A pretty decent game, unless you live in Cincinnati. And even then, it was solid until the last five minutes or so. It had a game-winning score in the final 2:00, which always elevates a game. Only one traditionally spectacular play – Tee Higgins’ 75-yard touchdown catch to open the second half – and that came because of a pretty egregious officiating error. I think my generation still expects Super Bowls to be terrible because so many of them in the 80s and 90s were, so any time a game is close still feels like a win even if it wasn’t a classic game.

I was leaning Bengals for a variety of reasons, but fine with the Rams winning. It is easy to make fun of the Rams for having no real fan base, or LA fans in general for being the ultimate front-runners. But I have no real hate for the team itself.

I’m even ok with how the Rams won this title. They made an organization-wide decision to throw everything at winning a Super Bowl this year. They sacrificed pretty much every meaningful draft pick for the next 25 years (give-or-take) to load up their roster for this run. Isn’t that what a team is supposed to do, use whatever capital they have to maximize their championship odds? They made a decision and will pay a price down the road for it. Although it’s easier to turn a franchise around than it used to be – look at the Bengals – the Rams probably have a long stretch coming up quick where their fancy new stadium will be dominated by visiting fans because the home team is going 4–13. Flags fly forever.

One reason I was pro-Bengals was because of the KU connection. Hakeem Adeniji started. He got manhandled by Aaron Donald much of the night, so I was just glad it wasn’t him that gave up the game-clinching sack. Pooka Williams is on the practice squad. Darrin Simmons, who played for KU when I lived in Lawrence, has been a Bengals coach for nearly 20 years. And, of course, Ja’Marr Chase was committed to KU for five days, so I could him as a Jayhawk!

I’m sure Bengals fans are stewing about how the Rams last drive was aided by multiple penalties on the Bengals after a largely penalty-free game. I get it, but, come on. The Bengals took the lead because of a horrible missed call. You can’t complain too much. But it was disappointing that a game that was called differently than pretty much every other NFL game this year suddenly changed in the last 2:00. If you’re going to swallow the whistle all night, don’t suddenly start blowing it at the end.

The win cements the Rams move to get Matthew Stafford lat year, and provides a measure of redemption for him after spending his whole career in the pit of despair that is the Detroit Lions franchise. He was nails on the final possession. But I found it interesting that the Rams won largely because the Bengals defense took away the big play, and Stafford had to be patient and manage the game. That eliminated his propensity for making mistakes in big moments. His only interception was a flukey one. I kept waiting for him to throw a bad pick, but by taking away the deep ball, the Bengals also reduced the odds that Stafford would do something dumb to help them. The Bengals played really good defense the entire game. And in doing so they reduced the chances that their defense could help them win. Sports are strange.

Commercials. I didn’t do much tracking of them this year. I guess the Larry David crypto one was my favorite. I think celebs doing cryptocurrency ads is dumb; I guarantee most of the people in these commercials don’t understand the concept any better than the average person. David’s ad seemed like kind of a send-up of that concept. Plus his line about even letting “the stupid people” vote was brilliant.

I laughed a few times. I was confused a few times. But other than the QR code ad, not sure we’ll be talking about many of these six months from now.

The halftime performance? Really good. But it missed out on being great. For starters, neither Dre, Snoop, nor Mary J. Blige performed their best songs. There were radio versions of “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?),” and “Gin and Juice” 30 years ago, so I know they could have been performed at the Super Bowl in 2022. And for Mary J not to sing “Real Love” was a travesty.

All-in-all, though, an entertaining performance. And as the first-ever, all hip hop halftime, it will go down in history. It wasn’t Prince, but I’m not sure anyone ever will be.

My question as I watched was will this be the last Super Bowl halftime show where the featured artists are all roughly my age? Dre is 56, Mary 51, Snoop 50, Fiddy is fiddy, and Eminem 49.

I was trying to think of artists either in their 50s or approaching 50 who have not done the halftime show yet and are still culturally relevant. Foo Fighters is the most obvious, and they were doing an alternate halftime show last night so they might be blacklisted by the NFL. Pearl Jam would be another big get, but as well-known as they are, they don’t really move the national needle anymore.

With the show being focused primarily on danceable pop music, and now moving into straight hip hop, the future focus will likely be on younger artists, and more shows like last night that feature a collection of acts to fill the 20 minutes rather than a single, greatest hits-style performance. Which means last night might have been Generation X’s last night as the featured act(s).