After a very ho-hum post-season and a regular NFL season that saw a drop in TV ratings, Super Bowl Sunday saved the season with one of its greatest games of all time. The New England Patriots, the NFL’s current dynasty, broke the heart, will and backs of the Atlanta Falcons in the biggest Super Bowl meltdown in history. Take a stroll with me through memory lane, all the way back to Sunday, and see what I enjoyed about that glorious day called Super Bowl 51.
Love them or hate them, Tom Brady and Sith Lord Belichick just win Super Bowls, baby. The Patriots’ 25-point comeback victory will stand in the Super Bowl record books for a long time, if not forever. It was such an epic comeback that if you look across your office right now, you’ll probably see someone slowly shaking his or her head, still in awe.
Our party was in awe to the point of the comedic. After such a solid first-half drubbing that continued into the third quarter, our crowd had left the Patriots — who were trailing 28-3 at the time — for dead. After crawling back into the game at 28-12, our crowd’s “No chance” had turned into “there’s just not enough time.” Then, after Matt Ryan fumbled a ball away that the Patriots would eventually turn into eight points, the “Not enough time” mantra turned into, “There’s just no way, right?”
The rest — because we’re talking about the Patriots — seemed to play out exactly as it should have. The Falcons were a short field goal away from going up 11 points and ending any hopes of a comeback, they screwed that up royally, Patriots march to tie the game with their second two-point conversion of the night, game goes to overtime, you knew the Patriots would win the coin toss, they did, Atlanta’s defense is toast, ball game, fifth Super Bowl championship. Amazing. Also, my friend Jason’s pigs-in-a-blanket were delicious.
Ga Ga ooh-la-la! You know the chant. Lady Gaga took over the halftime stage in Houston and did not disappoint. Today, it seems ridiculous to fathom a Super Bowl being played without a top-tier entertainer playing at half time, but, I’m old enough to remember the “Up with People” days. Now…stop, click that link, and thank me later.
Leading up to Super Sunday, there were rumors that the NFL requested Lady Gaga not to make any political statements. Lady Gaga complied…sort of.
Evidently feeling quite patriotic, Lady Gaga opened up her set by singing “Good Bless America,” which segued into a few lines from Woody Guthrie’s protest song, “This Land Is Your Land,” as Gaga pointed at a bank of drones lit up to resemble the American flag.
Then, Lady Gaga took over the stage, and her presence and professionalism ripped through the TV as she delivered a string of hits. One of the songs, “Born This Way,” is a positive jam that proclaims that no matter what race you’re a part of, what religion you follow, or the color of your skin, or your sexuality, we are all born this way, and all of us are perfect. See? Not political at all.
With that said, her political statements were held to a minimum and easy to miss as she rocked the stage with hit after hit, and when she took the stage in bedazzled shoulder pads and glitter shorts the night was won.
The Super Bowl ads played another big part in the “day” once again, but not in the way intended. For, I believe, the day of the almighty Super Bowl commercial is coming to an end. Now, I’m not saying that the costs won’t keep rising north of the astronomical $5 million mark for a 30-second commercial, but, to be honest, at the party I attended no one really cared. Instead of pretending it was a movie, we just opted to talk to one another and make jokes…like humans.
While the narrative of this year’s commercials are that the advertisers created a weak crop of ads, I think a more apt description is that the TV commercial market just doesn’t have the same impact as in year’s past. In our multi-platform, multi-screen age sitting around waiting for a commercial to come on just doesn’t make sense. Honestly, try to explain this aging phenomenon to a 10-year-old.
“You see, daughter. The great thing about the championship game is that not only do we watch the Super Bowl but we also get to watch the commercials!”
I promise you this. The tiny human will look at you like a madman and then correctly inquire why don’t you just wait until after the game to watch all of them at once, if they’re so good. And, just as importantly, they’ll wonder when in the hell are they supposed to go to the bathroom. The Super Bowl commercial is dead, y’all.
Atlanta Atlanta’s once again
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. The collapse for the history books couldn’t have happened to a better team, right? It would be hard enough to lose a game where you’re up 25 points, even if the other team had four quarters to try to catch up, but to give up such a lead in one and a half quarters, is “X-files” territory baffling.
It’s easy for us to point the finger and say, “Oh, well they kept passing when they should’ve done more running,” but on the other hand, if they ran more, folks would’ve said they got too conservative. And you know what — and this is what is most important.
WHO CARES. IT HAPPENED TO THE FALCONS.
Saints fans, at least the ones who didn’t publicly admit that they were rooting for the arch-enemy Falcons, rejoiced and danced and, at least in my neighborhood, shot off many, many fireworks. It was about as close as a fan could get to participating in the Super Bowl with a team that didn’t make the playoffs. It was just that kind of night.
New Orleans Saints – 1
Atlanta Falcons – 0
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Wasatch Brewery’s “Live and Let Live” Pale Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”
Around the Way
It’s been a long time since Sean Payton has said something as cool as he did this week in the run-up to the Super Bowl. Right when you think the guy has lost his fire he drops some heavy ill will, even with a smile, at the Atlanta Falcons. In an interview on NBC Sports, coach Payton left no doubt about his feelings, saying, “You want everything bad to happen to them this week at the Super Bowl.” You’ve got to love a rivalry.