By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) There is a fairly popular commercial that has been running in various TV and radio forms for a while now. Popular not necessarily in that it is enjoyable or talked about like several will be this coming Sunday, but rather it has penetrated my brain and definitely those of others, or else it wouldn’t still be running.
It finds me multiple times a day — definitely on my morning drive to school, definitely on my afternoon drive home from school and at least once some point during the evening while at pizza school.
I don’t have to even give the product name for you if you’re a regular listener to 670 The Score. Instead, I merely need to type “Hi, I’m Russell Wilson…”
Yep. That one.
The commercial tells us to download an app that allows us to “chat” with Wilson. Or at least ask questions into our phones and get recorded responses from him, which is almost like actually having a conversation with a real football player. Or one with any real person at all, I guess. Marketing toward the desperate and lonely will never go out of style.
Weird, though, that people playing pretend seem like they’re the majority of people talking about a guy who plays the marquee position for one of the teams in this year’s biggest game. Football is all about the quarterback, as goes the fashionable maxim, and the media feeding frenzy during Shark Week — I mean Super Bowl Week — kills to bleed a quarterback dry of as much ink as possible. Or so I always thought.
But Wilson seems to be an afterthought this week. Sure, there are a few pieces on him this week, mostly about what a swell guy he is and how he’s such a hard worker. Completely ignoring a Super Bowl quarterback is impossible. But this guy doesn’t bleed much newsworthy for the media sharks, who have circled elsewhere.
Peyton Manning — now he’s a bleeder. The consummate professional, he knows the athlete/reporter game and plays it like a fiddle, giving the occasional wit and wisdom that makes a football fan swoon amid cliché after cliché that we sort of forgive because he’s just so gosh darn folksy. And he brings the whole “legacy” question to this Super Bowl, tales told by many idiots and signifying nothing.
Scary loud man with dreadlocks wasn’t especially scary or loud this week, much to many writers’ chagrin. Debate lingers on whether Richard Sherman’s arson of the sacred postgame interview will have an effect on the Seattle Seahawks this coming Sunday (it won’t) or if it killed Pete Seeger or something. Asking people that aren’t playing football until September if they still has the sadz about it has helped prevent a scabbing of this story, but of late it is nothing more than a flesh wound not providing much more sustenance for print unless Sherman makes an important play or blunder Sunday.
Marshawn Lynch bled all over the damn place this week, though quite silently. But boy, did brilliant reporters swarm to a guy who has made it very well known that he will not be verbally giving them anything of substance to write about. And while the hand-wringing over Lynch’s gall or the pondering of his introvertitude philosophized left and right, examinations of Wilson fell victim to the shade cast by the shadows of these larger stories.
Admittedly, even I failed to really think about the Seahawks quarterback when considering what the media would consider the most leading up to the game. I’m not condemning writers for a lack of focus on a guy who might have the most impact on the game of any player on his team. It’s just odd, is all.
Being a nice guy only creates so many keystrokes. Having an upbringing that soft piano and hazy camera focus don’t really apply to doesn’t make for all that great of a feature piece. His hair may be a bit questionable, but is it 750 words questionable? Wilson is a good guy who happens to be a pretty good football player (or is it the other way around?), but there’s no zing, zork, kapowza.
None of that mazuma means a thing as far as how he’ll play on Sunday, but maybe the lack of attention paid to Wilson during the week is a good thing for him. He’s going up against arguably the best player at his position. People believe that the Seattle offense is a liability and that should the Seahawks win the title it will be because of their crazy good defense. That’s quite a burden for a second-year quarterback to carry, and maybe flying under the media radar will allow him to better prepare and focus. Who knows?
Maybe I can ask him if I download the mobile app.