The Super Bowl is an iconic American institution. By far the most watched TV show of the year, every year. It’s a cultural phenomenon that we all watch the Super Bowl even if it’s not our favorite team. However, I’ll take the Super Bowl and rate it as three separate silos.
1. Was it a good game of football, with up to the last minute, in some cases the last play, to determine the winner?
2. Was the halftime show entertaining?
3. Were the Super Bowl commercials great, fun, and memorable? The worst thing to say about a commercial is, “Oh yeah, I remember that commercial, I just don’t know what the product or service was.” That would be a waste of $7 million for a 30- seconds spot.
That year, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35, winning by a field goal with eight seconds remaining.
Yes, the New England Patriots have won six Super Bowls since the 2001 season, but they’ve won four of the six in the last 30 seconds of the Super Bowl.
Who can forget the Seattle Seahawks throwing a pass with 0:22 left at the half-yard line against the New England Patriots in 2015 that was intercepted by Malcolm Butler?
The 2017 Super Bowl, where the Atlanta Falcons beat the New England Patriots 28-3 in the third quarter. Game over. You can’t come back from a 25-point deficit. Yet somehow New England clawed, kicked and clawed their way back into a 28-28 draw, going into overtime and winning the game. Outrageous!
The 1991 Super Bowl where Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood went in for a field goal in the final game to win the game against the New York Giants and his kick went wide to the right and the Giants won 20-19 and the Buffalo Bills continued losing four consecutive Super Bowls.
Thank goodness the Super Bowl halftime show has gone from the University of Arizona Marching Band in 1967 to Judy Garland in 1968 to Up With People in 1971, 1978, 1980, 1982 and 1986 to the Silent Drill Team of the US Marine Corps in 1972 and Disney’s “It’s a Small World” in 1977. It wasn’t until 1991 that they found out Rockstars were making waves and had New Kids On the Block. This led to Michael Jackson in 1993, Diana Ross in 1996, Blues Brothers with ZZ Top (the worst Super Bowl lip-synch performance ever!) in 1997, Stevie Wonder in 1999, Phil Collins in 2000, Aerosmith and NSYNC in 2001 leading to U2 , the best Super Bowl halftime show ever in 2002. From there we had Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty and Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, The Who, Madonna, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Maroon 5 leads us to Rihanna.
Now comes the Super Bowl commercial. It started with Wendy’s 1984 Where’s the Beef commercial, in which the little old ladies point to burgers that barely show any meat. For me, the greatest advertisement of all time was the 1984 Apple Macintosh, which spoofed the Orwell novel 1984. A blue background (think IBM) while the shaved-headed clones silently watched the screen while the authoritarian ruler told them what to think. An Olympic athlete comes along with a hammer, which she throws into the screen, smashes it, and then fades in: “On the 24th, there was a crack at the IBM PC clones that Apple Computers was going to be a freestyle new form of computing. It worked.
The most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the year were Breaking Bad’s spoof of PopCorners snacks, which brought back classic characters Walter White and Jessie Pinkman. The Workday ad featuring aging rock stars Billy Idol, Ozzy Osborne, Joan Jett and Paul Stanley from Kiss. Finally, Ben Affleck dunks the Donuts commercial, which ends with J-Lo (his actual wife) pulling up at the drive-through and saying to him, “Is that what you do when you say you’re going to work all day?” ? Get me a glass one!” I would have let the next car pull up for Jennifer Garner (his ex-wife).
Matthew Owen lives in Eureka and believes the First Amendment allows free speech. He can be reached at [email protected]