Last night a football game was played. Did you watch?
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Super Bowl 50 last evening. Without an emotional investment in the game, I watched it as an impartial fan just wanting to see two teams play hard in front of the best backdrop in sports. As I snacked on junk food and went to town on the delicious sausage queso dip that Sidney makes, I sat in front of the television for four hours watching the highest rated block of TV of the year. It was awesome.
As I did last year with my Super Bowl XLIX commentary, I want to do the same thing with this year’s game. So down…set…HIKE! Here we go…
The Game: I don’t know how people get away with saying last night’s defensive battle between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers was boring. I personally enjoyed every minute of it. It was a hard-hitting, close, strategic contest. Sure it wasn’t an evening where the scoreboard was lit up but come the fourth quarter the result was still in doubt. Besides a couple moments from Cam Newton, all individuals from both teams played hard and I was on the edge of my seat. It wasn’t a snoozer by any means.
I thought the officiating for the most part was solid. Carolina got a tough break early when an incompletion that looked like a catch was upheld after it went to replay. Not long after that, Denver got screwed on a taunting call. After those two questionable calls wiped each other out it was a very well-handled game. Super Bowls are always better when the referees don’t help decide the outcome.
I give a pass to the announcing crew. To be completely honest, I never really noticed Jim Nantz or Phil Simms that much during the broadcast. In my mind, that is a good sign and a tribute to the announcers. At the start of the game, Mike Carey (officiating expert) had another embarrassing reversal on what he predicted, capping an awful season for him on CBS, but was then never used again. I thought Tracy Wolfson did a good job on the sidelines and interviewed Peyton Manning well at the conclusion of the game.
When it comes down to it, we did watch both Peyton Manning and Cam Newton play terrible games. But I think the defensive gem was enough to bypass the sloppy performances of the quarterbacks. I was pulling for the Panthers to win. It would have been great for our area and great for the social media channels here at Coastal (Josh Norman and Mike Tolbert are both CCU alums). However, watching Peyton Manning go out with the ring isn’t that bad. During his career he always competed hard while conducting himself with class and humility. I like seeing those types of athletes leave the game on top.
Halftime Show: Before I tell you what I thought of the halftime show, I have to tell you that I am not particularly a fan of Coldplay, Beyonce, or Bruno Mars. In fact, when the headliner was first announced I let out a depressed sigh.
But with all that said, I ended up enjoying halftime. I thought it was an entertaining show. I don’t know if I really got too excited over the individual performances of the artists but I thought it was really cool when they all came together and performed the same song. I didn’t really dig the rainbow theme or the people running out with Coldplay’s lead singer to begin the set but I did sense energy when the three superstars shared the stage together. I was also a sucker for the dance off.
I did appreciate the flashbacks to past Super Bowl halftime performances but as I tweeted immediately when they started showing them, it just made a shortcoming of this year’s show too obvious: it took place in daylight.
Of course when you rotate the Super Bowl and tinker with kickoff times, you are going to have games in west coast cities where halftime falls before dark. I understand there is nothing you can do about that. But an insane pyrotechnic show and a brilliantly lit stage will always add something extra to a halftime show.
The Commercials: I wasn’t disappointed with the commercials. Although folks immediately fell into the trap I warn about every year and blasted this year’s ads, I thought most were well done.
I never base my rating of Super Bowl commercials on how “funny” they are. Instead, I always look at how impactful they were. The slate of ads this year did manage to make me think past the game. I thought the Mini Cooper spot that took on stereotypes was superb. I thought the technology and storyline that made up the Coca-Cola Mini commercial with Ant Man and the Hulk was really cool. Going back to another car ad, I thought the Prius police chase was engaging and fun. My favorite Super Bowl commercial of 2016 though was the Taco Bell Quesalupa “bigger than…” spot. It was a fun look at modern day pop culture and it had a lot of us salivating in front of our televisions. Over the years I have consistently said that I look up to the Taco Bell marketing team with complete respect and admiration.
I don’t do slap stick ads (sorry Doritos and singing lambs) and I wasn’t impressed with the Super Bowl babies campaign. But even with those inserted in this year’s lineup, I think the Super Bowl commercial crop was pretty good for the most part.
For me, when it comes to the theme of last night I have one word: surprise.
I never thought the Broncos would put up such a good fight, let alone defeat the Carolina Panthers to take Super Bowl 50. But a little surprise every now and then isn’t a bad thing, especially when you don’t have a horse (or Bronco) in the race. Congrats Denver and Peyton, live it up. Don’t Blink.