Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl motivational technique - Phil Collins?

It's the Sunday morning before the Super Bowl, and I just half-heard someone on ESPN saying that one of the team coaches - I couldn't catch which team - played Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" for his players.

Normally when you thinking about a motivational song for a sports team, you think of something raucous. But you can't argue with success:

[Dwight] Clark’s stories of the 49ers’ first Super Bowl, Super Bowl XVI in Detroit, feel so real, so unaffected, it is like listening to Everyman playing in his first Super Bowl.

Everyman, like nearly all NFL players before a game, needed to capture the mood of the battle. So Everyman was in the 49ers’ locker room listening to Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” on his headphones to arouse the necessary emotion.

“Getting ready to hit somebody,” is how he put it.

But a little later, one would suspect that listening to an English person subconciously put Clark on the wrong side of the road.

During pre-game Clark loosened up - by jogging up the Cincinnati sideline.

“I was running up the sideline when I looked around and wondered, ‘Where are our guys (49ers)?’” Clark said. “I was running up the wrong sideline. I played it off like I was doing a lap around the field.”

And the 49ers won, so I guess it worked out OK.

Plus, Washington Redskin Chris Cooley likes the song, as does Cleveland Cavalier (basketball) player Mo Williams.

As I noted above, however, Collins is one of those English types to whom "football" instinctively has a different meaning. Although in this case, Collins is very familiar with what type of football is played at the Super Bowl. You see, he has performed at a Super Bowl (XXXIV, 2000, Rams vs. Titans), which earned him condemnation from (yes, Cracked):

If the Super Bowl was really for football fans, every year's halftime show would be the same: John Cougar Mellencamp, Bruce [Springsteen] or Kid Rock covering songs from Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet as an attractive woman blows up household furniture with M-80s. In actuality, the Super Bowl is the Jerry Maguire of television events, pretending to be about football while catering to people who think a first down is something you pull off a baby goose....

Phil Collins
Super Bowl XXXIV, 2000
Rams Vs. Titans

"Hey, he's the guy with the song about the 'air tonight,' right? Isn't that about letting someone die or something? That sounds kind of bad ass."

Hey, he's the guy who brought us soft-pop shitbombs like 'Sussudio' and recently penned the soundtrack to the decade's most mind-numbingly stupid children's film, Brother Bear, right?

Well, if I ever figure out whether it was the Steelers or the Cardinals who used Collins as a motivational tool, we'll see whether they had the same success that Dwight Clark did.
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