Super Bowl 50 is in the books and while the Denver Broncos, particularly Peyton Manning, Von Miller and John Elway were the biggest winners, the telecast provided several non-athletes with opportunities to shine. Some took that opportunity with aplomb and others dropped it like they were Jerricho Cotchery. Now that our respective hangovers have subsided, let’s look at who won and who lost Super Bowl 50.
Coldplay may have been the halftime headliner but Queen Bey was the star. Beyonce may have offended the Sean Hannity demographic, but she captivated social media and wiped the floor with both Chris Martin and Bruno Mars. While Mars put on a great show as well, Beyonce dropped a new single, announced a new tour and proved that while she may not be the best singer in the game she’s certainly the best pop star in the game. She overcame a brief stumble on the field without it completely turning into an Eli Manning level meme. Not only did she own the stage, but she made Rhianna’s recent album drop suddenly irrelevant and she even took the buzz away from Kanye West, which is no small feat. Coldplay was, of course, the major loser at halftime, although they shouldn’t have been there in the first place so they were set up to fail.
WINNER: LADY GAGA
Lady Gaga is on a tear right now. She’s won a Golden Globe for American Horror Story: Hotel and might win an EMMY for it as well. She’s nominated for an Oscar (and will probably win), and she put together the best Star Spangled Banner performance since Whitney Houston. Gaga has done an incredible job at reinventing herself without losing what made her a star in the first place. The days of meat dresses and whatever the hell happened during ArtPop are behind her, and she’s all the better for it. If she decides to take on a Broadway musical (very much in the cards) and win a TONY she will have the career Madonna always wanted but could never quite have.
LOSER: MOVIE TRAILERS
It’s unclear when movie studios decided that they didn’t want to go all out with their Super Bowl trailers but it was certainly noticeable this year. Sure, some of the heavy hitters made appearances like Captain America: Civil War and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the former opted for a 30-second teaser and the latter waited until late in the fourth quarter to air their ad which was really for Turkish Airlines. Disney had a new trailer for their upcoming The Jungle Book yet instead of airing that trailer they aired one that used the 3D aspect ratio and didn’t feature any of the animals speaking. ComicCon went through this thing as well where the studios realized that the returns they got from spending a ton of money didn’t yield any large returns. Clearly the Super Bowl has hit this nadir as well because it would’ve been a great opportunity for say, Sony to debut the first footage for Ghostbusters or Suicide Squad to make a splash. Those days are gone because its cheaper and easier to just drop a massive trailer on YouTube.
There was a time when Super Bowl commercials were dominated by Budweiser, Coca-Cola and E-Trade, but that seems to have shifted as well. Yes, Doritos has always been a player at the Super Bowl, but it seems like this year they became the new standard bearer. It can be argued that Doritos dominated a field that mainly contained Hyundai and the other big commercial winner of the night Big Pharma (seriously how many obscure drug commercials were there), but still it’s impressive that Doritos has unseated the almighty Budweiser, who seemed to stop trying and opt to have Helen Mirren shame us and Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer star in an ad that went on too long and simply wasn’t funny. It’s unclear whether Mountain Dew’s PuppyMonkeyBaby ad won anyone that wasn’t already drunk and/or high. Lastly, major ups to Amazon Echo and Heinz as well because their ads were also awesome.
LOSER: CAM NEWTON
Not only did he lose on the field but it would seem that his stock took a hit as well. Prior to the game, Cam was being talked about (by Manning) as being the new face of the league, but Super Bowl 50 showed that he isn’t quite ready for that mantle. Cam is an affable guy and someone who could totally be in as many commercials as Peyton Manning but that day isn’t here yet. The media didn’t do him any favors because they’re a petty bunch, so when they feel slighted the claws come out. That being said, he brought a lot of unnecessary heat on himself because of how he acted in the game and afterwards. He essentially made himself into the 2010 LeBron James over the course of the season (the fairness of which is debatable).
WINNER: PEYTON MANNING
On one hand he had an awful game and did everything he could to keep Carolina in the game, but once the game ended he owned the night. He not only had a Krusty the Clown level schilling performance by kissing Papa John but also getting his recent stake into some Budweiser distributorships to pay dividends. He is better than anyone in the league at using the media and considering that Jim Nantz and Phil Simms would’ve gone all Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Boogie Nights if Manning had one MVP, it was like shooting fish in a barrel, but he went out a winner and stole the spotlight away from the players that actually won the game. Oh, and Eli Manning deserves an honorable mention for making Peyton’s win even more significant by having an incredible reaction to the two-point conversion that sealed the game. Peyton Manning did all of this and weathered an HGH storm that never came, which again is absolutely remarkable.
The network that likes to puff their own chest more than anyone (with the possible exceptions of HBO and Fox News) had one of the worst Super Bowl telecasts in recent memory. Their halftime audio was atrocious and that production at times looked like it was pre-recorded (until Beyonce showed up). Simms and Nantz were about as bad a broadcast team as they’ve been all season and made us all wish Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth had been warming up in the bullpen. They also wanted Peyton Manning to win the MVP more than anything in the world. When he didn’t, they didn’t seem to care because Von Miller was the MVP, yet, apparently CBS didn’t know that. CBS also had broadcast issues and, while that kind of thing happens, their production was a far cry from the level NBC and FOX provide season after season.
WINNER: THE NFL
Despite another season where concussions and domestic violence reared their ugly heads and an idiotic and asinine Deflategate investigation, the National Football League reigns supreme. Roger Goodell is proof that anyone could run the NFL and it will still make money hand over fist. Even though the game itself was a defensive snooze fest, people won’t remember that years from now because audiences will only remember Peyton Manning winning and Cam Newton losing. They will also only be on America’s back burner for a few weeks because, at the beginning of March, free agency will dominate sports media, and in May the draft will be another ratings smash despite there being no real stars coming out this year. It’s astounding, and rather remarkable, that the league can do this year in and year out despite the NBA having more marketable stars and the other three leagues combined have far fewer off-the-field incidents. The NFL is borderline invincible and until further notice they will always be the biggest winners every single year.