This year’s Super Bowl was anything but cheerful.
What is supposed to be a time of happy celebration, where people put aside their political and socioeconomic differences by cheering on their favorite team with cheese dips and alcohol or rocking out during the halftime show, turned into an unending cycle of disappointment.
Following one of the most memorable regular seasons yet, fans were hoping for a thrilling season conclusion in Atlanta. Instead, we got field goals, punts and a game with virtually no offense (the defense was spectacular though).
The regular season was certainly one to remember for good reasons. From the Cleveland Browns winning their first game after a 635-day drought, to the rebound of the Indianapolis Colts from a 1-5 record to ending up in the divisional round of the playoffs, to the Chicago Bears becoming a team that no one could remember to a team no one will soon forget.
This season also saw more drama and division within teams as well. The Pittsburgh Steelers almost tore apart during the Le’Veon Bell fiasco, and continues to fracture thanks to the work of Antonio Brown and Mike Tomlin. The Oakland Raiders, soon to be the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, also experienced internal turmoil between the team and the city of Oakland in regards to their stadium, and will now play their 2019 season in San Francisco.
We also cannot forget the leadership changes that have already occured. Following the final day of games on Dec. 30, eight NFL head coaches were fired from their teams over the course of the season, including infamous Browns coach Hue Jackson and failing Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
As playoff battles began, so did the disappointment from fans. Teams like the Bears (who were predicted to make the Super Bowl) saw the end of their season come quicker than expected, while teams like the Dallas Cowboys actually got farther than anyone would’ve thought (well, anyone who isn’t a Cowboys fan). Nevertheless, the divisional round proved pointless since the top-two division leaders for each conference made the conference championship anyway.
Then came one of the most disappointing weekends of football in history: the conference championships. With both games going into overtime, the New Orleans Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs (who were both the top seeds in their respective conferences) did not advance to the Super Bowl, much to fans’ dismay.
Instead, we got the worst-case scenario situation almost nobody wanted: the team with virtually no fanbase and the team that has overstayed their Lombardi welcome.
The Los Angeles Rams, formerly the St. Louis Rams, made the Super Bowl after only two years in their new city. Debate continues about whether the team really should’ve advanced due to an uncalled pass interference penalty that would have helped the Saints in the final minutes before overtime; alas, poor officiating has left us with this scenario.
The New England Patriots, one of the most hated teams among the NFL fanbase, somehow made the Super Bowl for the third time in a row after an 11-5 record, losing against several lackluster teams, including the Miami Dolphins and the Detroit Lions.
To make things worse, they won, meaning Tom Brady now has six rings, and the rest of the country will get that statistic shoved down its throat for years to come.
The game itself was also lackluster, with the teams scoring a combined, whopping 16 points, the lowest scoring Super Bowl in NFL history. It was a feast for the defensive lover but was underwhelming for the everyday football fan. Three field goals and one touchdown sounds more like a preseason game than the championship.
As if the offense was not lackluster enough, the halftime show was another one for the record books, and certainly not for the right reasons. When word got out that the declining band Maroon 5 would have Spongebob Squarepants featured in its show as a tribute to late show creator Stephen Hillenburg, fans were ecstatic. The first five seconds featured the fanfare in the popular episode “Band Geeks,” but instead of “Sweet Victory,” we got Travis Scott.
So why is this year’s Super Bowl considered the worst?
Some say it was the lack of offensive movement; others are mad because Tom Brady now has six rings and an inflated ego. In general, it seems like everyone was equally disappointed at this year’s halftime show, even more than the usual disappointment (it’s always underwhelming every year and everyone likes to rant about it on Twitter, but this year broke the mold).
I think the reason this Bowl will be remembered as one of the worst is because of the stellar season that preceded it. I always reminisce about that week 11 game between the Rams and Chiefs that scored a combined total of 105 points: the first NFL game where both teams scored more than 50 points. One of those teams made it to the Super Bowl. It’s amazing how teams change in a matter of weeks.
The sting of this Super Bowl will burn for months to come, then the NFL will kick off its 100th season in August and everyone will forget this Sunday in February ever happened.