Writer, Stefano Schiavone
Super Bowl LIV had a little bit of everything to be expected from the biggest Sunday of the NFL season: terrific defence from both sides, timely and exciting offence, and a couple of controversial calls, as well as an exuberant halftime performance and some great commercials.
For much of the game, it appeared the San Francisco 49ers were in control. Though both teams headed into halftime tied at 10, the Niners were able to get to Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes with key defensive stops, who struggled a bit early on.
While neither team were heavy favourites, San Francisco’s ability to balance its running offence with passing from Jimmy Garoppolo was critical for them going into the second half. And for much of the third quarter, San Francisco looked to be in a position to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Aided by two Mahomes interceptions and the Niners’ steady offence, San Francisco reached a ten-point advantage with under nine minutes to play in the game.
Then came Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offence.
An absolute bomb from Mahomes to a (relatively wide-open) Tyreek Hill gave his team a key 44 yards, and nearly a minute later KC brought the lead down to three with a touchdown. San Fransisco had the ball with almost six minutes left but chose to pass instead of trusting their effective running attack, stopping the clock for the Chiefs. Mahomes got the ball for the second time in as many minutes and led the AFC Champions to a third down-and-goal at San Fransicso’s five-yard line.
Here’s the controversial call.
Mahomes’ short pass to the right to Damien Williams allowed the running back to run into the endzone, giving Kansas City a three-point lead. On the field, the referees gave the Chiefs the touchdown, but replay showed Williams’ foot stepping out of bounds just as his arm extended across the goal line. While many felt that was enough to overturn the call, the officials didn’t see enough evidence to prove Williams stepped out before the football crossed the line, and the score stood.
Garoppolo and the Niners had the chance, now down four, to reclaim the lead, but three straight incompletions were capped off by a sack on fourth down, giving KC the ball back, and Williams would later run into the endzone for thirty-eight yards. With that, the game was sealed, and Kansas City celebrated their first Super Bowl in fifty years with their 31-20 victory. Mahomes was awarded the Super Bowl MVP, while Andy Reid finally got the first Super Bowl victory of his head coaching career. Canadian lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif also became the ninth Canadian to win in the Super Bowl.
But, the Super Bowl’s not just about the football. And with this year’s game in Miami, the host city went all out with a kinetic halftime performance by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira that garnered great responses on Twitter and made some political statements. The show emphatically represented the host city’s diversity and showed support to Puerto Rico, all while delivering on the energetic mini-concert expected every year.
And of course, many companies spent big bucks for the coveted Super Bowl commercial slots. Upcoming films like No Time to Die and Black Widow (joined alongside an ad for upcoming Marvel series on Disney+) made waves with their appearances. The NFL had the first big ad of the night, tracking a young football player as he carried a ball across the U.S. to Miami (where he appeared in real-time to hand the ball to a referee). And Hyundai brought out big stars for its Sonata commercial; John Krasinski, Chris Evans, and Rachel Dratch joined retired-Red Sox David Ortiz to show off the car’s self-parking feature in a humourous ad featuring heavy Bostonian accents.
Super Bowl LIV delivered on all the expectations, with some excellent football and great entertainment proving exactly why the big game continues to be a force in both sports and pop culture.