Many troops saw Super Bowl, but no commercials

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLIV against Indianapolis on Sunday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLIV against Indianapolis on Sunday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

So, what was your favorite Super Bowl commercial? The bizarre Denny’s chickens freaking out? The Megan Fox lovefest? The increasingly bizarre Bud Light commercials that air every year?

Plenty of U.S. service members were unable to watch the game Sunday night due to operational commitments, but even those who did in many cases missed the commercials, which have their own little place in American culture.

Take the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which returned to its ships after completing earthquake relief work in Haiti and watched the game on Armed Forces Network, which airs public service announcements instead of rotting brains by airing commercials featuring flying Dorito ninja stars.

The MEU, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., posted semi-frantic updates on Facebook and Twitter about their quest to watch the game. First came this at 5:17 p.m. Sunday:

USS Nassau resupply complete – Marines and Sailors hoing signal comes back so we can watch Super Bowl

“Well, good for you guys!” supporters said. Then came this update at 6:30 — kickoff time.

So we have a signal!!!

Bingo! Good news! And then came another update that many civilians wouldn’t have expected at 7:23 p.m.:

Worst part of the SUper Bowl on ship – we don’t get to see any of the real commercials

Capt. Robert Shuford, a spokesman deployed with the unit, confirmed all those details in an e-mail to AfterAction.

“AFN does not play commercials but fills that time with different types of public service announcements,” he said.

The Super Bowl, it stands to reason, is probably the one piece of programming all year in which troops might actually miss watching the advertisements. On the upside, the MEU did post this update on Facebook after someone asked them if they sang along with The Who, who performed during halftime.

We did get to sing, and powerslide – Alot of Marines and Sailors are participating in ship’s activities for game
Well, there is that. And a congratulations to the 24th MEU for wrapping up their operations in Haiti.

About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


  1. clinton barrett on

    The above photo was not in the Super Bowl as the caption reads. The Saints wore away/white jerseys that day and the photo attached to the article had then in home/black jerseys.

  2. They didn’t miss a thing. Worst set of commercials to date. Can’t remember any of them as being worthy of a $3M pricetag.

  3. The same argument every year. If you’d rather- AFN can not air the superbowl at all.

    How much do you think Fox paid for the Superbowl this year? Judging from charging $3M per ad- it was probably a pretty penny.

    How much did AFN pay?

    Nothing. End of story. Major league sports, and big networks, movie channels etc etc give their programming to AFN at little to no cost on the stipulation that AFN does NOT air commercials because therefore AFN would be making a profit and not paying for programming that other networks have to pay for.

    I know it sucks- but geez, get a new complaint- or just DON’T WATCH!

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