Monday, February 02, 2009


by Dick Mac

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of this year's Super Bowl. The competition has a Roman numeral associated with it, but since there is no relation to the actual year and the Roman numeral designation, most people can rarely tell you which Super Bowl this was. Many will say it was the 2008 Super Bowl, but it was played in 2009. Saying it was the 2009 Super Bowl might imply that it represents the champion of the season that has yet to take place later in the year, which Super Bowl will take place in 2010.

Be that as it may, this was Super Bowl XLIII (Super Bowl 43). (Yeah! That's sensible: XLIII - that's significant, huh?)

Since Chubby Checker's performance in the sixties through to a couple of Jackson siblings, the halftime entertainment has been a rather significant part of the event's marketing. 2009, er XLIII, was no different.

Last night's halftime entertainment was provided by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. And a short decade or two ago, the Steelers' victory after a Springsteen performance might be analyzed or discussed in the context of a workingman's team from a working-class city being entertained (and sparked to victory?) by this workingman's rock 'n roller.

Things have changed, though, and Pittsburgh is no more a working-class town than Boston or New York, it's once-vibrant steel industry dead, replaced by a high-tech, cultural, banking, and tourism-related economy.

The Steelers of my youth bragged a defense nicknamed the Steel Curtain, because opponents could barely penetrate the line. There was a workingman's toughness to the team that just isn't there anymore.

And Springsteen? Well, he signed an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart, the corporation that has done more to destroy workers' rights, the aspirations of the American worker, and the American Dream, than GM or the unrisen Ronald Reagan himself could ever have dreamed.

Wal-Mart has lowered the bar so far in thirty years that any positive actions they take in what is left of our economy is lauded as revolutionary.

Springsteen, once a friend of the working man, has given Wal-Mart exclusive rights to distribute his latest greatest hits collection, a move he alleges to regret today.

All that aside, his performance last night ranks as possibly the very best halftime show in the short history of the Super Bowl. Performing four songs in 12 minutes, including " the classics "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" and "Born To Run," followed by an unimpressive new song, "Working on a Dream" and finishing with "Glory Days."

His exuberance, voice, guitar playing, and showmanship were unparallelled; and the participation of Clarence Clemons and Little Stevie were vintage Springsteen.

Thanks for a great show, Bruce.

Now, take all the money you got from Wal-Mart and give it to a workers' charity!

1 comment:

ecrunner said...

I must say I was not too impressed with Springsteen's crotch-first shot into the cameraman. He was definitely trying to hard to let the world think that his is still young and hip. Didn't do anything for me and I really don't think it will help boost his ratings any!