2021 Super Bowl Takeaways

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nfl stadium field full with crowd watching the game during daytime
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Last year, I wrote a blog about my biggest Super Bowl takeaways. It seemed to be a big hit, but then again, any blog where you mildly excuse Donald Trump for a bad tweet tends to be somewhat controversial. Without the T-Man to tweet this year (he is literally banned from Twitter!), we all had to derive our entertainment elsewhere, like with the commercials or the halftime show, or, you know, the game itself.

Given that the last year of our lives was kind of a complete and utter mess, I like to think that there was a lot of collective excitement for this event. I even found several people, who are “boycotting the NFL” for whatever social justice cause, could not help but tune in, if not for anything else than for the ability to understand the memes that would inevitably crop up all over the internet based on some topical matter related to the game and its associated hoopla. Perhaps they realized they were not actually making a difference to the world by turning off the TV, or maybe it just turns out that the NFL delivers an incredible product. Shrug.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s dive into every thought I had about the game, because surely whatever I think matters to someone.

Gambling

I do not think I have been more excited to gamble on an event than I was for this year’s Super Bowl. I realize this makes me sound like an ugly stepchild of Ratso Rizzo, but at least I’m honest.

I had about forty different wagers on the Super Bowl. These ranged from whether the coin toss would be heads or tails (it was heads and I won $10, yay), whether or not a football would hit an upright (missed this one), and whether or not any team would score three times in a row (they didn’t, I got richer in the process). It felt as though I had something on the line with each and every play. In fact, if there is one regret I have, it is that I did not use a site that allowed me to get into more nefarious and degenerate bets like how long the national anthem would be, what color Jim Nantz’s tie would be, and how many times Tony Romo would say, “Let me tell you something, Jim.” Then, I would have had something on the line not just with every single play, but also with every single word.

Alas, it was not meant to be. I lost the majority of my bets but still emerged a winner. Why? Because someone has two thumbs and bet on the Buccaneers at 29:1 odds to win the Super Bowl 10 months ago, that’s why.*

Commercials

Look, when you’re deeply invested in micro-betting every single play of the Super Bowl, you end up using some of the TV timeout time to do a bathroom break or to fire off some text messages in the group thread about how rich you are getting off Ronald Jones being the first running back to eclipse ten yards in the game. That being said, the commercials were still a little bit on the weak side. But do you blame them? You can’t say anything funny anymore without being canceled. Hell, the M&M commercial was really funny and even they could not avoid veering on the side of political correctness by denouncing the phenomenon of “mansplaining.”

Let’s just put it this way: if you were expecting Louis CK to jump out of a cake and then give birth to an angry Donald Trump, you were vastly disappointed.

The Halftime Show

If there is one thing I am thankful for this year, it is that the Halftime Show seemed to have been less….controversial than in past years. Last year, it was unclear to me whether I should be happy about the empowerment of Latina women or disappointed in the objectification of Latina women.  It’s incredible to me how two people can watch the exact same event and come to two vastly different conclusions. Then you had Ana Navarro tweeting out of nowhere that you should go to hell if you thought Latinas were invaders, as if that is what anyone was thinking in between bites of their buffalo chicken dip.

No, this year, we just had the regular old Weekend. In fairness, I have not spent much time on Twitter since the Super Bowl ended, so it is entirely possible that there is indeed some woke, left-leaning or racist, right-leaning scandal I am completely unaware of. Barring that, let’s just say I thought the show was great. He sang a bunch of great songs and the theatrics were incredible. And yet all I saw on the internet were the droves of people who inevitably must leave terrible Yelp reviews for a living who could only find something to complain about. These people will never be happy, and I feel sorry for them and their need to complain about everything.

COVID-19

After nearly a year of having our lives upended, not being able to socialize our children, see our friends, make a living, and otherwise just living miserably, shitty lives indoors, it sure was fun and not-at-all hypocritical to see our nation’s leaders and politicians celebrating a packed stadium of rich people who flaunt the rules of society healthcare workers. They even made it fun with some cardboard cut-out people to make sure people would socially distance, as if getting on an airplane to go to the lawless state of Florida would not have already prevented the same people from acting recklessly. Kudos to the NFL for standing up for its principles of making as much money as humanly possible while exploiting its key employees.

Patriots Bittersweetness

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a die-hard Patriots fan. I was rooting for Brady and the Bucs all the way, but it is still a little bit of a gut punch to see that Brady to Gronkowski connection not once but TWICE on the biggest stage possible. What’s actually doubly satisfying to me is that my friends – who only seem to derive their happiness through my misery, since they all root for second-rate teams from third-world cities like Philadelphia – believed that this would make me sad. But even when the Patriots don’t win the Super Bowl, they still end up winning the Super Bowl. It’s crazy, and it’s crazy awesome if you’re a Patriots fan (like me).

The Game

People will say I am making this up, but the game went pretty much exactly how I expected it to go. Tampa was a hot team peaking at the right time. After losing twice to the Saints (and being eviscerated the second time), they got revenge – all this after going into Washington and drubbing a solid team. They then went into Green Bay and demolished the hands-down favorite Green Bay Packers. Anybody with a pair of eyeballs knew that this Tampa team was a different team than the one who lost to Kansas City during the season when the players were still meshing and gelling.

Kansas City, meanwhile, looked human all year, and not nearly as dominant as they did a season ago. Succinctly, their running game just isn’t what it has been the last few seasons. And defensively they have always had soft spots. Plus, I don’t trust a guy who sounds like Kermit the Frog to win back-to-back Super Bowls. So, there you have it for my expert analysis.

Tom Brady

Seeing Brady’s dad toasting a champagne glass after the game almost brought a tear to my eye. If you’ve ever watched Brady’s interviews about his father, they are very emotional. I realize I have a bias, but I have never understood why in America’s culture we have so much fascination with trying to tear down our most cherished figures. You may not agree with everything Brady says or does, but how can you not admire someone who puts so much work into his craft? Tom Brady was a chubby 6th round pick out of Michigan who turned himself into the best football player in history, perhaps the best athlete ever. I have a hard time taking people seriously who do not like him for wearing Uggs or for vaguely not disavowing Donald Trump four years ago. Newsflash: your opinions are not THE opinions. Get over yourself. Move aside for the GOAT.

*A friend of mine made this bet and gave me half of it for my birthday.

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