There’s nothing more American than football, except maybe giving an outsized trophy to a first-place football champion. The Super Bowl combines both of these time-honored traditions into an extravaganza of patriotism, performance and spinach-and-artichoke dip. The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks met last Sunday for the 49th such extravaganza. SPOILER ALERT: America won.
The best part of Super Bowl Sunday is usually the commercials. They are the reason for Betty White’s recent career comeback. They are the reason you think you need to drive through the desert in a Nissan Altima. But this year, most of the commercials were terrible and did not make you want to drive through the desert in a Nissan Altima. Nationwide Insurance apparently thought that “Your Child Might Die!” would be a compelling message for consumers. The trailer for “Fifty Shades of Grey” was predictably icky and lame. Capitalism is typically the true winner of the Super Bowl, but this year’s commercial offerings only made me want to deposit my earnings into a savings account. And then hopefully save more money using new software by Turbo Tax.
The halftime show, featuring American musical legend Katy Perry, did not disappoint. Perry sang a medley of her greatest hits in a series of brightly colored outfits, even inviting a few guests to share the limelight. Lenny Kravitz joined in for a few verses of “I Kissed A Girl” and then promptly disappeared back into the ether of minor roles in major action movie franchises. The real star of the show was Missy Elliot, who captivated the stadium with a rendition of her classic “Get Ur Freak On.” But the real, real star of the show was the literal star that Katy Perry rode across the field. Was it a metaphor for the arc-shaped career of the modern pop star? A simile about the fleeting nature of human existence? One thing is for certain: It was shiny.
All of this, however, is secondary to the movement now sweeping the nation, the cultural force signifying a total paradigm shift in the American consciousness. I am referring, of course, to Left Shark. In case you missed it: Katy Perry briefly danced in front of two people in full-body shark costumes, and Left Shark could not keep up with the aggressive tempo maintained by Right Shark. The Internet, seizing on the opportunity to laugh about something weird/a person’s failure in the most public moment of their life, has made Left Shark into something between a meme and a lifestyle. Nothing will ever be the same again, until Buzzfeed discovers the next thing That Will Give You Life.
Most years, the over-the-top theatrics of the Super Bowl are confined to the halftime show. But this time, the game itself managed to out-drama Perry and her shooting star of musical wisdom. With two minutes to go, the Seahawks were down by four. A bobbled miracle catch led them almost all the way to the end zone. Seattle’s victory was imminent. Then, following what has been described as the worst play call in the history of the sport, the Seahawks threw an interception from the one-yard line. The players took a quick break from the constant threat of concussion to literally punch each other in the head. After some light fisticuffs, play resumed. And in yet another glorious example of American might stomping on the majesty of Mother Nature, the Patriots defeated the Seahawks, 28–24.
Thus, another Super Bowl is etched into the annals of Wikipedia history. This Super Bowl truly was the Superest Bowl yet. But who was the real winner of the game? The Patriots, who won the game? Katy Perry, whose magical performance elevated a nation?
No, the winner was someone considerably less glittery and talented: me. This Super Bowl had enough drama, snacks and camaraderie to last me until next year’s identical occasion. Plus, as a Midwesterner, it brings me great joy to see disappointment in the eyes of someone from either coast. Victory in the Super Bowl is only temporary, but Super Bowl party leftovers last slightly longer.