Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series
Just because you didn’t ask doesn’t mean you didn’t want to know my thoughts during Super Bowl LIII. The game, the commentary, the commercials, maybe even some comments from my wife. Well, you’re in luck.
Following are notes and observations made during the NFL championship game in Atlanta the evening of Feb. 3, 2019. While I made these notes live, they were not posted until immediately after the game.
A couple of things to begin with … I do not have a DVR, so there’s no going back to confirm an exact quote, but I’m pretty certain of the quote or its representation if I have it in “quote marks.” Other times, I will summarize.
Also, I may not be able to get all names. I may simply type #25 if I don’t catch or have time to look up his name.
Without further ado, it’s time for kickoff.
Impressive lineup of dignitaries for the coin flip. There is a definite attempt in the pregame and some commercials already to paint a picture of unity and cohesiveness.
Jim Nantz and Tony Romo working the booth.
Rams kick off to the Patriots, who begin on their own 39-yard line. Don’t worry, this won’t be a play-by-play, though Sony Michel opens with an impressive 13-yard run.
The third play from scrimmage and two players are already pushing each other.
And the Rams come up with an early turnover. The announcers are all excited with the possibility of having an exciting game. You can’t blame them; so many Super Bowl games have been rather boring.
First punt and I should let you know I’m a big special teams fan.
First commercial is for something called spiked seltzer. Have you heard of it? It was a cute commercial, but do you think it needed more explanation.
Serena Williams in a commercial lets us know women have the power. I’m all in; y’all take charge because I trust you more than I do men.
Tony Romo says a defensive back is playing “too safe” on a third-down play. Well, I bet he wouldn’t have had he known the play … or had the benefit of making that decision after the play.
First flag and the referee calls a (in my opinion) picky penalty that just so happens to move the Patriots out of a really bad situation. Just happenstance, I’m sure.
Jason Bateman makes an entertaining elevator operator in a Hyundai commercial. Turkish Airlines is pitching a film. Is there a url? Not sure. We flew Turkish once; it was a good transatlantic experience.
“Great coverage provided,” says Jim Nantz. A pet peeve of mine is how easily sports announcers toss out the term “great.” Second timeout by the Patriots – to avoid a delay flag – isn’t desireable with more than 21 minutes to play in the first half.
Leah liked the Olay commercial. Doritos is now hot … OK. Some pet commercial seems to be out of place. Sorry.
Did I mention special teams? Yeah, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski hooks a short field goal attempt. So, that’s a turnover and a missed FG. This would be a great time for the Rams offense, with young QB Jared Goff, to step up and show they belong here.
Nance just points out Gostkowski has missed four field goals in the past three Super Bowls. That’s cold.
Tony Romo tells us his microphone went dead earlier … and nobody noticed. (Seriously, I like Tony Romo; I just wished he had been in a Super Bowl as a player.)
Fourth and 3 for the Rams at the Patriots 42. Punt team is out … will they fake it? Flag. Tony Romo has fun with the officials, who, after a lengthy discussion, decide to charge the Rams with delay of game.
Commercial for the Rock, Dwayne Johnson, in a new movie. Has the Rock ever played a bad guy? I’m not remembering it.
Exspenify is cool. Well, that’s what the commercial says to me.
We come back from the advertising break and there’s a lot of standing around. That indicates a scheduling issue or communications problem in Atlanta, I think.
“Give Wade Phillips credit,” Tony says of the Rams’ defensive coordinator. I’ve said before, Wade has the coolest Twitter handle around: sonofbum.
“He’s going to have to play good,” Tony says of a Rams running back. Look, I know everyone seems to do this, but is it too much to ask for, “He’s going to have to play well”?
OK, the T-Mobile was cute, but what does it really say?
Next is an Audi commercial about a near-death experience that had me laughing out loud.
Second and five from their own 11 for the Rams to start the second quarter. Are they ready? Uh, no … a five-yard false start penalty.
Bud Light … Game of Thrones … what was that, exactly?
It always amazes me the number of network commercials aired during these high-priced events. Does that mean they couldn’t sell them all?
Patriots try an end-around that the Rams sniff out. I like it when an offense slips in a bit of a gadget play; I love it when a well-disciplined defense negates it.
A chance for a reprieve for kicker Gostkowski. He barely slips a 42-yard field goal inside the left goal post. Patriots up 3-0.
Google tells us that every day the most translated words are friendly, helpful and loving. Nice touch.
I don’t like the new kickoff rules. I’ll say that now so I can repeat it if an onside kickoff situation presents itself later.
I think the Rams got a break on that in-bounds call on an 18-yard pass. Belichick didn’t challenge it. You know why? Because they burned two timeouts early in the game and didn’t want to risk losing the third one. Yeah, things like running out a play clock can come back to haunt you.
Full disclosure, though, the Patriots stopped them and forced a punt anyway.
T-Mobile’s the first advertiser – I think – to repeat a commercial. But, wait … they teamed up with Taco Bell. I believe that’s the second commercial that featured two companies. That’s a good plan when they’re so amazingly expensive.
Jim Nantz says, “There’s never been a punt returned for a touchdown in Super Bowl history” as the Patriots punt to the Rams. There’s still not.
It was just a so-so commercial for Planters until they cut to Charlie Sheen on a bench saying, “And people say that I’m nuts.”
Early MVP candidate: Julian Edelman of New England.
“Change up the usual” by Stella Artois. That’s cute.
“More than 12 men,” Tony says of a penalty on the Rams defense, “somewhere between 13 and 18.” OK, you got my interest. Why not replay that and point them out? Huh? OK? … Crickets.
Rams defense steps up and stops Patriots on fourth-and-one. Seventy-three seconds left in the first half.
And Goff is sacked again. Punt on fourth-and-two.
The punt dies on the two-yard-line. Great kick. Pats should run out the last 16 seconds. And Brady takes a knee to send us toward the vaunted halftime show.
First, the Toyota Super Bowl Halftime Report. Is there anything they’ve not sold rights to yet? (Don’t answer; I know it will get worse.)
On the break leading up to the halftime show, the commercials are almost all for the network. Guess CBS knows everyone is running to the rest room.
The first comment during the halftime show produced two “greats.”
Nate Burleson predicts the Rams will take more shots down the field to Josh Reynolds. That gives me a chance to point out many of us, when our pro team doesn’t make the big game, look to see who from our favorite college team might be playing. I’m a Texas Aggie, which leaves me with only receiver Reynolds to watch. At the half, he has only one catch for 10 yards.
Winner!!!!! The NFL 100th season kickoff commercial was a treat for old fans. My favorite might have been Franco Harris making yet another immaculate reception. If you didn’t catch it (see what I did there?) then look it up.
OK, I’m taking a break during the show. I’m not a music critic, maybe because I can’t understand why Maroon 5 has seven members. Rest room break!
Back up three lines. It’s warm enough in central Texas that I pulled out a T-shirt after church. Since I don’t have any Rams gear, I chose my Texas A&M 12th man shirt. I don’t have any Dallas Cowboys gear, though I’ve been a fan of varying degrees since Don Meredith’s days. I won’t likely be supporting them again until Jerry Jones abandons the role of plantation foreman.
Patriots kick off to start the second half. Touchback.
Sideline reporter Evan Washburn tells us Bill Belichick thinks his team needs to do more on offense or something like that. Shocking, I know.
Patriots safety Patrick Chung walks off the field with his arm in an air cast. Anyone who has played the game, from high school on up, has stood on the field and watched another player being treated for an injury that could end his career. It’s a sobering moment, and then they go back to playing.
The announcers are building up Edelman. They’re already working on their MVP nominee.
Edelman suckered in Marcus Peters on that play … a big play.
It’s fun watching some of the assistant coaches along the sideline. Sometimes, I think they should wear skirts and carry megaphones.
T-Mobile is back … this time with Lyft. Some marketing genius going on here … maybe.
Verizon’s thanks to first responders is a series it’s been running recently. They have a good message and this one was particularly touching.
Luke Wilson and Colgate … well, that was a little discomforting.
Ohhhh. Almost a Rams TD.
Big sack by the Pats, then the Rams tie it up with a 53-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein. Are we in for another exciting finish?
“They’ll call that every time,” Nantz says of a defensive holding penalty. Uh, Jim, are you familiar with what happened in the NFC championship game?
Wow. That’s the end of the third quarter already?
I looked this up for you before Jim and Tony bring it up. Super Bowl VII was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl game in NFL history. The Miami Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins 14–7.
HEB, a regional commercial, ranks up with the best with a “Cast Away” spinoff.
“When everybody plays, we all win.” Microsoft weighs in on the welcomed theme of inclusivity.
Potentially a big penalty on the Patriots.
Burger King may have taken the weird ad lead with its #EatLikeAndy spot.
Budweiser touts brewing beer using wind energy. As if the radical right hadn’t had enough to get upset about with all the equality and diversification commercials, now they see that beer is taking a bend to the left.
Seven minutes left and we get our first touchdown; New England goes up 10-3.
Unrelated, I just opened my third beer of the game. That’s not much for some people, but that’s a full evening for me. By the way, it’s a stout named King Grackle brewed by Texas Beer Co., in Taylor.
A strangely entertaining spot from Amazon with capable support from Alexis.
Rams seem to be working their way back, but an unnecessarily desperate pass is picked off by the Pats at their own 4-yard line.
“Knowing keeps us free,” says The Washington Post in what serves also as a tribute to slain journalists.
Fourth and two inches. Hey, Bill, I’d go for it.
No way I’d kick. Too many things could go wrong, but it appears they are kicking. Gostkowski is good for a two-score lead. By the way, it again skirts in near the left goal post.
If nothing crazy happens, this will still be the lowest-scoring Super Bowl game of the first 53.
As a side note, I’ve probably eaten more Frito’s corn chips and bean dip than I should have. Luckily, like birthdays and Christmas, calories don’t count on Super Bowl Sunday.
I like Tony Romo’s thoughts on taking a Hail Mary pass early.
Greg Zuerlein comes out to attempt a 48-yard field goal and rely on the aforementioned sorry kickoff rules.
However, his kick is wide and it’s up to Tom Brady to take a knee and win Super Bowl LIII.
Good night, folks.