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Super Bowl LVIII was pretty good overall
from left field logo

When I was at Monroe High School, I took a Sports Business course. During that course, the Super Bowl came around and we discussed all the various marketing aspects that surrounded the big game. From sponsored promos like the halftime show and commercials, to more subtle pulls, like in-game camera shot placement and the company brand that made the champion’s t-shirts. 

It was then that I started taking notes during the Super Bowl for myself. I would rate the game itself, the commercials, and even the musical performances. For the last six years, I’ve written about each one here in my column space. Are the ratings perfect? Absolutely not. There are all simply my personal preference.

So what about this year’s rating? Overall, it was pretty good. 

For the game itself, the first half was a bit of a blah, but I figured the Chiefs would work their way back into it — and then they did, because of course they did. Patrick Mahomes solidified his place as the unquestioned best quarterback in the league (regardless of Lamar Jackson’s MVP season). Travis Kelce came up big when it mattered, and the Kansas City defense (especially the secondary) played extraordinarily well all evening.

The 49ers left questions unanswered, though it was fitting to see head coach Kyle Shanahan once again flounder a second-half lead in the Super Bowl once again.

The second half and overtime was among the best cat-and-mouse football we saw all year, and the game will go down as one of the best championships of all-time, in my opinion. 

I give the game an easy 4.5 out of a maximum 5.

The pregame show was par for the course. Post Malone and Reba McIntyre did well with their renditions of America the Beautiful and Star Spangled Banner. The Marcus Mariota-narrated piece on the Lahaina, Maui fires was touching, though it could have been given more than two minutes of air time. The 49ers intro with Jerry Rice and Metallica was peak hype. KC’s Beastie Boys/Tony Gonzalez intro was solid, but not nearly as great as their counterparts.

Collective pregame score: 4/5.

The halftime show was energetic. I enjoyed all the cameos. Alicia Keyes and Ludacris? Yes, please. I also apparently forgot just how many songs Usher has been a part of.

I have no idea how Usher could do so many outfit changes in such a short period of time. One minute you see him with a jacket on. All of a sudden it’s a new jacket. Now he’s in roller skates. Now he’s shirtless. Now he has new pants and shirts and jacket. “What is happening?”

Overall, I give the halftime show a 4/5.

After the game, I finally hopped back on social media to see what was trending and what people were talking about. Apparently, there were a large contingent of people that thought the commercials were sub-par. I think these people are just going through a tough time in life and want to be mad just for the sake of being mad. I thought this was one of the best years of overall commercials in a really, really long time.

Right off the bat was the NFL Sunday Ticket with the players of bird-nicknamed teams flying through the skies. I gave it a 6/5. Just kidding, I don’t give extra credit, but that was awesome. 5/5

There were two other commercials I graded as a 5/5. There was the FanDuel/Carl Weathers tribute ad, which was timely since Weathers, a former NFL player and actor, recently passed away. 

The other was the Michael Cera/CeraVe spot, which brought me back to a TikTok video I saw about a week before the game. In the TikTok, the woman referenced a previous video she made jokingly asking if Michael Cera owned CeraVe, the lotion company. In the follow up video, the woman did an “unboxing” video, where she opens a package she received in real time. The package had CeraVe products and other knickknacks, but with the scruffy bearded face of actor Michael Cera screen-printed alongside. In the video, she said it came from Michael Cera (and/or his marketing team) himself.

Cut to the Super Bowl spot, where the same Michael Cera scruffy face is plastered all over CeraVe products. 

Initially I thought, “wow, this is so original, and CeraVe took a fun little TikTok/actor bit and turned it into a funny Super Bowl ad.” The next morning, my mind switched to thinking it was probably a sneaky marketing scheme in which they were trying to make it seem organic and fun, when instead it was just a long-game ploy to get further airtime and play on social media and late night shows. *Adam begrudgingly shrugs*

There were tons of other great ads as well. The NFL Africa with the little boy dreaming of playing was fabulous (4.5), as was the E-Trade babies playing pickleball (4.5) and Dove’s tear-jerking piece reminding us to celebrate girls giving sports a try.

Ads that I gave 4/5 ratings to included the Ben Afflect/Matt Damon/J-Lo/Tom Brady piece for Dunkin Donuts; M&Ms with Dan Marino; Aubry Plaza drinking Mountain Dew Blast everywhere humanly possible; Beyonce trying to break the internet; Michelob Ultra slowly pouring a glass of beer while Lionel Messi and Dan Marino kick and toss around a soccer ball (with Ted Lasso trying to name drop in front of a random guy at the beach); BMW’s ad where Christopher Walken is tired of regular people’s immaculate impressions of his voice; Judge Judy becoming Judge Beauty for e.l.f. Cosmetics; Etsy’s piece on America thanking France for the Statue of Liberty with a cheese board and spread; Tony Romo and Mr. T wear Skechers; Pfizer celebrating scientific advancements while pictures and paintings of history’s greatest scientists sing to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”; the Bud Light Genie; Kia’s heartwarming ice skater at Grandpa’s house; and lastly, the Volkswagen ad announcing (finally) that the ID. Buzz (the electric bus/van) is finally coming to America. (I’ve been waiting seven dang years for it to finally get here!)

I won’t get into the 3.5s or even 3-stars that I rated, because there are a lot. Like I said, collectively this was a good year for commercials. 

Lastly, the one item I haven’t touched on yet and I know that if you made it this far, you expected to see, is the weirdly controversial Taylor Swift connection. I am not a Swiftie. I liked her first song when it dropped almost 20 years ago, but that was about it until I heard a new one randomly pop up on my Pandora last year. I didn’t even know who it was, but I liked it. Turns out, it was T-Swift. *Adam shrugs again*

I know a lot of people have complained over the season, let alone the last few weeks of the season, about the air time TV broadcasts have given the person who is arguably the most popular person on the planet right now. I don’t care. TV stations don’t care, and the NFL doesn’t care. TayTay is bringing in millions of more eyeballs to the NFL product, and that should be a good thing. Heck, we have to see owner’s box shots of Jerry Jones (Cowboys) and Robert Kraft (Patriots) already, so it doesn’t bug me. 

For the Super Bowl, I saw the Era’s Tour headliner flash on the screen just three times in the first half and 11 times before the end of the game. USA Today had a reporter tracking the literal screen time Ms. Swift had on the night, and it equated to just 55 seconds of the 4-hour, 18-minute game. That’s hardly “too much” for anyone.

Besides, she doesn’t attend NFL games to grow her brand. The 14-time Grammy Award winner was there to support her boyfriend, an All-Pro Tight End and now 3-time NFL champion. Good for her. Good for him. And good for the league.

And for anyone feeling glum about the result of the game, or that football is over — just remember, Pitchers and Catchers begin reporting to Spring Training today.

Baseball is back.

— Adam Krebs is the editor of the Monroe Times and can be reached directly at 608-324-3615 or at