A note: Our slideshow function is totally borked today and it’s bringing us all to tears, and that means… I have to embed every photo in this post. One. By. One. You’re in for a lot of scrolling. Thanks for your patience.
Ah, the Super Bowl. It was a close game. Was it a good game? The two are not always synonymous, and wasn’t that compelled by the product on the field even though the score was tight. (Also, I was rooting for the Bengals, but it was only even as close as it was because the refs missed a flagrant penalty that would have negated Cincy’s big second-half touchdown.) Maybe I’m too picky. Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels certainly decided it was an instant classic, but I feel like Cris Collinsworth acts like everything is an instant classic. You could hand him a cold French Dip from the back of your pickup truck and he’d be like, “Al, that sandwich… you couldn’t ask for a better sandwich on a night like tonight,” and if Ben Roethlisberger or Tom Brady were somehow involved, he’d nominate it to the Sandwich Hall of Fame while Al Michaels merrily telustrated a shot of the confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers. We need a football crank. We need the NFL’s Dick Button. Bring him or her to me.
Anyway, above, you see Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow strolling into the game in, what, silver tiger stripes? The Bengals through the lens of a Lombardi Trophy? It wasn’t meant to be, Joe, but you tried it. You did. If I were an actual Bengals fan, I would be both terrified and appreciative of my QB’s swagger. I appreciate that this guy does not seem stressed out at all, and that’s honestly probably what you want, but the grandma in me is like, “Should you be a LITTLE less focused on your pregame threads?!?” But, Burrow’s gonna Burrow.
Sean McVay, the Rams coach, looks hella handsome. He’s been making noise about whether he’d stop coaching to “focus on family” (he’s engaged). He was hired at age 30. He’s now a withered old husk of 36 — yes, I’m joking — and there’s something funny to me about him sweeping into a head coaching gig, winning the Super Bowl in such a short time, and then peaceing out forever to do TV commentary because it’s stress-free money. Do I blame him? No. I, too, would take stress-free money. But honestly, it’s got to be more likely he’s playing the game to get a fat contract boost. And who could blame him for that either?
Jhene Aiko sang America the Beautiful, I think? I missed most of the pregame show because I was watching curling YES YOU HEARD ME but Jhene has a great voice so I assume she was awesome. She certainly looks perfect.
She also had a harpist, which you don’t see every day. I am pleased to see harpists getting paid.
Mickey Guyton did the national anthem, and she can SING. I never love it when performers take a ton of liberties with the melody of an official anthem, though. I know I’m VERY square in that regard, but I wish she’d sung it more straight.
Billie Jean did the coin toss, and much like the Queen, Ms. King understands the merits of bright dressing. Her signature frames match her jacket perfectly, and you will not miss her even from the cheap seats. I am always happy to see her.
I was NOT that happy to see The Rock, though?
Granted, the bloom has come off that particular rose recently for me. But I didn’t realize how much until I took one look at him doing his shtick and involuntarily groaned and hit mute. It seemed to go on forever, even silently. With all the other fanfare, why did we need him? And why do his high-tops look so dopey? Why are his trousers so terrible? I am not a fan of his overall wine blend — it’s like he has a cabernet and a pinot noir on the table and is swigging from them both at the same time — but the cut on the pelvis is awful. His pants have been TERRIBLE in the last year or two. He had this on rails for so long, and now it’s running off the track.
I just… why is the journey from button to crotch so LONG?
The halftime show was the first one dedicated to hip hop, and several of the headliners are FROM this area, so that had to be special. It was a tribute to a genre that has strong roots in California, and the ground here appears to be a CGI city grid of Compton and South LA, while the buildings are various well-known spots in the area (for example, one of them bore the marquee of Eve After Dark, a famous club, with the night’s lineup faintly visible on it). But I did think that production-wise the minutiae was designed more for the home audience than the stadium crowd. Don’t get me wrong, the crowd was INTO IT because the playlist was so fantastic, and the idea is neat. But I thought that in practice, the box aspect of it was awkward.
All the people performing in the cubes were a little crammed in, and lost.
50 Cent was an unannounced special guest, and started his performance hanging upside-down as a presumed reference to his “In Da Club” video. You could SEE the blood rushing to his head. I was so relieved when he flipped back over. But see what I mean, about him seeming cramped in there? At home we could at least get close-ups, but in the stadium you’d have to stare at the screen to see any of him. Not the end of the world; just an interesting production choice.
But! These two were not crammed in anywhere. Dr. Dre and Snoop looked perfect — who can argue with Dre’s classic coat, and Snoop’s UCLA colors (I have decided that’s what they are and will not be deterred)? From the first note this was an incredible blast of nostalgia. I loved it.
Kendrick Lamar performed with a bunch of dancers who started out in cardboard boxes, and were wearing Dre Day sashes. He rapped “Alright” at lightning speed; it was amazing to see. I had expected him to do “Humble” because it, like so many of the other songs, has such a memorable and iconic sound. But what he did was such a high degree of difficulty and contrasted really well with the rest of the set.
And Eminem looked like Eminem. I guess Twitter was unsettled by his dark eyebrows? But I think he’s sporting dark hair now in general, so they didn’t really register for me. “Lose Yourself” is just… a great song. All of these were impossible not to bob your head to, which of course made me look hopelessly dorky in front of my kids, but whatever. I’m not cool, and they know that.
Eminem — who had Anderson.Paak playing drums; I forgot to get a picture — also took a knee at the end of his performance as a tribute to Colin Kaepernick, something it’s rumored the NFL told him not to do, although the NFL tried to deny that by saying it had watched all the rehearsals (which… is not exactly a denial).
And Mary J looked super dramatic in her custom Dundas, but those boots were clunky and I did think they looked unwieldy when she walked.
She finished her set by flopping onto her back, and this photo of that moment is SO FUNNY.
Halftime Show producer Jay Z dropped by:
Jay Z (Roc Nation produced the halftime show) brought his kids — that’s Blue Ivy leaping in the photo, and his other daughter with the security guard. They seemed to have a good time, and I’m pretty sure Jay Z won’t mind anyone publishing this…
… because he showed off his handiwork to the cameras.
My kids saw LeBron and were like, “Why is he so dressed up?” My answer was, “Because he probably knew he’d be on-camera and he wanted to look nice,” which is a bit cynical but also probably true. I also just think LeBron likes to be snazzy, and I respect that.
Sophie is red again! Did we know this?
Olivia looks very cute. I thought that was a box of raisins in the thumbnail, but no, it’s her halftime show pass. Maybe she got on the field. (Or backstage.)
Ben and J.Lo were there, but I didn’t have a picture, so we’ll have to settle for Charlize Theron and Matt Damon high-fiving each other over what I assume is a bet on whether Bennifer will get married this time. I like Charlize’s shirt. It feels like upscale Dodgers gear.
Also, Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds hung out together, with Will wearing gear from Ryan’s hometown BC Lions of the CFL. I assume that really was a lost bet? Although Will, as noted in that story, has shown the CFL some love before. Maybe he just likes orange but didn’t want to invest in Bengals gear.
Ye showed up in this, which… sir, Kim already did it. (That’s Tyga and YG with him. Or perhaps merely near him.)
But Ye hanging out with Antonio Brown feels like a potentially toxic stew for both of them. AB apparently recently Tweeted a plea for Ye to buy the Denver Broncos. I… do not think that should happen.
Here’s Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine, looking as cheerful as Ye did bored. Was there a Pitch Perfect reunion we didn’t know about?
Hey, the Biebs looks just fine! Hailey’s shirt is hanging on by the two most optimistic buttons in the world.