Thoughts on the Game
Cam Newton was clear about his stance. Any team that was tired of him dabbing, didn’t want him to playfully rip open his jersey as the Super Man of football, they had one option. Stop him.
Sunday, in Super Bowl 50, the Denver
Broncos Kryptonite did just that.
“For two weeks straight,” Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby said, “all we heard was Cam this, Cam that. Dab this, dab that. It was very disrespectful.”
Newton learned a hard lesson Sunday, one that he should be all the better for if he takes his medicine. What happened to him Sunday can break him or make him who everyone thought he was. Because that Super Bowl performance didn’t look good on Cam. He was unrecognizable.
There was no celebrating for Newton. No smiling. No blessing kids in the stands with footballs. One day after winning the NFL MVP, almost unanimously, Newton was rendered pedestrian. Denver’s defense did what nobody could do all season: corral Carolina’s No. 1. Super Man had no heroics in him, and the Panthers were upset 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.
Newton looked nothing like the player who took over the NFL this season, showed only flashes of the transcendent star who was ushering in the new generation of quarterback. He was instead jittery most of the night, emotionless when not visibly frustrated, not in command.
And after the game, Newton looked nothing like the charming, fun-loving endorsement star America had come to love. He was instead a heartbroken youngster, leaning on anger and impatience as a way of displaying his disappointment. The shadow of his hood couldn’t hide the disdain on his face as he digested questions without regurgitating answers. The sulk in his posture revealed just how much he understood the opportunity he missed.
Newton had totaled 45 touchdowns during the regular season — and five more in two postseason games.
Sunday, he not only didn’t score a touchdown but also turned the ball over three times. Both of his fumbles were converted into Denver touchdowns, the second fumble he had a chance to recover but chose not to dive for it.
He put together one good drive as the NFL’s most potent offense was deconstructed before hundreds of millions of viewers.
“When things don’t go his way,” Broncos safety T.J. Ward said, “we see the body language. It’s obvious. That was our intent, to come in the game and get that body language going. We didn’t want the happy, fun-spirited, dancing Cam. No, we want the sulking, upset, talking to my linemen, my running backs, ‘I don’t know what’s going on’ Cam. And that’s what we got.”
Newton put together one good drive. But he wasn’t alone in causing his demise.
His offensive line was no match for Denver’s front seven, or front four. Newton’s receivers dropped a few passes (his one interception first went through the hands of Ted Ginn Jr.) and struggled to get open. And Newton’s offensive coordinator, Mike Shula, kept him the pocket, turning him into a 6-foot-5 tackle dummy.
Halftime Shit Show Thoughts
Perhaps it was inevitable, in an era of “Full House” reboots, nostalgia for the early Obama Era, and highly publicized reunions of bands not five years disbanded, that we would get a Super Bowl Halftime Show tribute to recent Super Bowl Halftime Shows. That’s certainly the easiest way to sum up Super Bowl 50’s hyperactive slurry of musical half-thoughts, busily choreographed shit, irreconcilable tonal shifts and, periodically, brief snippets of quality music best experienced as a series of GIFs.
Despite Coldplay’s status as the nominal headliners, a mid-set invasion from Beyonce and Bruno Mars brought the only thing approximating heat, while a closing clip reel of recent halftime highlights — from Paul McCartney to Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson — only served to underscore the senselessness of the whole endeavor.
Coldplay, first announced as the halftime headliner back in early December, is not a popular band in certain cred-obsessed corners of the Internet. They are, however, arguably the only mass-appeal pop-rock act not yet eligible for Social Security that could make a reasonable claim to the sort of universality that has become the gig’s primary pre-requisite, so their booking certainly made sense.
Yet with the far flashier “Bey and Mars” — both of whom turned in solid halftime slots in recent years — announced as secondary performers shortly thereafter, Coldplay seemed resigned to politely allowing themselves to be played right off their own stage.
The band’s quick, four-song medley opened the set mid-field, accompanied by some Up With People-style choreography, but with knowledge that the bigger guns were yet to come, they ultimately felt like an opening act. (Although, to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s credit, he at least made an effort to introduce some tiny glimmers of rawness into an inevitably canned performance, allowing several audience members to sing into his mic.) The quartet hardy had a moment to catch their breath, however, before the cameras swiveled over to the right, where Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson and a posse of leather-clad dancers slammed through a good 90 seconds of “Uptown Funk,” with a pinch of James Brown and Morris Day thrown in for good measure.
Then, of course, it was over to Beyonce on the other side of the pitch. As evangelically, performatively worshiped on social media as Coldplay are snarkily dismissed, Bey gave an arresting, drill-squad-style rendition of her just-released single, “Formation.” Offering the show its only shiver of sex appeal, only shot of menace, and only ghost-note of political engagement, Beyonce was clearly inhabiting a different, far cooler planet than Martin, Mars & Co., but before even she could hit her groove, we were back to center stage. The motley crew then crooned an almost post-musical medley of “Fix You” with stray lines from halftime performances past, while the archival montage did all it could to make viewers forget they were supposed to be watching an actual live performance.
It was, in short, a fucking mess, a shit show, and all that was left at the end were the questions:
Is it hopelessly old-fashioned to wonder if Coldplay wouldn’t have been better served simply playing a song or two in their entirety, rather than trying to cram as many orphaned choruses as possible into a short frame? (Kids these days may not have time for full LPs anymore, but surely they can handle a complete three-minute pop song without changing channels, no?)
If Mars is one of the only truly old-school, razzle-dazzle song-and-dance men of his current generation, why not simply let him play every year?
And as theoretically admirable as it was to see Beyonce bring a bit of meaning to her return to the Super Bowl spotlight — her dancers were outfitted in Black Panther chic, with “Formation’s” lyrics offering sly rebukes to race-based beauty standards — how much did the political subtleties of her performance really register amongst the portions of CBS’ viewership who didn’t already know to look for them?
Prior to the start of the game, Lady Gaga continued into year two of her mission to prove to everyone’s midwestern aunt that she really can sing, delivering a strong, classy, brassy take on “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Last But not Least…. The Comercials
First of all …..what the fuck did we watch with #PuppyMonkeyBaby?
If you can tell a story in 30 seconds and you had $4.5 to $5 million to do it, you could have bought a commercial spot during the Big Game this year.
If you’re like the rest of us, you looked forward to the explosion of persuasive creativity which played flunked out during the Super Bowl.
Commercials are the shortest narrative form I know. In half a minute, they can introduce characters, hint at their back stories, play out a drama on the screen, and sell underarm deodorant or tortillas chips, too. All in thirty seconds.
That said, Here are the 10 best Super Bowl commercials of 2016 in no particular order:
Lets hope next year improves greatly…..