Super Bowl LVI: Last Second TD, Hip-hop Halftime, Crypto Ads Galore


America’s favorite Sunday – Superbowl Sunday — did not disappoint this year. Over 100 million viewers are estimated to have tuned in. Here’s a re-cap of the NFL’s championship game pitting the NFC West Los Angeles Rams (16 – 5) against the AFC North Cincinnati Bengals (13 – 8) in Superbowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. We also highlight the spectacle’s increasingly popular halftime show and Superbowl ads.

The Game 

Well, the game itself kept to the trend of the playoffs the last few weeks—exciting until the bitter end. Cincinnati’s quarterback Joe Burrow (aka Joe Cool) went a little too cold the last few minutes of the game and couldn’t take the Lombardi Trophy home for the team.  As a Steeler fan, it was a sign that things could slowly be getting back to normal, that the Bengals managed to “bungle” yet again. Who knows, maybe this pandemic could be over soon too? Fingers crossed.

Rams fans thought they were done for when wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. went down with a non-contact knee injury early in the game after an incredible catch for the first touchdown of the game. Beckham, Jr. sat out the rest of the game, but it didn’t stop the Rams from winning.

Bengals fans thought they too were done when Burrow was sacked with a terrifying looking knee injury — this time on the non-surgically repaired knee — and limped off the field. He toughed it out (as most would in the Super Bowl unless there were visible bone or blood) and unfortunately lost the game in the final seconds.

Rams quarterback Matt Stafford was as stubborn as my French Bulldog Tito, refusing to give up on a last-ditch 79-yard drive. On a four-yard pass with seconds to go in the game, he eventually connected in the end-zone with wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who was later named Super Bowl MVP.

FINAL SCORE:  Rams 23, Bengals 20

Halftime 

tweet from Rodger Sherman of The Ringer that started circulating during halftime really resonated: “Everybody born between 1985 and 1995 saw the Super Bowl halftime show lineup and was like “sweet, instead of doing a show for old people like the Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney or The Who they did one for us young people… and then 10 seconds later it hit us.” Sherman was right — we are the old people now! Extend those years to 1980-1995, and you will get the exact generation the halftime show was meant for.

There comes a time in a generation that the music of their childhood and teenage years becomes nostalgic and “retro.” As a person born in 1985, I officially recognized yesterday’s Super Bowl as that day and as the kids say, “we were here for it.”

The show provided an energetic and emotional tribute to the heritage of the West Coast Hip-hop sound that emerged out of Compton, with set design evoking a block of the neighborhood and featuring 50-something Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre rapping their greatest hits like “The Next Episode” and “California Love,” a homage to the late Tupac. Mary J. Blige came out looking fantastic (and a lot younger than 51!) in a crystal bodysuit. She sang “Family Affair” and “No More Drama.” Of course, that was all after surprise guest 50 Cent sang his iconic “In Da Club” song, beginning upside down, perhaps paying homage to the original music video. Poor Fitty got fat-shamed though, because just like the rest of us, it seems he gained a few pounds during these last few pandemic years. Too many “bottles fulla bub”?

Later, for the kids born after 1995, Kendrick Lamar who won a Pulitzer prize in Music in 2018 made an appearance, performing “M.a.a.D City” and “Alright.” Eminem came out, giving the TRL generation the chance to rap along to his hit “Lose Yourself.” He even paid homage to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick by taking a knee on stage.

If you don’t feel old enough already, Em’s daughter Hailie Jade is 26 years old now. I know, I know.

Dr. Dre displayed some excellent piano skills and the show ended with everyone performing “Still D.R.E.”

The MVP of the halftime show was Bengals’ rookie kicker Evan McPherson. Instead of heading into the locker room for a mid-game halftime show, he chose to stay out on the sidelines, dancing along with the rest of us.

Overall, we millennials and Gen Xers managed to get down but nowadays, we’re a little unsure whether we can get back up!

The Ads 

Much like the halftime show, the ads were full of nostalgia. Some favorites included a Sopranos Chevy commercial starring Meadow and AJ Soprano themselves, aka Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler. The ad showed Meadow Soprano driving the same route dad Tony (the late James Gandolfini) drove in the opening credits of the show. The same song, “Woke Up this Morning” by Alabama 3 was blasting in the background too. Spoiler alert: Meadow can now parallel park just fine! I couldn’t help but think though, the Chevy Silverado she was driving was electric. Would Tony Soprano drive an electric vehicle?

Another great piece of nostalgia was an Austin Powers-themed commercial for General Motors. The popular ‘90s/early 2000s movie trilogy reunited its cast, including Mike Myers, Rob Lowe, Seth Green and Mindy Sterling. It left fans hoping it could be a sign of a reunion movie soon.

Most other commercials weren’t all that memorable. We were served cryptocurrency after cryptocurrency ad, including one that paid homage to an episode of The Office. Viewers were puzzled by a QR code that bounced on the screen like the old DVD screensavers of years’ past. It was admittedly pretty smart (and funny once my husband pointed out to me its similarity to The Office episode).

Another couple of ads starring former Scrubs costars Donald Faison and Zach Braff and real-life friends Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen seemed like they were just fun excuses to get together for some laughs. It made me chuckle too as their fun seemed contagious.

Overall, the Super Bowl seemed to serve its purpose: to entertain, to unite, to get people talking and laughing and having fun. I also now know how my parents felt in 1998 when Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, The Temptations, Boyz II Men and Queen Latifah performed.

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