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Gilbert and Buckhantz: a Super Bowl Mystery

Taking photojournalism to a different level.

So I get an e-mail on Monday from a trusty reader asking me to check out the Super Bowl ad for Coca-Cola featuring the Wizards, G-Wiz, James Carville and Bill Frist. I completely ignored all the commercials on Sunday night, as I was incapacitated by stress, and I sort of forgot about the e-mail, but then I happened to catch the ad on my TiVo of American Idol last night, and I proceeded to watch it 4 million times in slow-motion, at which point I realized three things.

1) The audio of the brief clip of Wiz action was from Gilbert's game-winner against the Bucks last year, exactly 13 months before the Super Bowl. I know, because I had watched that clip about 4.1 million times last year, plus about 14 times already today. It's definite. Phil Chenier shouting "Ohhhhhhh Baby!" after Buckhantz has already begun the "Daggerrrrrr!" is the key.

2) The video--as seen in the Zapruder-like TiVo still that leads this entry--is of DeShawn Stevenson hitting a three-pointer against the Heat, a clip of unknown origin but believed to be from this season. (UPDATE: One reader writes in to say that Oleksiy Pecherov can be seen on the bench in the ad, while another says Nick Young and an injured Antonio Daniels are there as well, meaning the game must have been played this season, and since the Wiz only played Miami at home once this season, in late December, and Stevenson only hit one three-pointer in that game, we can say for almost certain that the score was actually 11-6 Wizards when the ball went in. And so the shot not only wasn't a game-winner but didn't even change which team was leading. And yes, one of these readers, the relentless Bryan Neill, confirmed that the three-pointer Stevenson made in that game came at the exact same spot on the court as the shot in the commercial.)

3) The final score in the commercial's game is 82-80 Wizards, a score by which Washington has never won in the Arenas era, although they do have 81-80 and 83-30 victories. Freakily, 82-80 was the final in Maryland's win over UNC last month.

Why switch up the games? Why choose to highlight DeShawn Stevenson, hardly a national star, for a shot that wasn't even a game-winner. Why use audio from a Bucks game in 2007 over top of video from a Heat game the following season? Why make the final score 82-80?

At press time, Coca-Cola was still looking into all of this, leaving me with the following quote from a company spokeswoman.

"The bigger picture is about two guys from opposite sides of the spectrum sharing a Coke, coming together and enjoying things that people might do in Washington, D.C.," she said. "A Wizards game is certainly one of those things."

At least one other blogger, Goathair of The Blowtorch, has also noticed parts of this mystery. Either way, this is one of the most baffling Wizards-related Super Bowl riddlers of all time, and I plan to do nothing else until I unravel it. That Coke will get free publicity out of this is, sadly, beyond my control.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 6, 2008; 1:21 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: Leigh Steinberg's Super Bowl Party


it looks like deshawn is hitting the shot!

Posted by: jaked | February 6, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you're on the case. Who says investigative journalism is dead?

Posted by: TSW | February 6, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Next task is to figure out the mystery of the Redskins game from Donnie Darko that never occurred.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | February 6, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

How are you going to explain folding to the corporate bottom liners to Fred Smoot and the Smack bar crew?

Posted by: | February 6, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

As you said it the audio is from the bucks game winning shot by Gilbert (Phil Chenier's "oh baby") and the video has to be from the Wizards-Heat game on December 29th at the Verizon Center when during which DeShawn hit one only three pointer. It has to be this game since if I'm not mistaking can see Gilbert on the bench with Songaila next to him and Pech next to Songaila. The Jerseys' colors match the one which were worn on December 29th. The scoreboard obviously's a fake (If they had put the real game's scoreboard it would have been Was 82 - Mia 55, and when DeShawn hit his three Was 11 - Mia 6 or of course the final score Was 96 - Mia 74).

Posted by: LilGil | February 6, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I didn't write that well did I lol, anyway I'm sure you understood....

Posted by: LilGil | February 6, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I think at the end of this mystery you're going to find the next Redskins head coach.

Tom Cruise.

Posted by: twoeightnine | February 6, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Next task is to figure out the mystery of the Redskins game from Donnie Darko that never occurred."

Wasn't that the Super Bowl against Denver?

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | February 6, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

one of the worst commercials of the night, simply because it's so factually inaccurate- Deshawn making a fourth quarter shot?

Posted by: ASK | February 6, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

who did the wizards beat 83-30?

Posted by: addingnothing | February 6, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Wasn't that the Super Bowl against Denver?"

It's been a while since I saw the movie so I might have some details wrong, but I know it took place in October (leading up to Halloween) and I think it was in '88. In the movie the Skins lost a home game, but in real life they won all of their home games that month. My only thought is that Donnie fixed the Skins game when he travelled back in time to save his girlfriend.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | February 6, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

if coke really wanted to enhance gilbert in the commercial, they would have promoted COKE ZERO. carville was recently at the game with russert but i've never seen frist at the verizon center.

Posted by: brad | February 7, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

What really makes this odd is that Gilbert endorses Vitamin Water, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola. Gil even has a pair of Gill II Zeros coming out in a "Coke Zero" colorway.

Posted by: Keynote | February 7, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Another reason why I'm a Steinberg fan. It's like he reads my mind! Saw the commercial when it happened, thought i was delusional, so I youtubed it the next day and confirmed that it was indeed what I thought it was. Noticed that it wasn't Gilbert shooting the 3 and realized the sound didn't match the audio, was confused as to why they would do that, and my only regret is that I forgot to bug Steiny about it before someone else did...

Barno out.

Posted by: barno | February 7, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

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