisco in September 1981 at the start of the season in which the 49ers won their first Super Bowl—their first of five. Mr. Sabol was encouraged, but he had called me because he’d read some writing about movies that I had done. I believe I had compared Joe Montana and Gary Cooper in the way they gazed at space. That was his kind of dream.
Karl Rove Wants His Message Back
February 07, 2012
As a friend of mine* once said, quotes from Karl Rove aren’t important for what they say. They are important for what they reveal. Rove’s statements about Sunday’s Super Bowl ad from Chrysler are a case in point. By now, you’ve probably seen or heard about the ad, which Chrysler calls “Halftime in America.” It stars Clint Eastwood, narrating the story of Detroit's comeback and turning it into a metaphor for America.
The Internet Intellectual
October 12, 2011
Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live By Jeff Jarvis (Simon & Schuster, 263 pp., $26.99) In 1975, Malcolm Bradbury published The History Man, a piercing satire of the narcissistic pseudo-intellectualism of modern academia. The novel recounts a year in the life of the young radical sociologist Howard Kirk—“a theoretician of sociability”—who is working on a book called The Defeat of Privacy.
While the end of the National Football League’s labor hostilities was met with cheers this week from sideline to American sideline, my thoughts turned to Dave Duerson’s family. Duerson played 11 NFL seasons as a safety—the sport’s most wide-ranging, hard-hitting defensive position—and was part of Super Bowl-winning teams with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants. In February, after reportedly complaining for months of neurological torments—splitting headaches, mood swings, memory loss—Duerson committed suicide at age 50.
Metropolitan Boston ... #winning
June 17, 2011
with Carey Anne Nadeau With the Bruins’ defeat of riot-prone Canucks (who’d have thought?) Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston area has now laid claim to a championship in each major American sports league (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB) within the last seven years. The New England Patriots won their last Super Bowl in 2005; the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2007; and the Boston Celtics won the NBA title in 2008. Our analysis confirms that, indeed, Boston is the first metro area to achieve the distinction of having held all four major sports titles within such a sho
Groupon’s Super Bowl Ads Weren’t Offensive
February 08, 2011
Groupon’s humor has always been somewhat edgy, as I’ve noted before. But many people think that the company, which offers daily online discounts to various businesses in subscribers’ local area, went too far with their Super Bowl ads.
The Auto Company As Public Entity
February 06, 2011
I realize that this two-minute Super Bowl spot is mostly Chrysler's attempt to use Detroit to brand itself and sell cars. But I think there's more to it -- a genuine attempt by the company to defend the city where it is based. As a native of the area I was actually a little moved watching this: Eminem is featured in the spot. I remember years ago, Ann Arbor native Bob Seger, who I believe did not do advertising, used his song "Like A Rock" in a truck commercial.
The Jets Go Hollywood
September 13, 2010
The Jets begin this season as a Super Bowl favorite. That in itself is unusual. But there is something even more unusual taking place, something that rarely happens in the world of sports: The team appears to be in the process of upending its identity as a secondary attraction in its own city. As a longtime Jets fan, I know this is supposed to make me thrilled. But the truth is, I feel a bit uneasy. Sportswriters commonly mischaracterize the identity of the Jets, labeling them perennial losers, disappointments, or underdogs. But this isn’t really accurate.
The Pathos Of The Soccer Fan
June 11, 2010
Daniel Gross writes the most sympathetic testimony I've seen from an American soccer fan. The usual American soccer manifesto consists of bluster about soccer as the sport of the future because lots of American children play it (the same logic would suggest apple juice is the drink of the future) or optimistic predictions about "huge" T.V.