Super Bowl LXVII sure was an odd duck, hmm?
Fitting, since the Ravens — also feathered creatures — ended up winning easily the most bizarre NFL Championship game ever played. Also fitting because it seemed like there was an inordinate number of storylines converging in New Orleans. From the retirement of and controversy surrounding Ray Lewis, to the 49ers quarterback situation, to the “Brother Bowl,” to the first post-hurricane Super Bowl played in the Superdome, to Beyonce and Destiny’s Child reuniting at Halftime…there was quite a bit going on.
I started off my day seeing how the people of the nation prepare for America’s most gigantic unofficial holiday, because it seemed like all of them had crowded into my grocery store. It was near-bedlam, the kind of madness usually reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But where those holidays have a bit of an edge to them, the Super Bowl crowd was more laid back. Not to say that they weren’t loud, inconsiderate, and obnoxious — because they absolutely were. But the stress is diminished. On those more formal holidays, you have to make something. Elaborate, even multiple dinners are required. With The Big Game…the most complicated thing most people make is x-Layer Dip. (Solve for x) I was just making chili and hot dogs for my parents, and the only complicated part of that was that I couldn’t make it spicy. Oh, and my sink drain is stopped-up, but that’s another story.
It is a constant source of bewildermusement to me that I ended up working in what is essentially a “people” business, because I have trouble with too many of them being around. Even when they’re being tolerable, it’s still unnerving and exhausting to deal with people en masse. But anyway…
When I got home and the chili was cooked and the game finally started, it looked like it might be one of the most boring Super Bowls. The Ravens jumped out to an early lead and the 49ers (and their inexperienced quarterback) looked exposed. The commercials were over-hyped as usual. A particularly horrid one featured a dreadfully uncomfortable “Babe-on-Nerd” make-out session that managed to be both repulsive and exploitative simultaneously. I did like the Oreo “Whisper Fight” ad, but very little else stands out to me.
Beyoncé appeared at Halftime, and was easily better than most of the Halftime Shows…which is damning her with faint praise. Destiny’s Child appeared with her on stage for a couple of minutes, which honestly felt more like an insult than a reunion. “Come forth and bask with me in my glory! Okay, that’s enough! Back into the cages with you!” A great many people found this performance revelatory in some way, I just found it decent. Which is, again, a HUGE step up for Super Bowl Halftime Shows, but nothing to gush about.
And then, near the beginning of the third quarter, the whole thing went sideways. The power went out at the Superdome. The announcers were eerily mute, as even the broadcast booth had been knocked out, so for a couple of minutes, we stared in confusion at a dimly-lit stadium, wondering…what the fuck? Eventually, the disembodied voices returned to tell us that crews were working on the power outage and then spoke about how this would change the game’s momentum. At length. If anyone in America decided to play a drinking game during this time, they would have transcended the mortal plane and become the living embodiment of alcohol with how many times “momentum” was uttered.
There was, of course, some playful insinuations that the 49ers killed the power…but if we look at who benefited most from the outage, Twitter emerges as the most likely culprit. With nothing to do and no real information coming out of New Orleans, viewers flooded into social media. Comments ranged from the speculative to the stupid, and there were a wave of jokes that blamed Beyoncé’s “overpowering” performance for blowing the lights out, but there was some good comedy to be had, and a little bit of real info: apparently this is not uncommon occurrence at the Superdome.
But if it was old hat for New Orleans, it was very new hat for the 108 million people that tuned in. And it did, in fact, turn out to be just what the 49ers needed, despite Phil Simms’s hilarious dismissal of the idea. San Francisco rattled off 17 unanswered points before the stunned Ravens finally got their shit together and realized it was still theirs to lose. There were some questionable calls by the refs, as there always are, but Baltimore weathered the storm of this furious comeback and capped their unlikely Super Bowl run…with a Super Bowl ring. San Francisco’s flawless Super Bowl record is now marred, but Ray Lewis gets to end his career on the highest note possible. It’s hard to know how to feel about that. Same goes for the whole experience. It was a truly bizarre Super Bowl, one not easily forgotten by…OH LOOK A SHINY THING