So, yeah, I watched the Super Bowl. I’m a goddamn American, right? Despite my lack of interest in the NFL these days, I wasn’t going to miss the biggest game of the year. Also, if I’m only going to casually watch pro football I kind of have to watch the Super Bowl, as it has become a cultural obligation. Like I said, I’m an American.

Now my full attentions were not on the game. We watched most of the first half at my sister and brother in law’s home. We were eating and conversing. There were two high-energy toddlers running around delighting us. And then, despite barely talking to me all weekend, M decided to sit down next to me and talk incessantly once the game started. Teenagers, man…

That’s all a warning that this won’t be as exhaustive an accounting of my Super Bowl experience as they once were on these hallowed pages.

For example, I barely paid attention to the commercials over the noise and interruptions. Of the ones I did see, I approved of the Tide commercials.[1] They were wacky and fun and thus memorable. My favorite was the NFL Network Dirty Dancing ad. That was just good stuff all around. Sounds like most folks agreed so I didn’t miss much in the first half. Kind of ironic the best ad came from an NFL entity.

Worst ad? In a freaking walk-over the Dodge ad that featured a Martin Luther King Jr. speech. Inappropriate, tone deaf, offensive, classless… There aren’t enough adjectives of disapproval. I have enjoyed comedian George Wallace’s Twitter reaction. Rather than rail on the ad, he decided to mock it. One example Tweet:

I’d say, “Hey MLK I gotta chop some wood but my Dodge Ram may not be able to handle all the wood I chop” and MLK would be like, “Let me meet you down there by the wood chopping area with my matching Dodge Ram.” We’d haul the wood then go fight for civil rights later that day.

George Wallace wins the day!

That’s about all I saw that was memorable.

As for the game, that was a hell of a game. In fact, it might have been the perfect game for the masses of Patriots haters. Eagles get an early lead, some wacky plays ensue that tend to help Philly a little more than New England. The Haters have hope. Facing a fourth and goal inside the five just before halftime, the Eagles run a play that Patriots tried to run earlier, but run it better as quarterback Nick Foles hauls in a touchdown pass to build a 10-point halftime lead. The Haters are nervously optimistic, but remember what happened when they jumped all over the Falcons bandwagon a year ago.

In the second half came the inevitable New England rally. We all knew it was coming and there was nothing we could do to stop it. Not even two Philly touchdowns that were upheld on controversial replay calls. Nope, it was all happening just like we knew it would. Pats take a lead, Eagles score to go back ahead, but leave entirely too much time on the clock because a receiver ran out of bounds during the scoring drive. It wasn’t a matter of whether the Patriots would score, but which white receiver would catch the winning touchdown pass.[2] Us haters were collectively looking for dogs to kick and debating whether to just turn the damn TV off.

Out of nowhere came Brandon Graham’s beautiful strip-sack that left Brady sad on the turf. A clutch-ass field goal by rookie kicker Jake Elliott meant it would take a true miracle to get to OT.[3]

But come on, we were all expecting the miracle, right? When Brady’s desperation heave bounced around and hit the turf there was a moment of held breath. Even the Eagles players were looking around, hoping not to see a flag somewhere on the ground that would extend the game for one more play before they could relax and celebrate. I’m no Philly fan, but I let out a little whoop in honor of them slaying the dragon for America.

Hell of a game.

So the Patriots lose, and do so with plenty to bitch about. I’m sure Boston radio is a freaking riot this morning, as Tommy from Southie calls in to complain about the NFL not applying the catch rules the way they had all season, and Donny from Dorchester screams about how Brady was hit late on his final throw, and Mikey from Quincy points out a Pats receiver got leveled 20 yards downfield as the last pass flew threw the air.

This is all good stuff and proof that even in the darkest days, good sometimes can prevail. Or at least evil can fall even if their vanquishers weren’t your first choice to do so.

Excellent all around.

  1. M has watched all of Stranger Things where S and I are only four episodes into the first season. It felt weird for M to be delighted by the presence of David Harbour while I just kind of casually recognized him.  ↩
  2. Am I the only one who found it hilarious that one of the few black skill players the Pats have is named James White? Belichick is always trolling, man.  ↩
  3. Elliott broke Matt Bahr’s record for longest Super Bowl field goal by a rookie earlier in the game. I remembered the Bahr brothers from my youth, so I looked them up. Fascinating! The oldest brother was an All American soccer player at Navy and was on the 1972 Olympic team. Then came Chris, who was a three-time soccer All American and one-time football All American at Penn State. Next came Matt, who was also a football All American. Chris and Matt both played professional soccer before their long NFL careers. And a younger sister was an All American gymnast. I guess it helps that their dad was a long-time member of the US national soccer team and is in the US Soccer Hall of Fame and their mom was a collegiate swimmer.  ↩