Best Super Bowl XLII moment? My vote goes to Eli Manning, standing atop the Lombardi podium and sporting a grossly oversized championship T-shirt over his uniform, defiant in his doofy-ness to the last second. Of course, the commercials offered a few highlights, too -- though not as many as we always seem to expect. My favorites, in no particular order:
NFL SuperAd: By far the best comic delivery by a guy we previously thought to be an emotionless, boring robot: Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck explains, "That's when I knew I had not arrived ...yet," in the better of two NFL spots.
Audi R8:Old Luxury Just Got Put On Notice -- Loved the Godfather reference, though I'm not quite sure what the message is here. "Buy an R8 or we'll put a greasy car part in your bed?" I should try harder not to think during ads.
Bridgestone:Screaming Squirrel -- Nobody likes talking animals (or talking babies; note to E*Trade). Screaming animals still give me a chuckle, however.
FedEx:Carrier Pigeons -- It's pretty unclear where the Mothra-sized pigeons that manage to pick up and hurl cars came from, but other than that ...
Tide:Silence the Stain -- An interviewee's coffee stain becomes distracting and spews gibberish, drowning out its owner's schpiel. (Go ahead; try explaining it better). Reminiscent of -- and just as funny as -- Jim Carrey's mush-mouthed, incoherent scene-stealer in Liar, Liar from 11 years ago. (Ironic? FOX cut to Carrey at University of Phoenix Stadium literally 30 seconds later.)
Careerbuilder.com:Follow Your Heart -- A receptionist's heart literally jumps from her chest, hops into her boss's office and declares I QUIT -- on a sign pained in blood, no less. Really terrifying, gag-inducing stuff considering the amount of pizza, bean dip, guacamole and beer I had devoured at this point in the game, but clever enough.
Planters:Instinctively Good -- A less-than-attractive girl attracts throngs of adoring members of the opposite sex thanks to the alluring power of her cashew "perfume." Nice spin on an Axe body spray commercial, as opposed to the Dell commercial that ran earlier in the game, which simply ripped off an Axe commercial.
T-Mobile:Chuck and Dwyane's Fave Five -- I'd feel a lot better about this spot if I knew Frank Caliendo had written Charles Barkley's lines. Barkley seems like he's doing an exaggerated Charles Barkley impression these days. (Speaking of Caliendo, there goes FOX pimping another one of its stars sitting in the stands.)
Doritos:Mousetrap -- I can't remember what I was eating at the time that this ad ran (the gist: man places Doritos in mousetrap; man-sized rodent tackles man), but food particles certainly escaped via my nasal passage due to laughter. Not violently, but kind of in an embarrassing little food-snot, followed by an acknowledging nod, like, "Yeah, I know; it wasn't that funny. Please forgive me."
Coca-Cola Classic:Frist and Carville Jinxed -- The Super Bowl always seems to produce one of these "Isn't it cute how well these two polar opposites get along with the help of such-and-such product?" type commercials. Loved this one, but I'm not so sure that more than 25% of America got the joke. Sometimes -- just sometimes -- you overestimate your audience, TV people.
Finally, so many things were right about my hands-down favorite, which had gigantic Underdog and Stewie Griffin balloons scrapping over a gigantic Coca-Cola Classic, also in balloon form, in the middle of New York City. Simple premise. Iconic images all around. Amazing CGI (I presume) effects. And Charlie Brown finally wins after all these years. (Was that supposed to be Lucy holding the football? I dunno.) Too bad Chuck Schulz wasn't around for this one.