Television

Super Bowl XLIX: Greatest Show on Earth?

After unprecedented hype, was the big game truly a big deal?

Last year's game was the most watched television event of all time, so it's not surprising that Super Bowl XLIX was heavily hyped. For weeks, it seemed as if the national news media could speak of nothing else but the anticipation for and the expectations of the event. Now that everything has been said and done, was it even worth watching? Read on and find out.

Pregame

Despite the fact that NBC had listed that their pre-game show started at 12PM CST, the actual kickoff show didn't start until 5PM. The first five hours of NBC's coverage was devoted to player interviews, sportscaster analysis, human interest stories, and the regular, boring type of commercials.

There were no flashy, celebrity-narrated team intros this year, just Carrie Underwood's usual pre-taped NFL opener with altered lyrics for “the big game”. John Legend also performed a simple, if not rushed, “America The Beautiful” before Idina Menzel delivered an a cappela version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.



After some more sportscaster analysis and commercials, the Seattle Seahawks won the coin toss and the game began.

First and Second Quarters

Experts couldn't agree on who was more likely to win, but both the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks twisted around and tripped all over the field for much of the first half of the game without a point between them. As a zero to zero score loomed over most of the second quarter, anchors were reduced to saying funny phrases like “this is a funny group” and “this is man-on-man here”.

Coincidentally, an ongoing theme throughout the new commercials that debuted tonight was fatherhood, and how that makes the measure of a real man.


With less than ten minutes to before half-time, a roly-poly touchdown led to the Patriots gaining seven points. Within minutes, the score was a dramatic 14 to 14.


Halftime

People expected Katy Perry, famous for wearing cupcake bras, pizza jumpsuits, and various other types of kooky clothes, to wear something crazy, and despite her three costume changes, her wardrobe mostly underwhelmed.

Perry teased that she would “make history” by arriving to the stage in a way that no other performer would, but it turned out that she stood on the back of a gigantic robotic-looking bear, or tiger, as the lyrics to “Roar” suggest. It was actually some sort of puppet on stilts contraption, with its operators turning into shiny back-up dancers during “Dark Horse”. Perry actually didn't sing any of her songs in full, with her “I Kissed A Girl” duet with Lenny Kravitz lasting for about 60 seconds.

Surprisingly, the best part of her performance came during her “Teenage Dream” / “California Gurls” bit, when dancing palm trees, surfboards, beach balls, and sharks joined the rest of her back-up dancers.

During a press conference, Perry hinted that she would be teaming up with a real “throwback” and it would be “a female fun night”. Her special guest turned out to be Missy Elliot, who took over lead vocals on “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It”. Perry actually disappeared at some point, only to rise above the stadium on a star-spangled crane. Naturally, a fireworks show accompanied her final song segment, “Firework”.


The Commercials

With 30-second spots selling for a reported $4.5 million USD, the pressure was on for advertisers to make the most of their commercials. The results were mixed, with many ads featuring advanced special effects but little payoff. However, there was plenty of classic cuteness and grand productions, such as this already-beloved Budweiser spot.


Third and Fourth Quarters

It eventually became the kind of game where if you looked away for a minute, you missed something. As the third quarter winded down, with a score of 14 to 24, a Seahawks victory seemed obvious. But as the players faces furrowed, sportscasters warned that the game could go on all night.

Two touchdowns in the fourth quarter gave the Patriots a four point lead. After a potential interception led to a somewhat controversial call. A victory for New England then became imminent.

And that's when the fight broke out. Various players were shoving and throwing half-hearted punches at each other, seeming started by a few frustrated Seahawks. Regardless, the final score was New England 28, Seattle 24.


Post-Game

The usual confetti-drenched speeches and trophy kissing commenced, with the end only 20 minutes behind schedule. NBC followed up the game with a new episode of The Blacklist, local news, and a special edition of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon live from Arizona.

In conclusion, the commercials were a little underwhelming, and the half-time show was a little sloppy, but the last half of the game did make for compelling television. Is it worthy of being the highest rated show in TV history? No, but you could wind up watching something a lot more boring on any given Sunday night.



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