Another Super Bowl is in the books, and let’s just say it was OK. It was adequate. It was a football game that was played to completion.
If you want to know how boring it was, even the records were boring: With a final line of 13-3, it was the lowest-scoring game ever. Johnny Hekker of the Rams also kicked a 65-yard punt, the longest in Super Bowl history.
You know things are slow when one of the most notable plays of the night was a punt.
And to top it all off, the Patriots won AGAIN, which is about as predictable an outcome as is possible, statistically speaking.
But the night wasn’t without a few moments that got people talking. Here are some highlights from a mostly somnolent SB LIII.
People had opinions about Adam Levine’s nipples
Maroon 5’s Adam Levine slowly molted throughout the halftime show, shedding a jacket, then another jacket, and finally a tank top until he was bare-chested in front of God and Big Boi and everyone.
This didn’t sit well with some fans, who wondered why Adam Levine’s nipples were apparently fine for air while 2004’s Nipplegate made Janet Jackson a pariah for years.
Or maybe Levine just caught wind of the fact that his shirt looked just like a pillow.
The rest of the halftime show – with the exception of Big Boi’s over-the-top entrance in a Cadillac and a fur coat – was mostly underwhelming.
SpongeBob fans got a ‘Sweet Victory’ … sort of
In terms of surprise guest appearances, the most anticipated act of the night may have been … SpongeBob SquarePants. Allow us to explain. After SpongeBob’s creator, animator Stephen Hillenburg, passed away last year, more than a million fans signed a petition to get a song from the Nickelodeon series played at the Super Bowl halftime show in Hillenburg’s honor.
That song is “Sweet Victory,” a sports power ballad performed by SpongeBob and friends.
Fans of the show were on the edge of their seats waiting to see if their wish would be fulfilled, and they were pretty optimistic since both Mercedes-Benz Stadium and halftime headliners Maroon 5 hinted toward a “Sweet Victory” moment.
And it was just that, a brief moment. A few seconds of the clip aired, leading into rapper Travis Scott’s halftime entrance. Some fans were disappointed by the brevity of the SpongeBob cameo, while others were thrilled that it was included at all. Everyone else was just like ???!!!!??
Stella Artois, Michelob, the NFL and ‘Game of Thrones’ scored with ads
It was a good year for memorable beer ads.
Stella Artois aired a spot that cleverly played with the famous drink choices of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw (“Sex and the City”) and Jeff Bridges’ The Dude (“The Big Lebowski”). The pair visited a swanky bar and ordered not their trademark Cosmopolitans or White Russians but … glasses of Stella. The Dude imbibes.
Michelob Ultra hopped on the ASMR trend with an ad featuring actress Zoe Kravitz sitting all Zen-like in what looked like Hawaii. ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response,” that tingling feeling you get on your scalp, say, when you hear a certain sound or experience a certain stimulus. Kravitz’s whispering and bottle-scraping may have freaked out some viewers. But the ad stood out.
What looked like another Bud Light “Dilly Dilly” ad faked people out of their cheese dip when it swiftly morphed into a fire-breathing, head-smooshing tease for the final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” – complete with dragons.
But for football fans the game’s best commercial may have been the NFL’s ad celebrating its 100th birthday. Set at a fancy banquet that devolved into chaos, it was an impressive Who’s Who of dozens of current and former NFL stars.
The NFL tried hard (too hard?) to address social justice
The NFL paid tribute to host Atlanta’s rich civil rights history by inviting Congressman John Lewis, former Mayor Andrew Young and Bernice King, the youngest child of Martin Luther King Jr., onto the field for the pregame coin toss.
The league also introduced the coin toss by showing a brief clip honoring King, the late civil rights leader. On the surface, it made sense: Atlanta was King’s hometown, and February is Black History Month.
But at a time when everything is being politicized, few gestures are ever simple. Many observers felt the MLK clip struck a discordant note given the ongoing tensions surrounding the NFL’s stance on Colin Kaepernick and other players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest systemic racism. (Not to mention that only four of the league’s 32 head coaches are minorities.)
Beer and corn had a beef
As we said, the Patriots vs. the Rams wasn’t exactly the most riveting match-up in Super Bowl history. Luckily, beer and corn stepped in to give us the rivalry we all crave and deserve.
It started when Anheuser-Busch’s latest series of “Dilly Dilly” commercials touted the fact that Bud Light is brewed without corn syrup, unlike its competitors.
This ignited the National Corn Growers Association. They called out Bud Light’s tactics and invited the company to their offices to “discuss…the many benefits of corn,” which sounds like a weird and very grave threat.
But wait! Halfway through the game, Anheuser-Busch sent CNN an official response:
“Anheuser-Busch fully supports corn growers and will continue to invest in the corn industry. Bud Light’s Super Bowl commercials are only meant to point out a key difference in Bud Light from some other light beers. This effort is to provide consumers transparency and elevate the beer category.”
Your move, corn!