Last year’s Super Bowl, with over 120 million viewers, was the most-watched event in the history of television. In recent years, the big game has expanded into a sort of non-denominational holiday, in which there’s something for nearly everybody. But how did this year’s game, the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, fare? Read on to find out.
CBS’ coverage began at 1 PM CST with “Super Bowl Today”, their name for four hours of interviews, sportscaster analysis, trivia, and occasional on-field musical performances from artists as diverse as Sam Hunt and Seal.
Some new commercials debuted during these hours, like Turkish Airways’ Batman Vs. Superman-themed spots.
The Kick Off Show launched with a star-studded video montage, in which Kevin Bacon, Lady Gaga, Jamie Foxx, Bugs Bunny, Garth Brooks, and more discussed their favorite Super Bowl moments and traditions. The best part was when Big Bird listed his favorite Super Bowl snack as “birdseed in a blanket”.
The rest of the pre-game was very patriotic, as the Armed Forces Chorus sang “America the Beautiful” while surrounded by the United States Army Color Guard, who held individual state flags. Actress Marlee Matlin delivered sign-language translations as a subdued Lady Gaga sang an operatic version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
The Carolina Panthers may have won the coin toss, but the Denver Broncos scored the game’s first ten points in a rather quick succession.
Many of this year’s commercials had big budgets and celebrity cameos, like these spots for Snickers and Avocados from Mexico, but had little resulting payoff.
2ND QUARTER and HALF-TIME
As it turns out, the Panthers’ biggest enemy wasn’t Peyton Manning, but the referee. With half-time drawing near, Carolina scored some much-needed points, but still finished the quarter down by six points.
Janelle Monae’s new Pepsi commercial launched the half-time show, which took place during sunset.
Chris Martin crouched down on the field and sang a little bit of “Yellow” as a crowd rushed the stage. He joined the rest of Coldplay on the LED screen-lit stage for “Viva La Vida”. As hundreds of fans waved and flower/parasols danced, they were joined in on “Paradise” and “Adventure of a Lifetime” by child violinists and a large marching band.
The camera jarringly switched over to surprise guest Mark Ronson’s record-spinning, as Bruno Mars seemed to crash the Coldplay concert with his “Uptown Funk!”.
Beyonce and a team of post-apocalyptic-looking dancers interrupted with a performance of “Formation and a few notes of “Crazy in Love” before they were all mixed into a glittery remix of “Uptown Funk!”.
Organizers had promised that this year’s show would honor “50 years of half-time performances”. Well, what we got was an underwhelming video slideshow of past performances. Coldplay launched into “Clocks” and “Fix You”, but mixed in lyrics from previous half-time performers.
For the final encore, Beyonce and Bruno Mars joined Coldplay on the same stage to sing “Up & Up”, but if you listened carefully, you could still hear parts of “Uptown Funk!”. Regardless, any half-time show that doesn’t end in a major wardrobe malfunction can be considered a success.
3RD QUARTER and 4TH QUARTER
Many things were tried and many things were ruled out as the the referee temporarily became the most famous man in America. It didn’t make for compelling television, but Denver continued their lead with a score of 16 to seven.
Even the commercials started to get weird as we were introduced to Turbotax.com the dog and the diarrhea dinosaur enjoyed the game.
Considering the fact that the vast majority of the pre-game consisted of sportscasters speculating about “39-year-old” Peyton Manning and the “confident” Cam Newton, they weren’t really that much crucial to the last half of the game. The score eventually rose to a glaringly obvious ten to 24, with the Broncos smiling and congratulating one another minutes before the game was officially declared as finished.
Denver Bronco Van Miller was declared the 2016 NFL MVP, and he is a man of few words. The microphone was soon turned over to Manning, who defied much speculation by not announcing any retirement plans. Before we knew it, the biggest show in the world was over, and it was all a little underwhelming.