See “Last Night's TV” audio for soundbites from the game, the halftime show, post-game interviews and select commercials. We've also included Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan's performance of the National Anthem and H.E.R. singing “America the Beautiful.”
What many had thought might be an epic Super Bowl face-off between star quarterbacks with the Kansas City Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, hoping to repeat as NFL champions, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by Tom Brady trying to win his record seventh NFL title didn't turn out that way last night (February 7th), as the Bucs beat the Chiefs 31-9 in a dominating performance for the franchise's second NFL championship and first in 18 years.
Brady, who was 21-for-29 for 201 yards and three touchdowns, won the game MVP, and the Buccaneers winning Super Bowl 55 virtually sealed the deal on him being the greatest quarterback — and possibly greatest football player — of all time. Brady joined Tampa Bay this season after two decades and six NFL titles with the New England Patriots and led them at age 43 to the NFL championship, after they hadn't made the playoffs since 2007 and had losing seasons the prior three years.
Mahomes, meanwhile, was kept under pressure by the Tampa Bay defense all night. The 25-year-old was sacked three times, intercepted twice, and was unable to manage any touchdowns, with the Chiefs' scoring limited to just three field goals. The Buccaneers' defense clamped down on receivers as well, particularly Tyreek Hill, and there was self-inflicted damage by Kansas City with mistakes and penalties. The numerous penalty calls against them, some at key moments, cost them a total of 120 penalty yards.
The Chiefs got on the board first with a first quarter field goal, but the quarter ended with the Bucs ahead 7-3 after Brady threw for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining to Rob Gronkowski, his old New England Patriots teammate who came out of retirement to play with him again. Tampa Bay scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter, one of those another Brady-Gronkowski connection and the other to Antonio Brown, while the Chiefs only managed another field goal. That sent the teams to halftime with the Bucs up 21-6.
Kansas City's Harrison Butker made a 52-yard field goal about three-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter, but that was the last time the Chiefs would score in the game. Tampa Bay added another touchdown and their own 52-yard field goal in the quarter for what would be the game's final 31-9 score, with neither team adding points in the fourth quarter. That final quarter saw Mahomes scrambling furiously in the backfield as he tried to fight off the Tampa Bay defense, but even when he got off accurate throws, his receivers couldn't come up with the catches.
Stats and Facts:
Brady broke not only his own record of most Super Bowl wins by a player with his seventh, but also his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl. Brady joined Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl with multiple franchises. Tampa Bay's Bruce Arians became at age 68 the oldest head coach to win the Super Bowl. Brady and Gronkowski now have a record 14 touchdown receptions in the postseason, passing the quarterback-receiver team of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. The Buccaneers were the first team to play a Super Bowl — and win one — in its home stadium. Only 25,000 of Raymond James Stadium's 65,000 seats were filled due to coronavirus restrictions, and 30,000 seats had life-size cardboard cutouts of people in them. Fans paid $100 to send in picture to be blown up and be in the stands, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the nonprofit Feeding Tampa Bay.
Poem by Amanda Gorman:
Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old poet laureate who won acclaim for the original poem she recited at President Biden's inauguration, read another poem last night before kickoff. Her poem honored the three people who'd been chosen as the game's honorary captains, a nurse, a teacher and a Marine veteran. The poem, called “Chorus of the Captains,” also paid tribute to all teachers, military veterans and frontline healthcare workers.
“AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL” AND THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
H.E.R kicked things off with a slowed down, electric guitar-fueled rendition of “America The Beautiful.” The singer referred to the performance as a “surreal moment” on Twitter.
She was followed by country star Eric Church and Grammy-nominated R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan, who joined forces for the national anthem. Church and Sullivan each performed a solo verse in their duet before joining their voices together. While the performance got mostly positive reviews, some Twitter users felt Sullivan should have been chosen to perform on her own. Love & Hip Hop: Miami star Jessica Fyre wrote, “Jazmine Sullivan had to share her moment with a redneck… during black history month ….When have we ever seen the national anthem performed as a duet during the #SuperBowl ???”
As well-received as both performances were, the star of the show seemed to be Warren “Wawa” Snipe, the American Sign Language interpreter for both songs. Marlee Matlin, an Academy Award winning actress and prominent member of the National Association of the Deaf, tweeted, “@diphopwawa YOU stole the show with your ASL rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at the #SuperBowl !!! Glad America finally saw the star you are!” Snipe is a deaf rapper, actor and performer with a recurring role on The CW’s Black Lightning.
THE HALFTIME SHOW
The Weeknd spent $7 million to perform for 14 minutes during the Pepsi Halftime Show. The singer took to the stage wearing a glittering red jacket with a black shirt and tie. He started off with his 2016 track, “Starboy,” backed by a chorus of singers in glowing face masks. Then he made his way through a gold maze — that spawned several memes — for the hit track, “Can’t Feel My Face,” and headed to the field where he joined dancers in matching red and black outfits wearing face bandages.
Although many social media users likened the bandage-wearing dancers to “the tethered” from Jordan Peele‘s film, Us, The Weeknd explained the meaning to Variety last week. He said, “The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.” The look has been a consistent part of his After Hours aesthetic.
His full setlist included, “Starboy,” “The Hills,” “Can't Feel My Face,” “I Feel It Coming,” “Save Your Tears,” “Earned It,” and “Blinding Lights.”
One glaring downside from the halftime show was the poor audio. Several people, including Valerie Bertinelli and Maria Shriver, tweeted that they could barely hear The Weeknd.
Advertisers paid some $5.5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad this year. After a very difficult year for the country and with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, many of the ads went for lightness and humor and lots of celebrities, with some featuring not just one celeb, but several of them. There were a few ads that referred to the current hard times, such as one from Bass Pro Shops that said nature is still there for us and we need it more than ever.
There was a Jeep ad narrated by Bruce Springsteen that spoke to the political divides in the country by making an appeal for “the middle,” or common ground. Beginning at a chapel in Lebanon, Kansas, that is at the geographical center of the U.S., it showed Springsteen doing ordinary activities like writing and driving as he says in voiceover, “It’s no secret the middle has been a hard place to get to lately, between red and blue, servant and citizen, freedom and fear,” and adds, “We need the middle.” The spot ends with the on-screen dedication, “To the ReUnited States of America.” Here are some of the commercials your listeners may be talking about today: (SOUND is provided in “Last Night's TV” audio for ads in blue section)
Ads with Sound provided:
Door Dash – Hamilton's Daveed Diggs and Sesame Street characters like Big Bird, Grover and Cookie Monster sing about food being delivered in your neighborhood.
General Motors – Will Ferrell hates Norway because it produces more electric vehicles per capita than the U.S. There are cameos by Kenan Thompson and Awkwafina as Ferrell journeys to what he thinks is Norway.
Dr. Squatch – In the humorous spot, Dr. Squatch's natural soap is touted as being for men who open pickle jars on the first try, slay dragons, and let their daughters braid their hair.
Vroom – Ecommerce company that lets people buy cars online says you'll never have to go to a dealership online, showing a man pleading with a car salesman to let him go home as the dealer electrocutes him with jumper cables.
T-Mobile – Adam Levine sets Gwen Stefani up on not-good date with Blake Shelton (her real-life fiance) because he misunderstands what she wants in a man due to a garbled connection.
T-Mobile – Anthony Anderson plays football against his mom and family members, with a cameo from the Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce.
Verizon – Samuel J. Jackson appears as a video game character blasting gamers for blaming lag for poor gaming performance, before getting eaten by a shark-like fish ridden by a video game version of the Pittsburgh Steelers' JuJu Smith-Schuster, who Jackson had just chastised for giving excuses.
Cheetos – Mila Kunis denies eating husband Ashton Kutcher's Cheetos, despite having Cheetos dust around her mouth, saying, “It wasn't me,” as Shaggy joins in, singing the line from his song of the same name.
Square Space – Dolly Parton sings a remade version of her classic office anthem, 9 to 5, as 5 to 9.
Alexa – Michael B. Jordan personifies Amazon's Alexa for an enamored woman who's husband isn't happy at the steamy turn of events.
Other Memorable Ads:
M&Ms – Dan Levy cameos in the spot about M&Ms being able to be used to apologize for anything, including kicking the back of a plane seat on purpose, “mansplaining,” a gender reveal gone wrong and calling someone a “Karen.”
Paramount+ – A series of ads for the new Paramount Plus streaming service that shows celebrities from its new shows, both real and not, including Sir Patrick Stewart in humorous scenes as they climb the mountain in the Paramount logo.
Doritos 3D – Matthew McConaughey has become flat, and is seen in moments such as flapping in the breeze in a car, flying up in the wind as he tries to walk his dog, and with his foot sucked up by a Roomba, before becoming normal again by eating Doritos 3D.
State Farm – Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Paul Rudd and Drake are in this ad about Jake from State Farm stand-ins.
Rocket Mortgage – Tracy Morgan shows a family why “pretty sure” isn't good enough in situations like eating strange mushrooms, skydiving, jumping an open bridge — and taking out a mortgage.
Oatley – In this odd spot, the CEO of oat milk company Oatley sings in a field of wheat about how Oatley is like milk, but made for humans.
Huggies – The spots shows adorable babies doing cute baby things, and photos of babies it said were born hours earlier on the same day.
Hellman's Mayonnaise – Comedian Amy Schumer is a Fairy Godmayo who uses Hellman's mayonnaise to help a man make great food with his leftovers.
Tide – A teen's hoodie with Jason Alexander's face on it is so dirty that his mom says he needs to wash it and owes it an apology. Alexander himself, in a car, then sees the teen wearing it and yells at him, shouting, “Give me back my face!”
Toyota – A heartwarming spot about American Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long, telling the story of her adoption as a baby who had to have her legs amputated below the knee.
Uber Eats – Mike Myers and Dana Carvey revive their Wayne World's characters, with an assist from Cardi B, urging people to eat from local restaurants.
Cadillac – Timothee Chalamet is Edgar Scissorhands, the son of Edward Scissorhands, with Winona Ryder reprising her role from the 1990 movie. Edgar is able to drive the Cadillac Lyric because of its hands-free “Super Cruise” technology.
BESTS & WORSTS
'USA Today' Ad Meter: USA Today held its annual Ad Meter review of the Super Bowl commercials in which people register online and vote on the ads. The full results, including the most popular and least popular ads, is available this morning at http://bit.ly/2D9ryfV.
Here is what some news outlets thought were the best and worst ads:
CNN – Best Ads: http://cnn.it/2YS3SYV CBS Sports – Best Ads: http://bit.ly/36SeLOR Yahoo Sports – Best and Worst Ads: http://yhoo.it/3aJpigf CNet – Best Ads: http://cnet.co/2YRExhA Slate – Worst Ads: http://bit.ly/2YREB0O
CONTACTS WHO CAN TALK ABOUT THE ADS:
Tim Calkins – Marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management who co-runs the Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review each year, which grades and evaluates Super Bowl ads – 847-467-3209 or email him at [email protected]
Derek D. Rucker – Marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management who co-runs the Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review each year, which grades and evaluates Super Bowl ads – 847-491-2714 or email him at [email protected]
Kelly O'Keefe – Professor of brand strategy in the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter – Contact Leila Ugincius in University Public Affairs at 804-828-2725 or email [email protected]
Charles R. Taylor – Villanova University marketing professor – 610-519-4386 or email him at [email protected]
Edward W. Russell – Associate professor of advertising at Syracuse University – 315-443-4045 or Email him at [email protected]
Kimberly Whitler — University of Virginia marketing professor — 434-924-3271 or email her at [email protected]