Wednesday, January 30, 2008
On the subject of the greatest football dynasties of all-time – and yes, the New England Patriots have already cemented their place in this discussion – the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, 1980s San Francisco 49ers, and 1990s Dallas Cowboys likely all come to mind. You would be remiss, however, if you failed to mention a less heralded and, uh, less human team that dominated its competition in, quite frankly, unbelievable fashion: Budweiser.
From 1989-1997, the self-anointed “King of Beers” won six of Anheuser-Busch’s eight Bud Bowls, the yearly clash between animated bottles of Bud and Bud Light that was featured in a series of commercials during the Super Bowl. The advertising campaign, which persists today in the form of Bud Bowl-themed packaging and promotional events, remains one of the most popular ever.
The Bud Bowl Architect
Grant Pace wrote the six original Bud Bowl ads that appeared in 1989 while working at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. Pace said he developed the ads under the assumption that Bud Bowl would be a one-year phenomenon, but Anheuser-Busch representatives liked the prototype so much that Pace actually changed the original ending to leave open the possibility for a sequel. (To see the ending that never aired, go here and click on the third white box from the left).
More Exciting Than The Actual Super Bowl
The first spots were an instant hit with viewers, as reflected by an amazing 17% surge in January beer sales. This guaranteed a grudge match the following year. As the cost of air time, production and other expenses grew from $5 million in 1989 to $8 million in 1991, so too did sales and Bud Bowl’s popularity. Inflatable helmets and other related paraphernalia dominated liquor store and supermarket displays, while fans and sports columnists opined that the annual “Battle of the Bottles” was more exciting than the actual Super Bowl. (Considering that the average margin of victory in Bud Bowl history was less than three points, that notion held more than a little bit of truth.)
By 1994, when Bud announced a new advertising deal with DDB Needham Worldwide, it was clear that the Bud Bowl idea as Pace and his colleagues had originally conceived it was nearly tapped out. The game took a one-year hiatus in 1996 before making an unsuccessful comeback attempt in 1997. The buildup to Bud Bowl 8 featured a sweepstakes, inviting fans to go online and vote for their all-time favorite Bud Bowl players and moments. Though I was only 13, I managed to score an official football.
Television spots for the Bud Bowl were abandoned for good in 1998, as Anheuser-Busch brought back the Budweiser frogs campaign, which debuted two years earlier.
Today, the Bud Bowl’s legacy endures in stores [photo courtesy of MauryStory]…
…and even in Glendale, Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLII. Snoop Dogg and Kid Rock will headline the Block Party at Bud Bowl 2008, while the Budweiser Clydesdales will also make an appearance. Similar events have been held in other Super Bowl host cities in recent years, including a 2006 shindig at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium. But while the modern Bud Bowl remains a marketing success, it hardly compares to the stop-action awesomeness that fans came to know and love in the events formative years. To watch every Bud Bowl commercial in its entirety, along with thousands of other commercials, I highly recommend the nominal one-week membership to commercial-archive.com. The fine folks behind that site have granted us permission to use their screenshots.
Now sit back and enjoy this look back at Bud Bowls I-VIII:
Bud Bowl I
January 22, 1989: Budweiser 27, Bud Light 24
Narrated by Bob Costas and Paul Maguire, the game that started it all unfolded over six spots during Super Bowl XXIII and proved almost as riveting as the Joe Montana-led San Francisco 49ers’ 20-16 comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The inaugural Bud Bowl was billed as a thunder and lightning showdown between two beers with contrasting styles. Bud, which boasted the vaunted “Beechwood Backs,” favored a rushing attack, while Bud Light’s pass first, ask questions later attack was led by a QB with Tom Brady-like numbers (49 touchdowns, 8 interceptions).
The back-and-forth game featured all sorts of excitement. Bud Light executed a flea-flicker to perfection, while Bud’s “Appliance of Defiance,” the Freezer, gave Bud Light defenders headaches all night. With two seconds remaining and the game tied at 24, Budsky, Bud’s seven-ounce “nip” bottle placekicker, wobbled onto the field to attempt a 42-yard field goal. The kick bounced off the crossbar and left upright before falling through, sending the boozed-up crowd of Bud beer cans into a tizzy, or fizzy as it were.
Watch Bud Bowl I at commercial-archive.com.
Bud Bowl II
January 28, 1990: Budweiser 36, Bud Light 34
The following year proved no better for the bottles in blue. Bud, no doubt fired up by an emotional pre-game speech that concluded with the line, “You guys are the king, now let’s go turn out their lights,” earned its second consecutive dramatic win in the series. This one was wrought with controversy.
In snowy conditions at scale-sized Busch Stadium, Budweiser overcame a gritty performance by Bud Light quarterback Budway Joe and scored the winning touchdown as time expired when an offensive player advanced a fumble, which is illegal by NFL rules. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Anheuser-Busch received hundreds of telephone calls about the play over the course of the next week, prompting the St. Louis-based brewery to respond thusly:
“In the National Football League, of course, the offensive team cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a game unless the ball is recovered by the same player who fumbled it. However, no such rule exists in the BFL (Budweiser Football League).”
I was unable to get my hands on a copy of the official BFL rulebook, but there are some other subtle hints that the Bud Bowl wasn’t governed by NFL rules. Like, for instance, the fact that its participants didn’t have any hands.
Watch Bud Bowl II at commercial-archive.com.
Bud Bowl 3
January 27, 1991: Budweiser 23, Bud Light 21
By the time the foam settled in one of two Bud Bowls to shun the use of Roman numerals (Bud Bowl 8 was the other), there was a new ruler of the cooler. Don Meredith and Keith Jackson called the action, while Chris Berman handled studio duties for the game. Bud Light scored first, using a bottle opener as a spear to clear a path to the end zone.
Filling in for the injured Budway Joe, top draft pick Bud Dry staked Bud Light to a fourth quarter lead, but a Longneck caught a touchdown pass with 3 seconds remaining, giving Bud a 21-17 edge and setting up the most memorable finish in Bud Bowl history.
In a parody of “The Play” at the end of Cal’s victory over Stanford in the 1982 Big Game, Bud Light used multiple laterals to weave its way up the field and through the Bud band, which had wandered onto the field prematurely to celebrate what they thought was a sure third straight title. Jackson bellowed, “The band is on the field!” seconds before a Bud Light bottle sporting a tuba reached the end zone. Bud fans have lamented the fluke loss to this day, but like their Stanford brethren, can find solace in their team’s superior all-time record against its rival.
Watch Bud Bowl 3 at Retrojunk.
Bud Bowl IV
January 26, 1992: Bud Light 27, Budweiser 24
By previous Bud Bowl standards, this was one to forget. Rather than showing bottles run and throw footballs across a field for a fourth straight year, Chris Berman narrated one fan’s quest to retrieve a Bud Bowl sweepstakes ticket that his girlfriend had mistakenly thrown away. (Fans had a chance to win up to a million dollars if the final score of the Bud Bowl matched the score on their game card were a staple of the later Bud Bowls.)
After a predictably disastrous turn of events that involved a trashcan, a police car and a pigeon, the pitiful hero managed to retrieve his ticket and arrived home just in time to catch the final score of the Bud Bowl. Lo and behold, he was a winner! After he put the ticket down to celebrate with an ice cold Budweiser and began recounting his ridiculous story to some friends, the shot panned to an adorable dog that had wandered into the room. You can guess what happened next.
Watch Bud Bowl IV at commercial-archive.com.
Bud Bowl V
January 31, 1993: Budweiser 35, Bud Light 31
General Hospital heartthrob Corbin Bernsen led Bud Light into Bud Bowl V, while the Bud team and head coach Joe Namath arrived in the Budweiser blimp just minutes before kickoff. Ahmad Rashad and former MTV VJ Karen “Duff” Duffy provided quarter-by-quarter updates of the game, which featured some of the most absurd characters and events in the series’ history.
Bud answered a touchdown reception by Bud “Neon” Light with a kickoff return for a touchdown by Namath’s secret weapon, the Budweiser Rocket. After Bud built a 35-7 lead, Rashad asked a stone-faced Bernsen, “Coach, is there light at the end of the tunnel?” Help arrived in the form of a runaway Bud Light beer truck, which transformed into the Aluminator, an unstoppable offensive weapon.
Trailing 35-31, there was no question who would get the ball for Bud Light on the final play of the game. As the Aluminator barreled through would-be Bud tacklers, an improbable, come-from-behind Bud Light victory seemed inevitable. Instead, a conniving Namath signaled to the Budweiser blimp above. A mechanized claw descended from the blimp and snatched the Aluminator into the air, which led to a fumble that Bud recovered to preserve the win.
After the game, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Bud Bowl V had big-league special effects and bold commentary by MTV’s Duff, looking buff in black, but this never-ending battle of the bottles has become a real clinker.”
Watch Bud Bowl V at commercial-archive.com.
Bud Bowl VI
January 30, 1994: Bud Light 20, Budweiser 14
With Marv Albert in the Bud Bowl studio and Mike Ditka and Bum Phillips as the head coaches of Bud and Bud Light, respectively, this game had the makings of a classic. It wasn’t. Bud Light took an early lead on a “Naked Reverse” after its quarterback shed his label at the line of scrimmage. Bud countered with a kickoff return for a touchdown by the Basher, a 24-ounce can of aluminum dominance, who was penalized for excessive celebration and then ejected for cursing at the referee.
A windstorm blew into the stadium early in the second half, making things difficult for both offenses. The situation at a nearby bar, where patrons were nearly out of Budweiser, was more serious. Several Bud blimps combined forces to physically lift the stadium into the cozy confines of the bar, leading Albert to deadpan, “I don’t know where this game is headed, but this is what I call a beer run!” Predictably, Bud Light scored the winning touchdown after a man in the bar grabbed a Bud defender from the playing field and proceeded to quench his thirst.
“My biggest problem with the whole Bud Bowl thing is that they never really have any good teams playing,” syndicated sports humor columnist Norman Chad once wrote. “I mean, if the Anheuser-Busch bigwigs had any brass at all, they’d get, say, Heineken and Samuel Adams every once in a while. Heck, Bud Lite’s (sic) like Notre Dame – it doesn’t matter what their record is, they’re bowl-bound.” The Bud Light-Notre Dame comparisons don’t end there. Like the Fighting Irish, Bud Light’s last bowl win came in 1994.
Bud Bowl VII
January 29, 1995: Budweiser 26, Bud Light 24
Anheuser-Busch probably should’ve sent its bottles to the recycling plant after Bud Bowl VI. Instead, they gave us 60 seconds of Iggy, Biff, and Frank, castaways who watched Bud Bowl VII unfold from a desert island. With Bud trailing late in the game, Iggy was transported off the island and into the game, where he caught a pass and began rumbling toward the end zone. Eighty yards later, following a dream-like montage of press clippings and cereal boxes commemorating his newfound celebrity, Iggy gave Bud its fifth Bud Bowl win.
Watch Bud Bowl VII at commercial-archive.com.
Bud Bowl 8
January 26, 1997
After a one-year hiatus, Bud Bowl VIII returned with another single, forgettable spot. Howie Long and Ronnie Lott provided coverage, holding Fox Sports microphones no less, from a bar in the Louisana bayou. After a fan stole his microphone and opened a fridge to reveal the Bud Bowl in action, Lott threw him out of a bar window and into a swamp. Lott proceeded to reveal the final score before the spot ended with a familiar refrain from the fan, who was sharing space in the swamp with an alligator: “I love you, man.”
How does the Bud Bowl stack up in your hierarchy of greatest Super Bowl commercials? Share your thoughts below, and check back tomorrow for the transcript of Scott’s e-mail exchange with Bud Bowl writer Grant Pace. In the meantime, check out our quiz on Super Bowl backup QBs.
Posted by gjblass at 2:11 PM
Posted by Gary at 12:54 PM
The deal, agreed to Tuesday morning according to two high-ranking Twins officials involved in the trade talks and a Mets official, is contingent on Santana waiving his no-trade clause. The Mets have been granted a 72-hour window that will expire at 5 p.m. ET Friday to work out a contract extension with Santana.
Santana, eligible for free agency after the season, is in position to become is seeking to become the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history, surpassing San Francisco Giants starter Barry Zito's seven-year, $126 million deal. Peter Greenberg, Santana's agent who has a strong working relationship with New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya, declined comment on Santana's salary request.
The Twins stand to receive outfielder Carlos Gomez and minor-league pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey. Gomez, 22, who hit .232 last season, is expected to replace center fielder Torii Hunter, the Twins' seven-time Gold Glove winner who signed a five-year, $90 million contract in November with the Los Angeles Angels.
"I hate to hear that," Hunter said, when told of the trade. "I mean, I'm happy for Johan, but he meant so much for that organization. I'm sad for the Twins' organization and all of the fans out there. They loved Johan. This is going to be tough for them to swallow."
The Twins offered Santana a four-year, $80 million extension two months ago, but he rejected the offer.
The Mets, barring a breakdown in contract negotiations, now inherit the most dominant pitcher in baseball since 2003. Santana is 82-35 with a 2.92 ERA, including 1,152 strikeouts the last five years.
"The Mets are not only getting a Cy Young winner," Hunter said, "but an absolute bulldog who's great in the clubhouse. He's going to dominate that league. They're going to absolutely love him in New York."
"I know he's happy, too, because he really wanted to go to the Mets. He's always wanted to swing the wood. He can hit.
"So I don't know who's happier, Johan, the Mets, or everyone in the American League because they don't have to face him anymore."
The Twins, who had trade talks over the last two months with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and the Mets, told teams they wanted a final offer by Monday.
The Red Sox's final offer included starter Jon Lester and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury in separate packages but was scaled back from initial proposals, including lesser prospects, according to a high-ranking Red Sox official.
Contributing: Paul White, The Associated Press
Posted by gjblass at 11:48 AM
A few months ago we reported on future attempts to use a kite to move a cargo ship across the ocean. But just last week, the MS Beluga set sail on its maiden voyage from Bremerhaven to Venezuela where it showed, quite successfully, that wind power might just be the future of nautical transportation.
The MS Beluga is a 140 meter long cargo ship. It uses a 160 square meter sky-sail which is set to fly at a height between 100 and 300 meters above the ocean. While it is not the main mode of propulsion, the kite is able to reduce fuel consumption by about 10% to 35% depending on wind conditions. The Skysail is the creation of Stephan Wrage who believes these kites could be used on almost 60% of all cargo ships. It is attached to the ship by a single line that is controlled by a computer, and works precisely as you’d expect, like a giant version of a small kite.
The maiden voyage started just last week, and already the sail has been deployed. It will cross the Atlantic Ocean using the traditional windjammer route south of the Azores. Its full travelling time is expected to be a total of 15 days. If successful, the company expects to deploy this system on other cargo ships.
+ Kite to pull ship across Atlantic @ BBC
+ Beluga Group
Posted by gjblass at 11:22 AM
Joseph Lloyd Simmons, the 43 year old hip hop artist better known as DJ Run or Revered (Rev) Run, is one of the founding members of the hip-hop group "Run-D.M.C." He's the younger brother of Danny Simmons and Hip Hop Mogul Russell Simmons. Rev Run is married to Justine Simmons, and father to Daniel (Diggy), Russell (Russy), Vanessa, Angela, and Joseph. Recently, Rev Run and his wife Justine have adopted a baby girl names Miley Justine Simmons. Rev Run's family has gained notoriety through their MTV reality show "Run's House." Which chronicles the life of Rev Run and his family in their day to day life. The show takes place primarily at their residence in Saddle River, NJ, which is currently up for sale. The property is being sold for over 5 million dollars, and has been listed after the pricier mansion owned by his brother Russell was listed following his separation from wife Kimora Lee Simmons.
Realtor Description of Property:
Located in the prestigious high ridge section of Saddle River this stately colonial exemplifies fine suburban living within the vicinity of New York City. Formal entertaining and gracious family living are splendidly accommodated in this classic colonial. Featuring a large and luxurious pool, 3+ car garage, central vacuum, 3 fireplaces, intercom, and finished basement, this listing is an incredible deal.
Weichert Realtors Listing: http://www.weichert.com/runs-house/2703018.htm
Russell Simmons: Saddle River, NJ
Russell Simmons, the 51 year old American Entrepreneur, best known for his business savvy and entrepreneurial nature, is apparently not only a hard hitter in the music industry, but in the real estate business as well. Being the third richest hip-hop entrepreneur, he's worth over 340 million dollars, behind Jay-Z (550 million) and P Diddy (358 Million), respectively. While Russell owns a number of houses, including a Manhattan penthouse and a 6,000 sq ft mansion in LA, he apparently has found reason to sell his Saddle River, NJ home.
Realtor Description of Property:
"One of the largest homes on the east coast. 10 bedroom, 35,000 square feet in Saddle River, NJ. 25 miles north of Manhattan. 4 acres. Pool with waterfall/koi pond. Gym. Old Brooklyn Style Movie theater with popcorn machine and candy counter and life-size wax ticket sellers. Versace room with Gianni Versace-designed bed and 16 foot lions mouth fireplace. All ceilings 35 feet and gold-leafed. Asking $20 million. Contact: Russell Simmons.* Ariel View, and map between Russel Simmons and Rev Run's houses
See listing at Weichert Realtors Web Site: http://www.weichert.com/search/realestate/PropertyListing.aspx?P=13541507
Kanye West: Beverly Hills, CA
Kanye Omari West, the now ubiquitous best selling hip hop artist, is apparently jumping on the house flipping wagon. After the much hyped success of his third album, Kanye certainly has more than enough money to spare, but appear to be shedding his skin when it comes to expensive Beverly Hills Real Estate. The 80 year old property owned by West was listed just days before his mother's tragic passing and has yet to be sold. The property, a two story mansion, is listed for well over 8 million dollars, up nearly 1.5 million from what Kanye bought it for in March of 2007. Now thats what you call a good flip.
Realtor Description of Property:
Build your dream home in 90210! Approx. 35,000 square feet of park-like grounds. The current house features: Two-stories, six bedrooms, four baths, detached garage, fireplaces, and hardwood floors. This home is considered to be in tear-down condition and offers the perfect opportunity to build your dream home in Beverly Hills! Asking only $8.69 million. Contact: Kanye West.
Trulia Property Listing: http://www.trulia.com/property/39094717-631-N-Crescent-Drive-Beverly-Hills-CA-902101
50 Cent: Farmington, CT
Curtis James Jackson III, the 32 year old rap artist better known as 50 cent, rose to fame with his sophomore album, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." With the additional success of his second album, 50 cent has sold over 21 million records worldwide. With a background fraught with difficulties, 50's success is an understated accomplishment. Discovered by Eminem in 2002, 50 quickly rose to fame and has had unprecedented success ever since. As a result, 50 owns some pricey real estate, and has shown some savvy in unloading it earlier this year.
Realtor Description of Property:
Quaint 52 rooms in Farmington, Conn. 48,000-square-foot mansion featuring 37 bathrooms, 5 Jacuzzis, billiards rooms, a movie theater, spiraling marble staircases, an elevator, indoor pool, basement recording studio and a full nightclub with multiple poles and swings. $18.5 million. Contact: Curtis James Jackson III (50 cent)
See listing at Weichert Realtors Web Site: http://www.weichert.com/search/realestate/PropertyListing.aspx?P=12128421
Suge Knight: Malibu, CA
Marion Knight, Jr, better known as "Suge Knight," is a 44 year old hip hop entrepreneur associated with large success and great controversy. As the co-founder and CEO of Death Row Records, Suge's business drove chart toppers such as Dr. Dre, Tupac, and Snoop Dogg. His label, however, fell on hard times following Suge's parole violation and subsequent arrest in 1996. Despite his difficulties, Mr. Knight is found great success early on, and was able to purchase substantial real estate as a result. Earlier this year, Suge put his Malibu, CA home up for sale, at a hefty 6.2 million dollars. Some claim the sale was forced as the result of great debt and bankruptcy incurred by Mr. Knight following the loss of a lawsuit to ex-business associate Lydia Harris. Suge was ordered to pay 107 million dollars and claimed to be 137 million dollars in debt.
Realtor Description of Property:
Save Hip-Hop Mogul from bankrupcy! Buy his 8,272 square foot mansion featuring 7 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms all with soaring ceilings. This home is situated on an 8.76 acre Malibu, CA knoll above La Costa and Carbon Beaches and provides breath-taking ocean views. The gated property also contains a pool and tennis courts. Asking $6.2 million. All sales subject to Bankruptcy Court approval. SOLD AS IS. Contact: Marion Suge Knight (cofounder of Death Row Records and more well known for driving Tupac when he was shot)
Snoop Dogg: Claremont, CA
Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr, the 36 year old better known as "Snoop Dogg" and previously known as "Snoop Doggy Dogg," is on of America's most well known and successful hip hop artists. He is one of Dr. Dre's most successful protgs, and has been credited with coining a number of now-ubiquitous catch phrases, such as "fo' shizzle." Making millions both as an MC, solo artist, and actor, Snoop has become a mega success. With many number one hits, Snoop owns a number of pricey pieces of real estate; including a mansion in Claremont CA, which was listed in April for 2 million dollars.
Realtor Description of Property:
Cheap celebrity crib. 8 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms mansion in Claremont, CA. The 6,500 square feet of living space features marble floors, recording studios, home movie theater, pool, spa, tennis courts, and a full basketball court. Only asking $2 million. Contact: Calvin Broadus (Snoop Dogg)
Trulia Listing: http://www.trulia.com/homes/California/Claremont/sold/4564774-3986-Swarthmore-Ct-Claremont-CA-91711
Virtual Tour : Here
Eminem (childhood house): Warren, MI
Marshall Bruce Mathers III, the 35 year old hip hop artist better known as Eminem, or Slim Shady is a Grammy and Oscar award winner and multi millionaire. Discovered by Dr. Dre and later signed to Aftermath Entertainment, Eminem is known for his energy, and lyrical skill. Despite the negative attention garnered by many of his critics, Eminem has gone on to sell millions upon millions of albums and has collected a very loyal following. Aside from his numerous large properties, Eminem has gotten press over the years for the sale of houses he lived in during his childhood and adolescence. One property in particular, a small home he shared with relatives in Detroit, was listed on eBay in an attempt to make a significant profit. The property was bought by two Detroit lawyers from Marshall Mathers' uncle, who needed the money for financial troubles. While the house was only worth slightly more than $45,000, the lawyer duo purchased the property for $120,000, expecting the actual price of the property to be quite high due to its former residence. The house was listed on eBay and attracted a great deal of attention on account of a number of outlandishly high bids (upwards of 20 million dollars). While these bids were later found to be fraudulent, the sellers were unable to attract legitimate bids higher than $75,000, which were not accepted.
Realtor Description of Property:
Get this property while its hot! Selling on eBay for as much as youre willing to pay for it. Featuring running water, electricity, hard wood floors, and a front porch. Call it a fix-er-upper, call it rustic, call it yours! Outbid your competition and this former Eminem love shack, and piece of hip hop history can get the attention and property appreciation it deserves.
Zillow Listing : http://www.zillow.com/HomeDetails.htm?zprop=24143150
Original Ebay Listing : Web Archive
Eminems Current House : Google Map
Jermaine Dupri: Atlanta, GA
Jermaine Dupri is the creative force behind some of the most popular names and tracks in hip hop. He has produced hits for artists and groups like, TLC, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Bow Wow, and Mariah Carey among others. He is also the boyfriend of Janet Jackson and has produced some of her music. In 2006 he was named to the list of the Top Ten Richest People in Hip-Hop with a reported net worth of around 60 million. Dupri was recently appointed President of urban music at Island Records.
Realtor Description of Property:
An architectural Gem nestled on a private estate lot, this five bedroom five full bath, features gorgeous window-scapes, Master with Terrace Level, one full bar, two wet bars, a recreational room, superb functionality and an artistic sensibility beyond compare. The home has an open flowing plan, three fireplaces and wall to wall carpet. It has a private backyard, stone tile pool, hot tub and three car garage.
Zillow Listing : http://www.zillow.com/HomeDetails.htm?zprop=35919769
Posted by gjblass at 10:52 AM