And just like that, another chapter in the NFL’s history is over and the interminable 7-month wait for the next season begins. With Super Bowl XLVIII in the books, the Seattle Seahawks can now revel in levels of glory unbeknownst to those who have neither won the championship game nor crowned themselves Emperor of France. On the other hand, the Denver Broncos must search deep into the depths of their souls and find a way to rally around the agony of being annihilated in front of the entire planet. In the meantime, for fans, the next few months will be a sad return to the monotony of everyday life, devoid of the escape provided by the fleeting impression that, at 1 p.m. every Sunday, we were all part of a team working tirelessly towards life’s ultimate achievement: the Vince Lombardi trophy. However, before we must feign a newfound appreciation for romantic Sunday brunches with our girlfriends, let’s look back at the biggest winners and losers in the Western world’s most important and culturally relevant event of the year.
The Seattle Seahawks: This one requires no explanation. The players are now legends, the bandwagon stretches 37 miles long, jersey sales will go through the roof and the world is at their feet.
Airlines and oil companies: One team hails from Seattle, the other from Denver. The game was played in New York. Throughout the entire Super Bowl era, this was only the fifth time that teams had to travel over a combined 4,000 miles to play the game. In other words, it was a great time to operate Boeing 777s or to sell bulk quantity of fossil fuels. Somewhere in America, Al Gore is sulking.
Eli Manning & Tom Brady: The two men destined to perpetually be compared to Peyton Manning can now rest easy. Eli, whose interception-to-touchdown ratio is similar to Jennifer Lopez’ bomb-to-hit ratio, somehow stays ahead of big brother in Super Bowl wins. As for Brady, while his title lead was safe, a Manning win would’ve solidified Manning’s case for Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.) and perhaps drawn Mrs. Bundchen away from “Tom Terrific.”
Everyone who watched the halftime show: Whether or not you like Bruno Mars or believe that it was a good idea for Anthony Kiedis to perform shirtless, at least Macklemore wasn’t booked to perform. He might have corrupted the Grammys, albeit by no fault of his own, but the Super Bowl was spared. Also, no Bieber.
The Denver Broncos: Al Sharpton would’ve had better chances to score with Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman than the Broncos did against Seattle’s defense. That said, though he did not put forth his best performance, Peyton Manning will likely receive more flak than he deserves considering the pitiful amount of support he received from his teammates. Another future Hall of Famer, Champ Bailey, may have also missed his last opportunity to win it all. If 2014 is the year of the Horse, someone forgot to tell the Broncos.
Advertisers: Never mind the mixed reviews for the commercials, there were plenty of successes: Budweiser’s horse/puppy combo shed more than its fair share of pre-een tears, and Bud Light’s “Perfect Beer for Whatever” sent men around the world rushing to the nearest beer store in the hopes of later petting Don Cheadle’s llama in an elevator. The biggest problem for advertisers was quite literally the game itself. Seattle conquered MetLife Stadium about as quickly as the Nazis conquered France, steering people’s attention away from the screen and onto their smartphones or the nearest bucket of chicken wings.
Fans: Saving the most important for last, this year’s Super Bowl was an absolute disaster for fans. From the onset, the fan experience seemed in jeopardy when the NFL announced that tailgating would not be permitted before the game – a move that baffled many. As for the game itself, it has already been referred to as one of the most boring Super Bowls in history; after warm-ups, the game wasn’t even close, robbing fans of the back-and-forth battle that they had so long anticipated. Luckily for the NFL, the league benefits from arguably the most most loyal fan base in all professional sports, meaning that they should not see the game’s poor showing have an effect on their bottom-line.
All in all, every contest must have winners and losers, with this year’s Super Bowl being no different. The quintessential display of North America’s best elements, be it elite athleticism, tireless work ethic, terrific technological capacity and production, or the ability to temporarily transform strangers into the best of friends, the Super Bowl has brought glory to both the Seattle organization and to America, whose greatness was witnessed across the world. Unfortunately, the biggest losers on Sunday evening were the true football fans. Nevertheless, for a league that has transcended the usual boundaries of sports associations, this year’s Super Bowl will likely go down as another success in terms of exposure and revenue-generation. Until next year, friends.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Bull & Bear.