While the Big Game set records in many ways -- the first with two opposing Black quarterbacks, the first with two competing brothers, and the priciest ads ever -- Fox hopes it may set a viewing record, too.
In the end, even after watching quarterback Patrick Mahomes re-injure his leg and grimace with pain for the remainder of the game, the Kansas City Chiefs walked away with the win (35 to 38), kicking a tie-breaking field goal in the final minutes.
A controversial call against the Philadelphia Eagles sparked a social-media eruption, amid widespread viral love for Rihanna’s high-flying performance in the Apple Music Halftime Show.
It was the singer’s first performance in five years, and included the on-stage revelation that she was visibly pregnant with her second child.
Final ratings aren’t available yet, and USA Today’s AdMeter still hasn’t cranked out its ad scorecard. But in an early indication, the paper reports that one ad -- the trailer for “Fast X” -- is already drawing near-record rewatches on YouTube. And celebrity-filled spots for Booking.com and Google’s Pixel are attracting plenty of eyeballs.
System1, a platform that ranks ad effectiveness based on emotional responses, says Disney’s 90-second spot celebrating its 100th anniversary won the night, followed by M&M’s, with an ad in which the candies called a “we’re back” press conference. John Travolta, reprising a “Grease” classic for T-Mobile, came in third.
Animals stole the show for System1’s fourth and fifth rated spots with “Saving Sawyer,” Amazon’s adorable story of a pandemic pup struggling through the end of lockdown. A sassy goat (and a supporting cast of meerkats, elephants, bears and dolphins doing the Electric Slide) brought Jeep’s “Electric Boogie” to life.
Ads for the game included stunts galore, even beyond the Maya Rudolph clam-filled M&M’s saga. Rob Gronkowski, a retired NFL player, missed his field goal in a live commercial for FanDuel. Tubi, the streamer, didn’t just have a mind-blowing (and sinister!) ad with menacing jumbo rabbits kidnapping people and flinging them into deep rabbit holes. Another Tubi spot appeared to hijack people’s screens in ways that made the whole country think someone had sat on the remote.
Stars shone, especially for America’s drinkers. That included Serena Williams in an inspirational monologue for Remy Martin and a deeply satisfying Caddy Shack reboot for Michelob Ultra. Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl rocked his role as a cheerleader for Canada in a Crown Royal ad.
Will Ferrell’s spot for General Motors broke through as the multicostumed comic romped through scenes from Netflix’s “Squid Game,” “Stranger Things,” and “Bridgeton.” And Ram played electric vehicle perceptions for laughs with a hilarious spoof on erectile dysfunction.
A disheveled Ben Affleck manned the drive-through at Dunkin', with wife Jennifer Lopez demanding he bring her a glazed donut when he finished his shift.
Last year, viewership of the Super Bowl fell to a household rating of 36.9, the lowest for any Super Bowl since 1969. It drew 99.2 million viewers -- but when combined with those who streamed the game, viewership rose to 112.3 million.
The NFL then conducted additional research with Nielsen, surveying 6,000 people. That led to the conclusion that 208 million people -- roughly two-thirds of the U.S. -- had tuned into the game.
Fox has been optimistic, predicting that viewership will top the audience record of 114.4 million, set in 2015 with the New England Patriots’ 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, which aired on NBC. That game stands as Nielsen’s most-watched TV program of all time.
A preliminary estimate from iSpot.tv puts viewership ahead of that record at 118.2 million viewers.