Final thoughts on the Super Bowl (the game, the glitz, the ads) and it’s importance, or lack thereof.

February 3, 2015

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A victorious Tom Brady waves to the world…

The Super Bowl is over. Whether you got the outcome you wanted you have to admit it was a thrilling contest, about all one could ask for in a football game. So good, in fact, that in my opinion the game not only lived up to its ridiculous expectations but eclipsed the famous (and infamous) TV commercials, which have become a significant part of Super Bowl lore and, in many people’s minds, just as important.

I use the word “important” but, really, there is typically nothing important about a football game. Or a slew of advertising for that matter. If anything they are the antithesis of important. Like the half time extravaganza, they are but entertainment, albeit on a grand scale.

I use the word “typically” because every so often such entertainment is actually important. Such was Super Bowl XXXVI, which took place months after the terrible events of 9-11. There the New England Patriots (helmed by the newly anointed Tom Brady) beat the St. Louis Rams by a field goal. Like this year’s model, it was an exciting game going down to the wire. Brady would win his first MVP. Deeper down, however, it was cathartic to have a red, white and blue team victorious. America needed that.

The halftime show was also special, featuring U2, who gave what is widely regarded as the finest halftime show in Super Bowl history. In it, Bono and his mates, paid homage to all those who died in 9-11 depicting each and every one of their names on a massive screen as the band played a soulful version of one of their more spiritual ballads, MLK. They then closed with a rousing rendition of one of their biggest hits, Where The Streets Have No Name. The song is about Heaven. Often accused (sometimes rightfully) of wearing their hearts on their sleeves, never before was such a tone more appropriate.

No dancing sharks. No choreographed dancing. No wardrobe malfunction. Just music. Vulnerable yet confident, like our country.

That game and that show were important. Worth noting, however, was that none of the commercials were. I’m sure there were some good ones. We could look them up. But why? Who cares? With precious few exceptions, advertising is ephemeral. Redemption and beauty are not. Which is as it should be.

Like so many millions of us I enjoyed this Super Bowl. A lot. I smiled at Katy Perry and her confections. And yes, of course, I watched the TV commercials. Two days later I don’t care about any of it. Which, though advertisers wish it weren’t so, is also how it should be.

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