Some years I just find the Super Bowl exhausting.
This year’s marathon telecast was one of those years, and it was not helped any by the Eagles’ heartbreaking loss. Alas, there was no joy on Broad Street Sunday night.
The game itself is being lauded as one of the most exciting in Super Bowl history.
It was indeed packed with the kind of action football fans love to see, including Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts boldly rushing for three touchdowns, and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, with a bum ankle, leading his team to a second-half comeback and then victory.
There were dramatic catches galore and one crucial fumble leading to a Chiefs touchdown. And there was controversy in the game’s final minutes when Eagles’ cornerback James Bradberry was called for holding Chiefs wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster.
Eagles fans cried foul at the call, but Bradberry later admitted he was guilty as charged.
One aspect of the game that seemed much more scandalous was the condition of the field in State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Fox Sports’ booth announcers -- play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt and color commentator Greg Olsen -- made note of it several times and at one point showed clips of players on both teams slipping and falling while engaged in routine play.
The surface -- a new, engineered hybrid of two exotic grasses -- was so slippery that it no doubt had an effect on the game as play after play ended prematurely due to sudden slips and falls.
The field surface may have played a role in Mahomes seriously re-aggravating his ankle and limping to the sidelines in obvious agony -- one of the game’s most dramatic moments.
In at least one dramatic clip, Eagles placekicker Jake Elliott was seen in slow motion with one of his ankles virtually bent at a right angle and close to breaking resulting from the slipperiness of the surface during a kickoff.
This was a scandal that could have used even more scrutiny during the game. But at the same time, let it be said that Burkhardt and Olsen did a great job in their first Super Bowl for Fox following the defection of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN last year.
Elsewhere, Super Bowl LVII was its usual spectacle. The introductory portions were chock-a-block with awards and honors for outstanding civilian and pro footballers involved in a variety of good works.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by country singer Chris Stapleton whose rendition was unmemorable. Halftime entertainment was provided by a pregnant Rihanna, who rode various platforms descending from the top of the stadium somewhere.
The performance was one of the most elaborate of any Super Bowl halftime show in recent memory. But at the same time, it seemed detached from the spirit of the Big Game itself, as if Rihanna had literally parachuted in from Mars for 15 minutes and then left just as quickly.
As usual, the more elaborate of the Super Bowl spots do not hold the fascination for me that they apparently do for others
One example was the spot that had Ben Affleck working a drive-up window at a Dunkin’ store and encountering his wife, Jennifer Lopez.
The day-after coverage of this commercial said it was a clear favorite in the court of public opinion that counts most these days -- social media.
My own commercial tastes might seem boring to some, but for me, the best spot of the night was WeatherTech’s. The spot demonstrated the quality of WeatherTech’s line of durable car-protection products, and emphasized the fact that they are made here in the USA.
The message was clear -- buy American. And what better place to deliver such a message than at the Super Bowl? Message received.
When considering most of the Super Bowl commercials, however, I seemed to have come down with an acute case of I-Don’t-Get-It-itis.
One example was the Serena Williams spot for Rémy Martin (screenshot above) in which she made some sort of a speech that, to my ears, had nothing to do with any of the Rémy spirits brands. She then turned up in a Michelob beer spot. Rémy and a chaser, Serena?
The TV Blog didn’t get the Maya Rudolph M&M’s thing except to wonder if the comedic actress is really so famous that she can headline a commercial in which these beloved candies are renamed for her.
But these random notes are neither here nor there. The Super Bowl spectaculars come and go every year.
What a critic thinks about them hardly matters. If Ben Affleck in a donut shop drives visits and sales at Dunkin’ locations, then who am I to argue?