The not-so-super Bowl

A great spectacle of the mediocre

Chances are, by the time this column runs, anyone who happens to read it will have already consumed hours of Super Bowl pregame, mid-game and postgame commentary. Still, considering the state of this year’s game, I thought it would be a shame if the most cynical section of a paper run by the most cynical demographic — literary college students — failed to express some views on the game.

Let’s begin with some of the game’s pregame coverage. For some of our uninitiated fans, I’m sure the term “pregame coverage” could be confused with an R.A. seeking to catch a group of first-years drinking in dorms before the night’s activities. To that end, I doubt most of the student body viewed much SportsCenter before the game. As Super Bowl Sunday had the unfortunate privilege of taking place the day after Boys’ Bid Night, most University viewers were likely sidelined until the opening whistle.

In considering the two opponents before the opening kickoff, however, each team presented a solid reason to be cheered on.

With the Seattle Seahawks, Richmond kids are given new material to hold over our heads — you have no doubt heard that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hails from Virginia’s capital. Obviously, this very fact makes any Richmond-born University student a die-hard Seahawks fan from birth.

On the other side of the field, however, we find the lovable Peyton Manning. For our fourth-year friends, watching Manning take home a ring would’ve been a nice bonus to his already-cushy role as this year’s valediction speaker. Considering football doesn’t usually elicit a terrible amount of pride around Grounds, watching Manning excel would’ve brought a much-needed change in the atmosphere.

Fast-forward to game time. With expectations at an all-time high, fans eagerly for a spectacle of a caliber which never graced Scott Stadium. And, like last fall’s Virginia preseason hype, those expectations didn’t last long. Sunday’s Super Bowl proved to be anything but a sight to behold.

Since I am no sports writer and don’t pretend to be, I’ll spare you the specifics of the in-game blunders and gaffes. I can, however, speak to the commercials, taking up most of the airtime and any disinterested fan’s attention. I will admit, regardless of their quality, Super Bowl commercials have lost their special value as of late. In the olden days, before flat screen televisions came with 3-D, a good commercial had to be enjoyed in the moment. This year, I felt free to browse my phone during the advertising breaks, certain any worthwhile clips would pop up on my newsfeed the next day.

Unfortunately, though, the game’s mediocrity seemed contagious. Very few commercials proved worth a re-watch on YouTube. I was forced to despondently sit through countless minute-long emotional commercials which appealed to my hibernating sense of patriotism and good ol’ fashioned masculine work ethic. Gone are the days of ridiculous half-minute bouts of guys shouting “WAZZUP” — save for a quick revival, during which Stephen Colbert alerted me of my unsatisfied need to have pistachios in my life.

With a touch of optimism, the Super Bowl halftime show happened to rise above the general populace’s expectations. Bruno Mars, half-man and half-flamingo/penguin hybrid, showed off his skills both as a bona fide dancer and, to my surprise, a quality drummer. The Red Hot Chili Peppers also heightened the show’s quality, wielding their showmanship in typical Chili Pepper fashion: shirtless. Despite the classic garb — or lack thereof — I know there were quite a few fans across the country secretly hoping for the return of the Chili Peppers’ sock costume.

The peak of my melancholy from Sunday’s game stems not necessarily from the game’s underwhelming quality, but from the reality that football season, both college and professional, truly has ended. Like many of my fellow football fans across Grounds, I am now forced to behave like a child on Dec. 26, counting down the days until next year’s season and praying for less disappointment.

Aidan’s column runs biweekly Fridays. He can be reached at

Published February 5, 2014 in Life

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