I wanna be sedated: sizing up Super Bowl LIII

On this drab and dreary Monday afternoon, I can report with a sigh of relief that America’s sweethearts are world champions once again, and many people are saying it was the greatest Super Bowl ever in every possible way. Well, maybe no one’s saying that, and maybe everyone who watched it had about as much fun as those people getting root canals and attending vegan dinner parties in the Hyundai commercial—more on that later.


Because I hail from a family of teachers, it’s time to hand out some grades for an entirely uninspiring and at times downright depressing three and a half hour spectacle. I hope you all enjoyed your queso, chicken wings and MillerCoors beers (more on that to come, too) because the game itself provided all the rush of a novocaine injection or a melatonin pill. On the bright side, at least Mahomes won league MVP.


National anthem performance

Grade: B+

Gladys Knight, the queen of soul and one of Atlanta’s most famous daughters, delivered a solid rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” with occasional vocal flourishes despite calls for a boycott over the never-ending Kaepernick saga. She did her job, and you can’t really fault her for anything.


Because this is America, though, a separate controversy sprung up on the length of her version due to—wait for it—prop bets, the once-novelty wagers that, like everything else Big Game related, have become an annoying and inescapable yearly tradition. In the immaculate words of our president, “We love it.”


The announcers

Grade: A-

Piling on and trolling certain guys—a la Jason Witten, Joe Buck, Cris Collinsworth and Phil Simms—has become a national pastime in the last few years, but everyone you talk to seems to agree that Tony Romo is a natural. He possesses a Nostradamian ability to predict plays before they happen, and he generally loves being in the booth. Oh, and he finally got to the Super Bowl—I’m sure this joke hasn’t already been made 10 million times. 


And Jim Nantz is Jim Nantz. He’ll never shock or surprise you, but he’s just one of those voices that we’ve come to associate with big moments in sports—from the NFL to the Masters to March Madness.


Nantz secured the announcing highlight of the night when he dug up a factoid about kickers going a perfect 31-for-31 on field goals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this season, and almost on cue, Stephen Gostkowski shanked one from 46 yards out.


The game

Grade: F

I can say beyond any reasonable doubt that I’ve never been more excited for a football game to end. I actually missed the first two minutes because I was working out (#NewYearNewMe), but once the tempo was established, the Rams never stood a chance. Jared Goff played like a 24-year-old, and Bill Belichick beat him into submission with a masterful strategy that turned his defense into the ’85 Bears incarnate.


Brady found Edelman and Gronk when he needed to, and the entire New England team taunted all of us without a direct rooting interest who were masochistically watching the debacle on the field anyway and desperately wanted them to lose like they did a year ago.


If we can just find a way to get Eli Manning into the playoffs again, we may live to experience the joy of seeing Brady lose another Super Bowl. But with the way the Giants are playing, I wouldn’t make any prop bets on that happening soon. 


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