The Grey Cup is never going to rival the Super Bowl, whose telecast is more a worldwide cultural phenomenon than a football game. Truth is, most of the billion Super Bowl viewers remember the commercials more than the on-field results.
But the Grey Cup is always first-and-foremost about the game – assuming anyone watches, which was never a given. Till this year. Last night’s Cup coverage by TSN looked to be a ratings winner even before it began. What with all the historical 100th Grey Cup hype, TSN’s Engraved On A Nation documentaries, the cross-country Cup Tour, and Toronto playing in its backyard, how could it possibly fail?
Well, the game could suck I suppose…
Here are a few highs and lows from the Grey Cup telecast:
SAYING THE SAME THING BUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY
Did we really need a five hour pre-game show? Especially one that mostly consisted of talking sports heads, sitting around, making guesses. Sure, there were a few taped bits exploring the history of the Grey Cup (yet again). And Brian Williams made a guest appearance, narrating an Olympics-style, triumph-over-tragedy bit. But other than that, why would someone watch people talk football when you got the real American thing over on another channel?
BUT FIRST, SOME MUSIC…
I don’t really know who Johnny Reid is. Maybe he has a record contract with TSN. Either way, the singer was called upon to get the pregame party going with a few tunes. It helped that he sang songs about partying – with titles like “Fire It Up” or “Let’s Have A Party”. Didn’t seem to work if the bemused looks of the fans is any indication. Stop selling me on having fun, Johnny! I bought a ticket already.
Burton Cummings didn’t look like he was much up for partying with Johnny. His curious muzak version of “O Canada” was…different.
WINNING ONE FOR THE GIPPER
Loved the pre-game locker room speech clips. Still, neither the Argos coach (who talked of finally stepping into the limelight) nor the Stamps coach (who talked about the word ‘team’) rose above the clichés. I dunno. Maybe clichés work. Worked for the Argonauts.
Kudos to Lieutenant-Governor David Johnston who – after a montage of lame ceremonial Prime Minister kick offs – showed style and even got some elevation on the ball.
I’m sorry Brian Williams. You can say what you want, but Gordon Lightfoot did not inspire Carly Rae Jepsen or Justin Bieber. At least I hope he didn’t. Otherwise he’s got some apologizing to do.
I guess the idea was to offer some more current music acts – though I’m not really sure appealing to 12-year-old girls is going to create many new CFL fans. And I see the guitars – but I sure can’t hear them.
Wow. When is the tank-topped Justin Bieber going to realize that trying to act all tough and cool really makes him look like a poser doofus.
SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND
It’s revealed that Argos player Pacino Horne was named after the movie, Scarface. Huh. So why not name him Scarface Horne then? Or Tony Montana Horne? That would have been cool.
Forget expensive new, Grey Cup-oriented commercials. The telecast featured the usual, oft-repeated crop of car, insurance, and poker site ads. But wait – was that a commercial I saw for a Japanese tractor? Tractors? I can’t tell you when I last saw one of those on TV. Neat.
AND THE GAME….
Well, what can you do? It wasn’t really close. But it was action-packed. Like most CFL games, it was broadcast without too many technical bells and whistles. And the hometown team won, so that always makes for a better Grey Cup party. I hear Johnny Reid is already working on a song about it. The party. Not the game.