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Zach Hacker: Breaking down the big game

USA TODAY Recording artist Katy Perry performs during the half time show in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Monday after the Super Bowl is always a sad time for football fans like me. It’s the beginning of a full six months without football.

So, with nothing football-related to really look forward to until the NFL Draft begins on April 30, I’m going to take one last opportunity to look back on Super Bowl XLIX. It was a great game between two excellent teams.

But by now we all know the Super Bowl is, to many, much more than just a football game. It’s an event. There are those who enjoy it for the parties (or at least the snacks and/or libations that go with them).There are those who watch for the commercials and there are even some who really only care about the halftime show.

While I didn’t attend any parties and opted instead to just watch the game with my dog, Homer (he’s a huge fan and a great football mind), everyone’s is different anyway. I will, however, break down all the other aspects of the grand spectacle that is Super Bowl Sunday.

The game

To me the game itself is the obvious place to start. After all, that’s what Super Bowl Sunday is really all about.

Like I said above: it really was an excellent game. Just in case you’ve been living in a cave (though, I belive most of those have WiFi now), the Patriots won 28-24. New England, which had been behind 24-14 to start the fourth quarter, took a 28-24 lead with 2:02 left to play. Seattle got a miracle of a juggling catch by Jermaine Kearse to get down to the Patriots’ 3-yard-line with less than a minute to go.

After a first down run by Marshawn Lynch got the Seahawks to the 1-yard-line, they came out for second down with one of the most inexplicable play calls I’ve ever seen, maybe ever. Instead of giving it to Lynch again, a guy who was given the nickname “Beast Mode” for a reason, quarterback Russell Wilson rifles a pass into heavy traffic in the middle of the field. Patriots rookie Malcolm Butler stepped up and made a nice play on the ball, intercepting the pass and forever placing his name in Super Bowl lore.

According to Sports Illustrated, Lynch had run the ball 24 times prior to that play. He had failed to gain at least one yard only twice. Oh, and did I mention that his nickname is “Beast Mode?!” Give him the rock and let him do his thing!

I was cheering for the Seahawks so naturally, the ending was a disappointment. That said, unlike most NFL fans outside of New England, I don’t hate the Patriots. In fact, I kind of like them. (I’ve been a Tom Brady fan since he played for the University of Michigan in college.) So, even though ‘my team’ didn’t win, I was still satisfied when the confetti started to fall.

Horrible play calls aside, it might not go down as the greatest super bowl of all time, but it’s probably up there. New England took a big lead early, Seattle came back to tie it with another gutsy call right before halftime, the Seahawks took charge in the third quarter before Brady and Bill Belichick (not to mention the NE defense) worked their magic in the fourth. I have to think any fan of the game, regardless of their rooting interest, can appreciate that.

The commercials

Even though the game is the main draw for me, the Super Bowl is the one time I don’t completely zone out when the broadcast heads to commercials. Although I’ve felt, aside from a couple here and there, the ads haven’t been very good the last few years, I can’t help but be interested in what they’ll roll out.

This year’s ads seemed to take on a more serious tone. Commercials about family, domestic abuse prevention and other core issues cut through the usual double-entendres and off-the-mark punchlines.

These more meaningful commercials ranged from good (If you didn’t let out at least a silent cheer when the Clydesdales rescued their puppy friend from that nasty wolf in Budweiser’s “Best Buds” spot, I’m worried for your ability to feel), to confusing (Did Nissan just tell parents that it’s OK to be absent from their child’s lives as long as they drive a Nissan?), to the downright disturbing (Seriously, Nationwide, we’re all just trying to have fun here. Why are you baiting us with a cute kid commerical only to tell us that the kid DIED?! This was unsettling, if not even a little creepy.)

That said, there were still some ads that managed to be really good despite the fact they didn’t feature a puppy. Snickers’ “Brady Bunch” parody with Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi was probably my favorite. It actually made me laugh out loud. I also enjoyed the eSurance ad featuring the return of Walter White and the Clash of Clans (whatever that is) spot with Liam Neeson wasn’t bad.

All in all, however, I’d say this year’s commercials were sub-par.

Halftime show

Say what you want, but I thought Katy Perry absolutely crushed the halftime show.

I’m not the biggest fan of most of the pop music that’s been put out in recent years, but I’ll admit that Katy Perry is an exception. I think she’s got a great voice and most of her music is upbeat and catchy. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that she’s rather easy on the eyes.

But this halftime show went beyond that. I mean, she rode into the center of the stadium riding a 40-football tall mechanical lion while performing her song “Roar.” I’ll honestly say, she pretty much had me hooked from that point on and I was more or less mesmorized until she closed with a cool fireworks display during (fittingly) “Firework.”

Even if you didn’t like all that, however, Katy trumped everything else that’s ever happened during halftime of a football game. She brought dancing sharks on stage for a couple songs. Sharks. Dancing sharks. The Super Bowl may never be the same.

Zach Hacker

Zach is the Daily Globe sports reporter. He has previously been a sports editor at both the Waseca County News in Waseca, Minn., and The Emporia Gazette in Emporia, Kansas. He is originally from New Richland, Minn., and now lives in Worthington with his dog; a beagle-corgi mix named Homer. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, pontooning on St. Olaf Lake and watching professional and collegiate sports.

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