Well the Super Bowl has a life of its own and it keeps on living after the game! This weeks web is full of debriefs of the day, from the unlikelihood of the Saints’ victory to the most watched advertisement in television history to Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian’s post-game plans to, well just about everything you could want to know about a Super Bowl!
But with all respect to the game of Halas, Lombardi, Butkus and Ditka, the NFL Super Bowl is really more of a cultural event than a football game. It’s more of a national holiday than it is a sporting event. People make their travel plans around where they’ll be for Super Bowl Sunday. Parties are planned. Church services are cancelled. Shopping malls adjust their hours. Heck, I remember when we watched a game and ran for the kitchen on commercials. Watch young people today: they do the opposite!
And in that light, as a contribution to culture, I think this was the Sweetest Super Bowl ever, and among the most inspiring and positive cultural events I can remember. Even awards shows have their controversy and negativity, and reality TV has its brutal moments as well as its corny ones. But this Super Bowl–from the Music to the Ads to the Game–represented a positive island of light in a culture usually dominated by negativity.
We saw an advertisement–featuring a Heisman Trophy football player who usually wears bible verses on his cheeks–that was supposed to be controversial. Yet what we saw was simply a mom and her son in a beautiful celebration of motherhood, so sweet that a visitor unaware of the political controversy wouldn’t have seen it as controversial at all. As for the rest, we didn’t see the funniest or most memorable ads we’ll ever see, but we didn’t see negative ones.
We saw two singers–Queen Latifah and Carrie Underwood–sing “America the Beautiful” and the National Anthem in all of their national and patriotic positivity and pride, complete with children of all colors as background singers. The focus was on the song and the country, not the individuals, a credit to them. And we saw a halftime show where a band once known for being you and rebellious instead felt like the grand old dads with skills, also bringing an international tone to the worldwide event.
As for the game (oh yes, the game!), only in Hollywood would you have expected a script like this. The Saints were such underdogs that the betting lines in Las Vegas had been closed multiple times due to too much action on the Colts. This was the town that was so Hurricane-ravaged that just yesterday their stadium was a refuge for the homeless while being physically unfit for hosting a game. This was the franchise that’s been known for fans wearing bags on their heads, a team tradition void not only of a Super Bowl championship but even just an appearance in the title game. And when they were down 10-0 at the start it looked like this would be more like “The Bad News Bears” than “Rocky” or “Hoosiers.”
But the Saints put it all together and won, and hey, this time the network even let us see the guys kneeling at midfield (as they always do but we rarely see), opponents praying together as teammates in life, united in a common game and praying for a common purpose. Sweet.
Like I said, the day was as wonderful as it was unbelievable, and it went well past the game. It was the show. It was the cultural contribution. I really hope filmmakers and show producers around the world take notice. Positivity works, and inspiration sells. It lifts us up and brings the best out of us. I hope the Olympics bring us more of the same. In the meantime, the Super Bowl was wonderful. It was beautiful. It was sweet.