back to article What a terrible result from this year's Super Bowl. Can you believe it? Awful. Yes, we're talking about the tech ads

It all looked so good. A stunning third quarter in Sunday’s Super Bowl left the San Francisco 49ers looking like dead certs for the armored rugby trophy. And then it all fell apart: the Niners pulled a WeWork, and got crushed like an orange in a Juicero by the Kansas City Chiefs. To add insult to injury, the technology giants …

  1. earl grey

    did not watch

    did not miss

    1. Mark 85

      Re: did not watch

      I'd say the "Fail" icon is inappropriate. From where I sit, not watching is a success. Many people I know watch the game only for the commercials, for some reason which makes me question their mental health.

      Nope.. I didn't watch either. It would be pretty tough as a) I don't own a TV, and b) I don't do streaming on my computer. I guess I'm just some sort of sad luddite.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: did not watch

        Well, I own a TV and I watch, on occasion, commercial channels (though not the Superbowl).

        And I look forward to the commercials immensely; as a chance to go and have a pee, make a cuppa, see if there are any biscuits left...

        Like Mark, I wonder about the mental health of anyone who would watch TV looking forwards to the adverts (though to be fair, this is American TV of which we speak, which is, from a right-pondian viewpoint, pretty bloody dire).

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: did not watch

      I thought the superbowl game itself was one of the better ones.

      Mostly I ignored the ads. the only one worth watching was the 'Groundhog Day' one featuring an aged Bill Murray reprising his role in the uber-funny movie, driving a particular brand of car (which as I recall was ALSO in the original movie, at least at some point)

      Some people watch for the ads. Some ads are funny, including a running joke about a guy with a stain on his shirt that showed up (with a basket of laundry and a particular detergent) as a cameo role within several OTHER commercials like a Monty Python running gag. There was also another one where a company with many products had their product icons doing things related to the products they represent in a humorous way, all at the same time, many being products that have actually been around since the 1960's (so the images representing those products were all very well known).

      But yeah the tech ads - they seemed WAY too agenda-driven for my taste. I hope the return on those ads is SO PATHETIC that "they" NEVER try that kind of crap AGAIN...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: did not watch

        Limey here - loved the "armoured rugby" dig at American football. Not that I'm into sports anyway.*

        Some adverts can be quite entertaining, any one remember the meerkat adverts with the IT meerkat leaving his job to be a clown in a circus because he wanted a job with dignity.

        * apart from watching Sumo wrestling a few years ago - that was weird.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: did not watch

          Nothing wrong with Sumo, I loved watching the January tournament.

          You might not think it at first, but those guys are proper athletes and as nimble as fuck. Wouldn't want to mess with them, no siree.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: did not watch

            I think there's some similarities between Sumo and American football. At least from my poor understanding of technical discussions about what the big guys on the line of scrimmage (front row) get up to. If you're on the offensive line blocking the naughty people trying to jump on your quarterback's head, or if you're on defence trying to push past them in order to get at said QB - it's about getting up from your crouch faster than them and getting your hands in position to block them before theirs are in position to do it to you. Hand speed and positioning is And then it's about using your bodyweight, strength, speed and leverage to control that contact - and it's all over in a few seconds - ready to do it all again on the next play.

            They also all eat big dinners...

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: did not watch

        "the only one worth watching was the 'Groundhog Day' one"

        Plus the car advert with what's-her-name from Game of Thrones driving around like she's just one-shot a dozen espressos and belting out that Disney ice princess song...

        It amused me, but I can't tell you what sort of car it was advertising, other than "big".

    3. Tom 38

      Re: did not watch

      I watched it on the BBC, which did it the entire game with no ad breaks (well, it is the BBC...) Every time that the host network (Fox?) would cut to commercial, we'd have a few minutes of analysis and exposition.

      I quite enjoyed it. I'd tried to watch one of the championship games on Sky, which have ad breaks whenever the US have ad breaks, and found it just boring, more ads than sport.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: did not watch

        I watched it at my brother and sister-in-law's place. Margaritas, snacks, port, more snacks, margaritas again, some emergency coffee when the 1am tiredness kicked in...

        But the NFL network failed after about 5 minutes, so we were forced to watch it on the Beeb too. Not that the NFL have bothered to apologise, or even admit it, but it looks like they had a global streaming failure for most of the game.

        However sister-in-law being from the US does like the ads, and was rather annoyed to miss them. To be fair, when I used to subscribe to NFL Gamepass (which is pretty good value) some of the ads were fun. At least advertisers actually make an effort to be entertaining. Except the truck ones for some reason - where it's just massive Ford pick-up, bloke in boots and checked shirt doing outdoorsy things, then belting child into car seat to show his sensitive side - then drives through more mud / river. All to the sound of the most gravelly voiced announcer they can find.

        I did learn a new phrase from one of the US pundits on the Beeb. On suggesting that a team shouldn't change a winning strategy halfway through a game, he said, "you gotta keep dancing with the horse that brung you."

        Discos must be very different over there...

        1. Fortycoats

          Re: did not watch

          NFL GamePass did have a global failure. For about 10 minutes in the 1st quarter, and then for the last half hour (about 3 minutes of game time). Just as the Chiefs took the lead it went TITSUP.

          Paying customers around the world were not amused.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: did not watch

            We couldn’t log back in, when we tried during a few ad breaks. Or at half time. Or even at 9 that morning.

          2. DiViDeD

            Re: did not watch

            GamePass did have a global failure. ... and then for the last half hour (about 3 minutes of game time)

            Please tell me that's a typo. THREE MINUTES of actual gameplay in HALF AN HOUR??

            What do they do for the other 27 minutes? Change ends very slowly?

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: did not watch


              See my other post somewhere on here about the different highlights available. But the set the NFL do where only times when the ball is actually in motion are shown lasts about 25 minutes. There being 60 minutes on the game clock, but the clock doesn't alwasy stop between plays - and you have a 20 second timer before you have to snap the ball and start the next play.

              In the last 2 minutes of a half you have the 2 minute warning - which is basically a mandatory advert break - in case things are getting too exciting. Plus each team has 3 time outs - which stop the clock and give them a chance to get together for a quick chat - and these are often saved for the end of the half - when time is most important. So the 49ers used all three of theirs in the last couple of minutes, trying to stop the Chiefs from running down the clock, leaving them no time to score twice as they needed. Time outs allow the players to chat and the TV companies to sell more adverts. And give viewers vital snack preparation time.

              You also get delays when the ball changes hands - because you don't so much change ends, as change teams. Each American footie team being made up of an Offense, a Defense and a Special Team - all of 11 players. Plus backups and tactical replacements. An NFL squad is a maximum of 53 players.

      2. RockBurner

        Re: did not watch

        Watched it on BBC catchup - fast forward the punditry and enjoyed the entire game in about 2 and half hours. :)

        1. Sixtysix

          Re: did not watch

          Yeah, the "fun" from Osi and even Jay Bell gets olld really fast - like within the first minute.

          The BBC coverage REALLY SUX. Way too much time spent listening to drivel from their "celebs", Way too much time spent on analsis that the play by play and color (sorry - they are USA commentators) ALREADY did a good job explaining... and WAY too little actual football. Also: way too much time given overly simplified explainations of rules and calls: all that needs to be in a "beginners show" not in the ONLY coverage we get to watch.

          And don't get me started on featuring the same games in both broadcasts - WTAF? Half-hearted coverage at best.

          Next year I'm buying Game-Pass and putting up two fingers to Auntie.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: did not watch

            "Way too much time spent on analsis....and WAY too little actual football."

            Isn't that just a "normal" US sports event? As a non-combatant, I find American Football more akin to chess (maybe Battle Chess), than actual sport.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: did not watch

        Not wanting to stay up to 3am with work the next day, I hoped to avoid hearing who won and watch it at leisure on catch-up Monday evening. I've done that successfully in past years but this time the BBC decided to splash the result on their main news page on Monday morning - not even a spoiler alert like they do with 'Strictly' (not that I watch that). They could at least have restricted it to the Sports page which I would have known to avoid for the day.

        1. JClouseau

          Re: did not watch

          Even worse, I avoided the sports page on my usual news sites, only to "catch" -or better said get caught by- the title about The Donald congratulating Kansas for the Chiefs' victory. "Trump, "congratulate","wrong state", and bam!

          Still watched the replay (oh the joy of being able to fast forward through the dreadful half-time show) (although I must say Shakira...) (but I digress) and to be honest until 10" before the end I thought I'd read it wrong. Very entertaining game. Not as much as Le Crunch, but entertaining ;-)

          And to be fair with the Agent Orange, I keep forgetting K.C. is NOT in Kansas...

  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    "Around 100 million people tuned into Super Bowl LIV"

    That's many fewer than I'd have guessed

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Around 100 million people tuned into Super Bowl LIV"

      I was used to watch it... but now here NFL rights went to another streaming service different from the satellite one which I got to watch tennis (and tennis season is much longer), so I didn't see any reason to subscribe to another service just to watch five months of NFL. Moreover all the family follows tennis, American football would be only watched by me.

      I believe the more fragmented the offer becomes, and thereby more expensive, the less viewers they will have.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "Around 100 million people tuned into Super Bowl LIV"

        "I believe the more fragmented the offer becomes, and thereby more expensive, the less viewers they will have."

        Yes. Recent new launches of streaming services and others about to arrive from "big names" is only going to dilute the audience. There will be many people who simply can't afford to subscribe to them all. Unless the "exclusives" eventually make it to other broadcasters or streamers then I suspect this balkanisation of TV will encourage "piracy", not reduce it.

    2. O RLY

      Re: "Around 100 million people tuned into Super Bowl LIV"

      I suspect the 100 million count is USA viewers, but I couldn't find anything specific for global viewership. Saw some estimates of 50-60 million outside the US. Not quite what, say, the World Cup final gets.

  3. Sebastian.Q.Ostragoth

    5g will connect emergency workers to hospitals?

    Ok here's one for us old farts... Hands up if you remember watching "Emergency" I think it was on the toob? Which as I recall featured medical staff at a hospital feeding advice to the (apparently woefully untrained) ambos over a radio. Go 5G! Can't wait for you to plug that non-hole.

    1. redpawn

      Re: 5g will connect emergency workers to hospitals?

      Because with the current system, some times the emergency vehicle has returned from the scene before the heavily laden radio waves catch up with them. 5g is much stronger so it can carry graphs, blueprints and even streaming video faster than the average rolling speed of emergency vehicles. Think of all of the lives to be saved.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: 5g will connect emergency workers to hospitals?


        I can't work out if you are being serious. You have some reasonable points, but then stick in "5g is much stronger"...which threw me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 5g will connect emergency workers to hospitals?

      Didn't the US push a fragmented 700 MHz band, in part, so that public safety could get a slice of the spectrum for their own use?

      So if they're using Verizon 5G, how about if we dump the current band 12, 13, 14, 17, & 29 mess and just adopt one single APT band (28 for FDD, 44 for TDD) for 700 MHz.

    3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: 5g will connect emergency workers to hospitals?

      Emergency Ward 10?

      Icon - Wheres me pension book?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    What ever you think of Microsoft, the ad told the story of the first female coach in the NFL (which is one more than the Premier League, whose two female coaches are still at the academy level). She is an inspiration to girls that they should never be defined solely by their gender. As much snark as Microsoft may deserve, their ad should be applauded.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft

      I'm not really a fan of "diversity" nonsense anyway. It's a "something" but in and of itself, only meaningful if she becomes one of the BEST COACHES. Otherwise, are they IMPLYING that being FEMALE is some kind of HANDICAP? (I *HOPE* NOT!!!)

      There are only a few rewards that REALLY matter, and fame should be low on the list. (money, authority, and being able to do what you want are MUCH better ones, as one example). And fame should be based SOLELY on what you've accomplished, and NOT what you were BORN as [and we should NEVER have to use politically correct lingo to refer to HER as a FEMALE, either - being born with 'girl parts' is *ASSUMED*]. But the "social whatever" types just LOVE their "diversity" nonsense, don't "they"?

      I say *DOING* is *MUCH* more important than *JUST* *BEING*.

      (it does prove ONE thing: the NFL isn't sexist)

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "being FEMALE is some kind of HANDICAP"

        Unluckily, in some ways it is as long as men believe women are unfit for some jobs, so it becomes much more difficult to obtain one. Last Sunday here there were people keeping on offending female referees in a football (soccer) game - as if women could not, and should not, understand football (soccer) rules - and be in charge of a men's game.

        Luckily there are sports like tennis where female referees is already the norm - at the highest levels. Different education levels - I guess.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "being FEMALE is some kind of HANDICAP"

          To answer that question: yes, sometimes.

          Some jobs, first responders in particular, have demanding physical requirements.

          On average -- and we know NO one is "average" -- a man's physique meets those requirements better than a woman's.

          Also, on average, women tend to show more compassion than men and thus better meet the requirements for compassion-heavy roles (teachers, nursing, etc.).

          There are plenty of exceptions -- Katie being a wonderful one -- but WHY do we need to point them out instead of just "live and let live"?

          Each and every job/role has requirements, and your particular mix of genetics (sex & personality), upbringing, life experience, and other factors (don't ask me; I don't know) may make you (a particular person) more or less suitable for said role.

          Katie is well-suited for this coaching position. She is NOT *physically* suited to put on the SF49 uniform and play with these larger men, no matter how much football she played while younger or how many workouts she does. She just doesn't fit *physically*.

          (Why doesn't she have the physique of a male NFL player? By and large it's because, genetically, she's a woman. An inconvenient fact, but likely true nonetheless. Genetic sex is a coin flip that can help us AND limit us, and we can't celebrate one side without acknowledging the flip side of that coin.)

          1. garetht t

            Re: "being FEMALE is some kind of HANDICAP"

            >"women tend to show more compassion than men"

            Citation needed before you pull statements like this out of your ass.

            "In short, compassion is natural and no gender differences have emerged across these studies."


          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Some jobs, first responders in particular, have demanding physical requirements."

            Sure, if you put it down to who is able to hit harder with a cudgel, being female could be a disadvantage - and still depends - not all men are exactly American football players type.

            Who cares if she couldn't play against men. Yet man coaches women in sports where men bodies are unfit to practice them. Why men don't perform "balance beam", for example? Fear to lose the precious testicles? And it would have been better - given the abuses that was unveiled.

            But what about jobs where physical strength means nothing? Even first responders usually need someone with a well working brain around, not just gorillas. Aren't paramedics and physician first responders as well? Do you prefer a competent one, although not as strong as a gorilla, or a gorilla to try to save your life?

            Why MS should not celebrate that another barrier was broken? Especially in a sport that for too long saw women just a as a men entertainment as scantily-clad cheerleaders? Do you feel diminished if a woman coach men in American football, instead of just dancing around?

        2. the Jim bloke

          Re: "being FEMALE is some kind of HANDICAP"

          The consensus is that ALL referees are completely ignorant of the game rules, therefore, women who tend to over-function and generally put more effort in (gender stereotype - deal with it), may possibly do a decent job and by doing so, overturn hundreds of years of tradition.

          My personal view is that athletes in profit driven professional sports are manipulated into a state of prolonged mental adolescence, and just arent mature enough to deal with 'çhicks' in positions of authority - or even normal life. If we were talking about pet dogs, you would call it inadequate socialisation.

          As with every generalisation about people, exceptions do apply.

      3. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft

        Anyone else think Bob is actually Donald Trump?

        Stuck in the past, incoherent rants and an attitude I'm right and everyone else is wrong, even when the facts are presented to him.

  5. Sanguma

    Never Watch

    Superbowl, or indeed any American Football. I mean, rugby used to annoy me with the endless stopwork meetings on the paddock, but gridiron would flip the switches to overload with its endless stopwork meeting, though the footwork is indeed fancy - just watch the coach on the bench and you'll see, the footwork is indeed more complex and involved than anything you see in the beautiful game.

    So naturally I never got to miss anything with the ads, or feel I had missed anything. I'm sure I'll have to regret that sometime, somewhere.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Never Watch

      I used to watch American footie a lot. And had a subscription to the NFL Gamepass. I think it was about £130 for an entire season, which also gives access to every single archived game since they started streaming 15 years ago. So pretty reasonable. If you live in the US they'd even sell you a $70 package that was just the games involving one team - which is way more value for money than UK football can be bothered to provide its fans.

      One of the great features is the different ways you can watch. So live, including US adverts (4 hours). Or "as live" with the ads cut out (3 ish?). Or a highlights package with all the actual gameplay but also some of the punditry/analysis (1 1/2 hrs).

      Or the funny one, which is just all the time the ball is in motion i.e. between the snap and the end of the play - which usually lasts about 25 minutes. So there's an hour on the clock, but you only get about 25 minutes of the ball doing anything.

      However that misses the times when the clock is running and the players are doing stuff - which is also fun, such as when you get the quarterback changing the play because he's now seen the defensive set-up and doesn't think the called play will work, and then the defensive captain's response to that. If players are miked up, that can be really interesting. Such as trying to work out why every other word Peyton Manning said was "Omaha"...

      Also trying to watch 25 minutes of solid play like that is actually a demanding test of concentration - sometimes you need time to eat your snacks and drink your massive margarita / glass of port.

  6. Chris G

    Feeling stuffed

    At the Superbowl, the advertising is the the meat and potatoes of the whole thing, the actual ball play is only the gravy with the halftime extravaganza being the mustard on the side of the plate.

    1. macjules

      Re: Feeling stuffed

      And nauseating Amazon ads being the bit of nasty gristle you try and hide?

      We were inflicted with an Alexa last Christmas. it lasted until January 6th when it decided to commit suicide and jumped into the rubbish bin.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Feeling stuffed

        "when it decided to commit suicide and jumped into the rubbish bin"

        Is that the 'official' police report on the matter?

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Feeling stuffed

          Power supply melted; internal wires cut, flash chips milled off the board, entire casing crushed in 15-ton press. Worst case of suicide we've seen all week...

          (actually, true story from the eighties: police pulled a body from a lake; tied in chains, head and hands missing, broken bones... and a spokesman interviewed on the scene announced with a straight face 'we believe there may have been foul play'.)

    2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: Feeling stuffed

      As opposed to the Al Bundy hands in his pants sort of ball action?

  7. iron Silver badge

    > Personally, I walk over to the thermostat, spend three seconds of my life turning it off, and go about my day.

    Personally I don't think I've adjusted a thermostat other than once when I move into a new property. Probably part of why I can't understand what exactly it is Alexa is supposed to do for me.

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    I've got a super bowl

    I inherited it from a grandma - it's a cut glass one I use for fruit.

    Seems I got the best deal.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: I've got a super bowl

      I've got a really superb owl...

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: I've got a super bowl

        Have one of these too :)

  9. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Wrong target

    This is from a telco that in 2018 throttled California firefighter data plans at the height of the Mendocino Complex Fire,

    Alternatively, California firefighters used a commodity SIM with a data cap for a safety-critical application. Rather than the decision maker getting fired for selecting the wrong plan, it's much easier to blame Verizon.

    Ok, so it's generally easy to blame the telco, but this was a great example of an avoidable IT risk. Whoever specified their C&C truck and services should have been aware of likely data usage, and what could happen if they tried to use a capped service. It should be an object lesson in how not to do disaster planning. 5G will just allow users to hit their caps faster.

  10. Someone Else Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    How, indeed.

    How did we live before Alexa? Extremely OK is the answer.

    Any other questions?

  11. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    Just love how they stereotyped Midwest people in Minnesota as simple folk. Very typical of a big New York company to be so ignorant about the people in 'flyover country'.

    1. Rasslin ' in the mud

      Re: Squarespace

      They can call us simple but it's far better than being so stupid is to (want to) be crammed into tiny overpriced apartments, enduring hours long traffic jams, and listening to every argument your neighbors have. I endured that on both coasts for many years. Now we enjoy life near a town where gridlock is three cars at a four-way stop, where traffic jams are caused by the tourists stopping in the middle of a main street to look at elk grazing a block away, and the beating wings of the hummingbirds is the loudest noise on summer mornings while I sit on the porch drinking my morning cuppa.

      All the Coasties are trying to do is pull us down to their level of unhappiness.

  12. FozzyBear

    You can't live without Alexa

    Yeah I can. Been doing it for more than 40 years.

    In fact life was pretty good before of all these intrusive pieces of crap

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