Commentary

Power Rankings: New Orleans edition

Originally Published: February 8, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

You've intercepted another edition of the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Gregory Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, the computer we tapped is the trends predictor that told all the ad agencies that what America really wanted to see on Super Bowl Sunday was lots of ugly people in their underwear. (Shivers!) To the results!

1. Bourbon Street Rebirth

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
10.0 10.0 20.0

Credentials: We don't just mean the rebirth of a moribund NFL franchise after four decades ... combined with the rebirth of the city after Hurricane Katrina ... and those iconic photos of proud papa Drew holding up his headphones-rockin' baby, Baylen, who's so darn cute he makes the E-Trade baby look like the Elephant Man. All we're saying is that nine months from now, New Orleans hospitals should expect a baby boom with the No. 1 name among the birth certificates being "Finally." (Note to Baylen: Just because your dad's an awesome Saints QB, don't think for one minute you're allowed to grow up and lead the Colts to a Super Bowl win.)


2. Peyton's Pick

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.8 9.5 19.3

Credentials: After all these years, at last the remaining Ryan Leaf loyalists can say, "See? Our guy was the right choice! When was the last time you saw Leaf throw a crucial interception in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl?" For those of you who don't believe entire lives can hinge on some other person's one lousy play forever, ask yourself this: What's the minimum amount of time Archie Manning has to stay away from Saints functions before he's allowed back on the bandwagon? "Of course I had to root for my son outwardly during the game. But all along I was secretly hoping he would screw it up! So you guys owe me. I jinxed him on your behalf! You understand, right? Who Dat Saints! Whee!"


3. Super Bowl Commercials

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.1 8.7 17.8

Credentials: Two of our favorites were the Letterman-Leno surprise party and the Doritos guy who faked his own funeral so that he could bury himself in chips. Now if only we could wrangle a mash-up of those so that Leno is told he has to eat his way out of a Doritos-filled coffin -- but someone's already nailed the casket shut.


4. The Who

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.9 8.6 17.5

Credentials: Actually, we found the fossilized rock band's set to be surprisingly inspirational. Namely, it inspired us to envision the next edition of a tearjerking Google Search commercial. But instead of a guy pursuing the girl of his dreams in Paris, we're desperately typing a search for "PLEASE find us a crowd-pleasing, non-decrepit music act for the next Super Bowl halftime show!"


5. Danica Patrick

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.8 7.7 15.5

Credentials: Danica, Danica, Danica, how do we put this delicately? Many of us want to see you succeed on the track. Some of us would welcome your becoming as ubiquitous a spokesperson as Dale Jr. or Peyton. So why do you insist on making these nonsensical GoDaddy.com tease shows year after year? It's gotten to the point where you are now the equivalent of the most popular girl in high school who is trying to impress the dorky sports nerds in the cafeteria by smearing sloppy joe meat all over her face. In other words, please hire better publicists before the lunch lady runs out of tater tots.


6. Tim Tebow

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.6 7.5 15.1

Credentials: And all the uproar was to prove ... what? That momma Pam Tebow spent more time enjoying watching "Three Stooges" pratfalls with Timmy back in the day than poppa Bob did? Next thing you know, Troy Polamalu's mother is going to star in a commercial in which she claims doctors told her while she was carrying her son that he would be born with a rare shrinking condition such that people would mistake him and his stunted growth for a groundhog. Hey, at least that would look funny in Super Bowl commercials.


7. LeBron Vs. Knicks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 6.4 12.2

Credentials: What possesses a man to taunt his possible future employer by scoring 47 points in one game against them, 35 in the first half and 24 in a row? And please don't tell us it was part of a bet to win back his Big Mac that was stolen by Larry Bird in The King's commercial with Dwight Howard. Those "Betcha a hamburger!" ads never even made sense in the original with MJ. These guys are worth how many millions of dollars, and they're killing themselves for a chance at 39 cents worth of meat? At least if the New York beatdown was part of a commercial shoot, the Knicks could use the excuse that "The Hamburglar" had infiltrated their lineup.


8. Expanded March Madness

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 5.5 10.6

Credentials: Stop acting so aghast at the prospect of the field swelling to 96 teams. Embrace this as a learning opportunity! They say war is one way of teaching us geography. Similarly, an overexpanded field would introduce us to so many schools we knew so little about! For example, your bracket would require you to be familiar with not only Kentucky but also Western Kentucky. Not just Kansas, but the Kansas Institute for Optometry. Not just DeVry University, by DeVry A&M. Not just Princeton, but the Princeton Review Fightin' Test Takers. (Their mascot is a sharpened No. 2 pencil, by the way. See how enlightening this is?)


9. Tipsy Town

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.4 8.6

Credentials: Men's Health magazine reports in its March issue that Fresno, Calif., tops its list of the drunkest cities in America. We were going to try to elicit a reaction from anyone in city, but it turns out all residents have left for the rest of February to New Orleans to help celebrate the Saints' victory. Fortunately, the No. 2 city on the list, Reno, Nev., has volunteered to step up for Fresno into wingman role and accept the No. 1 mantle until things get back to normal. That's all you can ask for in a wingman.


10. Olympic Protesters

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.9 7.9

Credentials: See if you can keep this straight. Canadian anti-Olympic protesters are converging on Vancouver with the promise that their actions will be nonviolent. What they're protesting is that the money spent on Olympic infrastructures could have been better spent on education and social services. Ummm ... really? That's their beef? Listen, we're not trying to belittle anybody -- or worse, egg people on into doing something drastic -- but this sounds extraordinarily lame. Any dime spent on any stadium anywhere in history could have been better spent on education. For this, we're going to disrupt Canada's entire sleepy-time-based economy? This makes about as much sense as protesting that the Winter Olympics have too much snow. Or have too little snow. Now THAT would be a showdown. Pro-snow and anti-snow factions squaring off in downtown Vancouver for the all the world to see. We are very suddenly talkin' Snowpocalypse Now.


11. 'Super Bowl Shuffle' Redux

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.9 4.1 8.0

Credentials: Don't complain to the '85 Bears about their selling out to a phone company to resurrect their hit. Maybe they had vowed they would never make a second one until the Bears won another Super Bowl, but they finally got tired of waiting.


12. 'Dear John'

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.4 3.4 6.8

Credentials: Actually, the letter should go like this: "Dear James: So sorry my new movie punched your 'Avatar' out of the No. 1 spot for the weekend box office. Hope you don't mind you were kicked to the curb with a love story even more ludicrous than the one you vaguely tried to pawn off this time. And I didn't even need to paint anybody blue! Kisses, Nicholas Sparks."


13. Charles Barkley, Taco Bell Poet

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
1.4 2.5 3.9

Credentials: Did any Super Bowl commercial get a more universal thumbs-down than the one in which Sir Charles semicoherently raps about the glories of a sledgehammer to the gut's worth of Border grub? Maybe once the Bell releases Barkley from his contract, Burger King will capitalize on this by hiring him ... to support the McDonald's Dollar Menu.


Also receiving votes:
• "Undercover Boss": Prediction: This show will have jumped the shark when someone gets fired at a water cooler by starting water cooler talk about this show while unknowingly in the company of an actual undercover boss who is disguised as a water cooler maintenance guy.

• D.C. Snowpocalypse: It wreaked havoc with Wizards and Capitals games. With any luck, the snow won't melt until the Nationals are forced to cancel their entire 2010 season.

• Auto-Tune: It not only makes beer commercials funnier; it also makes this list funnier when someone reads it out loud to you. Or at least more high-pitched.

Never receiving votes:
• Valentine's Day shopping: Beware of a girlfriend who insists you spend two months' salary on Vermont Teddy Bears.

• Commercials about wimpy men: As a protest of all the Super Bowl commercials that made guys look like spineless chumps -- especially the commercial that insisted men treat themselves to a new brand of luxury soap -- we are hereby calling all dudearinos to cease and desist in their bathing for the next month. Or at least until better soap commercials start airing.

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.

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Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.