Aside from all the great stories that come out of the Super Bowl from each team, let's talk the important stuff — the commercials! Since my teams are rarely in the big game, the commercials are my favorite part of the night. That said, if you follow me on twitter you know I found the Tide/Joe Montana commercial
about "no stain being sacred" to be my favorite of the night.
While I'm certain my "fatherhood radar" is working at peak levels considering my working at NFI; I'm finding it more and more interesting how a brand not only spends it's money to be funny and memorable, but how much a brand perpetuates stereotypes of fatherhood in the process.
Here are four examples of commercials from the Super Bowl that are funny and/or thought-provoking, but most of them simply leave us wanting more from brands and fatherhood.
The Protective Dad | Got Milk?
This commercial was probably one of the stronger showings of fatherhood I witnessed with the Superdome lights going out! Depicting a dad who will do anything and that nothing is more important than his girls' milk for breakfast. Nice work!
The Fashionista Dad | Doritos
Right before this dad's about to say "no" to his daughter about having tea time because he's going out to play football with his friends, he realizes she has Doritos. He's all in. Cute and funny, but still conveys the stereotype that a dad only cares about himself and is the unresponsible parent. Place a mom in the role of the father in this commercial and see if Doritos is in business by today.
The Servant Dad | Jeep | USO
This Jeep | USO commercial shows the sacrifice of all military families and does well to include dads. Nice work Jeep | USO and Oprah!
The Avoidance Dad | Kia "Space Babies"
While I am no stranger to making up answers as a dad, and I also laughed at this commercial when it aired live, it's funny but not. When one considers that what we celebrate we replicate -- do we really want to celebrate a dad making up where babies come from and avoiding the question until his son gets the info somewhere else? What's easier to say, a story about "space babies" or that babies come from a man and woman who are married to each other, like the characters in the commercial? Just a thought...
How do you think dads were portrayed in the Super Bowl commercials?
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photo credit: marsmet481
Today, you probably know Tony Dungy as the anaylst on NBC's "Football Night in America". But Dungy retired as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts after making the playoffs in each of his last 10 seasons (7 with Indianapolis; 3 with Tampa Bay). With his win of Super Bowl XLI, he became the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl as the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears.
In 2002, National Fatherhood Initiative awarded Tony with a Fatherhood Award in San Antonio, TX. Long before Tony won the Super Bowl, NFI knew he was a Super Dad. Watch this clip of Tony receiving his 2002 Fatherhood Award and let Tony's words inspire and challenge you about the importance of being an involved dad today.
Tony’s recalls upon receving the Fatherhood Award:
In 1997 I got an award for NFL Coach of the Year. Five years later, receiving this award is really no comparison. This certainly means a lot more to me and it’s quite a honor and so humbling to be here with other dads recognized tonight. Watching these ads (tv ads were shown at the event) it's touching and every single one you can relate to probably the one for me that I relate to the most is the first one “Catch” with the little boy playing ball because we have a 10-year-old and yesterday he wanted to play baseball. We’re up in Indianapolis, we’re moving up there, and we don’t have all of our stuff, we had to go find a stick and we made a little taped-up ball and he beat me 23-2 with a stick ball.
So as we were talking about coming down here, I said (to my son), “What’s the most fun you’ve ever had with me?” And he’s got to do a lot of things, he’s been on the floor of the Metrodome, he’s went with me to the NFC Championship Game and stayed in the Ritz-Carlton and held my cord on the sideline, he’s been to Hawaii to the Pro Bowl and held my cord on the sideline, and he said, “Well, the most fun I’ve had was beating you in stickball!” And his reasoning was something that really touches this, I said “How can that be the most fun with all the things you’ve done?” And he said, “Because that’s what we did TODAY!” That’s what it is in a kids’ mind, it’s not what you do, it’s if you’re there to do it with them and I would encourage you to be there to do things with your kids.
Visit our Fatherhood Award page to see a full list of Fatherhood Award recipients through the years.
Ive been trying to avoid cliché topics while blogging about fatherhood: easy, male-oriented things like sports, cars, and other supposed notions of manhood. However, its difficult to avoid, especially with the 2012 NFL Playoffs set to go underway next week. Ill be the first to tell you, I am not a huge football fan these days. The years of being a Washington Skins fan have begun to take their toll on my enthusiasm for the game.
To seriously date myself, over twenty-two years ago in 1989, a classic video game was born. To older gamers like myself, Tecmo Bowl a clunky simulation of NFL football was one of those iconic, male-bonding games that you just had to have if you owned a Nintendo Entertainment System. In high school, I can tell you that my studies suffered as result of playing this game to the point of aching thumbs and sleepless nights.
Although I wasnt a Chicago Bears fan, I played them in the video game because I admired late Hall Of Fame running back Walter Sweetness Payton and I got a chance to meet him in Washington, D.C. during an event for teens and sports in 1990. He was still a vision of health, much stronger looking in person than on television and I didnt get to say much to him. But I walked away thinking that I may have met the greatest running back of my time.
Payton played all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Bears, entering the Hall in 1993 after retiring in 1988. He unfortunately passed in 1999 at age 45 as a result of rare liver disease that made the muscle-bound Payton wither away. In the years gone by since his passing, books and articles have been written about Sweetness, but a story I recently came across
nearly crushed my image of him.
Cleveland publication The Plain Dealer
ran a piece last week focusing on an upcoming biography from writer Jeff Pearlman which digs deeper into Paytons life revealing dark secrets that could mar the legacy of the Bears legend. Infidelity, a child out of wedlock (that he reportedly didnt acknowledge), drug addiction and a hidden affinity for fast food are all laid out for fans to read. I didnt want to leap to judgment, but I couldnt ignore what I read.
Pearlman, a former Sports Illustrated
writer, was an old-school journalist who undoubtedly fact-checked with the best of them. Clearly hes not accepting vague accounts from the reported 678 interviews he conducted to complete his book. I trust the writer to have interviewed close friends of the player and write the truth. The truth, it appears, was less than glossy but does it take away from the fact that Payton did leave behind some sweetness along with his legacy?
In a series of interviews last fall, Connie, Paytons widow, disputed Pearlmans claims. She didnt deny that her husband was troubled, but she also didnt throw her husbands name into the gutter, nor confirm any of Pearlmans other claims. Mrs. Payton is also set to release her own memoir.
On the positive side, Walter and his wife started a foundation, which serves underprivileged children, and there is also a cancer research fund in Paytons name. His oldest child, Jarrett, assisted with running The Walter and Connie Payton Foundation
in the past.
The truth is, none of us will know what truly happened during Paytons life except for the parties involved which is immediately rendered one-sided because Payton isnt here to defend himself. Until then, Ill continue to think of Sweetness as one of the best ever to play the game and remember what his own son said during Paytons Fame induction, I am sure my sister will endorse this statement, we have a super dad.
Payton was not only a role model for many in his sports position, but as a husband and father he was a role model at home. Thats why NFI places such an importance on helping men understand the value - and difficulties of - entering the union of marriage. Men considering marriage, or those organizations working with young men, may want to consider NFIs Why Knot?
program, a perfect place for men to start before making the vital leap into matrimony. Learn more at www.fatherhood.org/why-knot
It was good to see that an NFL team was smart enough to draft Myron Rolle. Despite being the top high school recruit in his class year and an All-American at Florida State, many pro teams were lukewarm and questioned his commitment to football because Rolle choose to forgo playing his senior year to accept the Rhodes Scholarship, thus keeping the scholar in scholar-athlete. (Check out the video here
to see just how impressive this young man is.)
With the considerable money at stake, I certainly understand concerns that Rolles skills may be a tad rusty after taking a year off but some of comments by NFL prognosticators were just nonsensical. For example, former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick said Rolle's intellect could be a hindrance on the field: "If you want to create hesitation on a guy, make him think. This guy can't help but think." Huh???
I played football in college at Princeton and I raised a son who was a scholarship football player at the University of North Carolina. One thing that I remember vividly is that whenever I made a bone head mistake, my coach would admonish me to get my head out of myshall we sayhindquarters and get it in the game. Thats coachspeak for think. So, it makes me wonder if there is not something else going on here. Could it be that some dont want other college players to follow Rolles lead and take full advantage of their scholarships by making their studies a priority? That would certainly make life more difficult for college coaches because practice times usually conflict with biology lab times. Well, I hope this is not the case, especially given the dismal graduation rates in many top college football programs and the need for more African American men--football players or not-to earn college degrees.
Interestingly, its not hard to see why Rolle has taken the path that he has. On hearing Billicks comments, Rolles father, Whitney, said, "These people, they feel as though you can show commitment in only so many ways. We have taught all our kids if you're going to do something, do it 100%, so to hear these people say that they question his commitment to football, it's a disgrace.
I couldnt agree more
Fortunately, Rolle has gotten some good coaching at home over the years.
Following on the heels of the Brodrick Smith story, Tennessean.com
reports that Vince Young stepped in to be dad to Trenton and Tyler, the two younger sons of the late Steve McNair. The boys' school hosted a Dear Dads event, and Young surprised Trenton and Tyler by showing up and having breakfast with them."Those are my boys," Young told the Tennessean. "I wouldn't say it was to pay anyone back; it was just out of love. Steve would do it for me. He pretty much did it for me when I was growing up. I have a history with the boys and I want to do anything I can. I am their big brother."
The one thing that seems absolutely clear here is that Trenton and Tyler need a father, and Young is willing to make the sacrifices necessary for the boys to have that. We need more dads (and father figures) like Vince Youngs, and not just for children whose fathers have been forcibly removed from their life by violence, but also for those children whose fathers are unable or unwilling to be involved. In any case, kudos to Young - for great performance on and off the field.
Buffalo Bill-great, Bruce Smith, gave a stirring speech at his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame over the weekend.
Throughout his remarks, Smith spoke of the positive, life-changing influence his father had on him. Here are a few choice lines:
"He didn't tell me what it means to be a man, he showed me by example."
"Because I knew I was important to my father, I understood my significance in the world."
It is clear that the strength of this family helped them get through many struggles throughout Bruce's childhood.
Smith also spoke of his love for his mother, and his dedication to his wife and son. To his son he said, "Austin, my son, the unconditional love I have in my heart is like none other I have ever experienced before.... I am so proud of the respectful, empathetic human being that you have become. The path that you will follow in life is yet unknown, but I know this for sure; that your courage, intelligence, and strength in character will be your guiding compass."
A great fatherhood legacy is being passed on in the Smith family - from Bruce's father, down to him, and down to his son. It is a beautiful, powerful thing to watch. View his whole speech here
Just when we thought we were done grieving the loss of several celebrities (well, perhaps the media will never give up on grieving Michael Jackson), former NFL quarterback Steve McNair's life was tragically taken this past weekend.
As people praise "Air McNair" for his electric performances and thrilling stats, there is another side of the story to look at: the four children he left behind.
Sadly, fact of the matter is, he left his four kids - Junior, Stephen, Tyler, and Trenton - behind long before he left this earth. Like too many high-profile athletes, McNair wasn't the leader he needed to be off
the field. McNair left his family behind in pursuit of his mistress, giving his children a tarnished legacy, a bad example, and a violent separation from their father.
Not surprisingly, McNair himself was raised without a father. It seems as though history is once again poised to repeat itself, as it does so often with father absence.