Terry Tate: Tackle Jackson

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It was great getting a digital video recorder from my cable company in time to watch last Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show.

That way, I could join the thousands who massively fast-forwarded after the game to watch the riveting end to Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson's live-TV career.

Rewinding to the breast-cam moment immediately after it aired "live" also was very popular, DVR provider TiVo reported last week.

Bizarre acts of self-exposure — the new killer app!

I heard that if you looked really closely, you could see an online casino's Web address, but I couldn't find it.

By the way, thanks, ER, for digitally clouding over the image of an 80-year-old woman's breast during last Thursday's show.

Can you imagine if that had aired live? Medical-school applications across the country might have plummeted.

But back to the game: Despite my uninformed skepticism (published in this space two weeks ago) about whether it would prove worthy of HDTV, Patriots-Panthers turned out to be highly entertaining. It provided many great moments to rewind through during the commercial breaks.

My skepticism about the ads was warranted. They weren't worth replaying (although we did have three screenings of the recorded game: one for the game, one for the ads and of course one for the end of the halftime show).

Uh, Mr. Powell — Nelly grabbing his crotch is offensive, but the back end of a horse blasting into a woman's face is wholesome entertainment? What about the ad with the dog biting a man in that sensitive area? No penalty flags for that?

The Super Bowl games are getting better — at least when the Patriots are in them — but the ads (like the ones referenced above) are regressing. The best ones are on the Internet now, like Reebok's Terry Tate office linebacker series. People loved watching Tate flatten office droids for making personal long-distance calls or forgetting to refill the coffee pot. But they weren't always sure what product Tate was promoting. Now, people seek them out on the Web, and can't help noticing the Reebok connection.

They should have had Terry Tate tackle that streaker with the big Web site tattoo who delayed the second-half kickoff.

Talk about bad timing for streaker guy — upstaged just moments earlier by a single female body part. That should have been a tip-off that it just wasn't his day.

Declining Super Bowl ad quality is definitely a bad trend, as the big game is one of the only times people actually pay attention to the commercials. With DVR penetration on the rise, this should have been the best year for ads, because so many people now have the ability to avoid them.

The box I got is Motorola's new DCT-6208. It only has one tuner, so it can't record one channel while another channel is airing live. That's a bit of a bummer. But you can record one show while watching something else you recorded earlier — like highlights from the 1991 Super Bowl, recorded on ESPN. The ads from that game were really great.

Being a long-time employee of ad-supported publications, I still feel a little guilty blasting through commercials, so I've been giving them at least a cursory glance as I fast-forward through "my recordings," as TV Guide Interactive calls them.

I won't stop and watch, though, until Terry Tate or someone equally clever appears.