Super Bowl LV was held on Sunday, between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As usual, here’s my thoughts on the commercials and halftime show.
Overall, the ads for this year’s Super Bowl were pretty mixed. The pandemic likely cut into what could and couldn’t be done production-wise?
- An eTrade ad with a boy exercising after seeing a video by a woman boxer on how to “be the best.”
- The various Paramount+ ads, especially the final one. (There’s also a minute and a half long version here.) Seeing Patrick Stewart (in a tuxedo), Dora the Explorer, Leonardo (from the 2000s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” version), RuPaul, Stephen Colbert, and SpongeBob SquarePants in the same ad was great. (Also Colbert admitting the whole premise is weird.) We even got a rendition of the SpongeBob song “Sweet Victory,” which we didn’t really get (despite promises to the contrary) at the Super Bowl a few years ago.
- Bud Light with an “Avengers: Endgame”-style crossover/team-up between all of their ads’ characters.
- Squarespace and its office-set ad using the Dolly Parton song “9 to 5.” For the record, I’ve never used Squarespace.
- An ad pushing a “manly” soap brand, which while meant to be joking, still feels dated.
- The evening’s most bizarre ad, for an oat milk brand. The CEO of the company’s shown singing some song about it, while playing an electric keyboard in the middle of a field.
Despite lots of current rhetoric about “reaching across the aisle”/”reuniting as a country” after the election (and last month’ s storming of the Capitol building by racist Trump supporters), we only got a few ads trying to push that idea. A Jeep ad in particular, featuring someone from a stereotypical small Midwestern town.
The NFL also ran an ad touting a commitment to fighting racism. Except that Colin Kaepernick still isn’t playing for any NFL team, plus there’s very few Black majority owners or coaches of NFL teams. Others online have commented on how hollow this ad rings.
The halftime show
The halftime show this year featured music star The Weeknd. An OK performance; they seemed to handle (sort of) the issue of masks by having the backup performers wear such.
The game itself
As for the game itself, I was hoping for the Packers to make it, not the Buccaneers (and ex-Patriots star Tom Brady). Thus, I rooted for the Chiefs by default. Too bad the game didn’t go as I wanted by a long shot (the Buccaneers won 31-9).
I also saw some grumbling on Twitter about whether or not to hold the game itself during a pandemic. Said grumbling’s justified; while they limited the stadium crowd, it’s still a large number of people present in one spot. (About 25,000 people, as it turns out.) Playing in front of an empty stadium would’ve been a better option.
Meanwhile, the pre-game ceremonies included a taped performance of Alicia Keys singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Youth national poet laureate Amanda Gorman also read a poem, which is highly unusual for a professional sporting event. As noted above, while nice gestures, the NFL still has a long ways to go to make progress.