The Super Bowl is a windfall for both the N.F.L. and for the corporations who burn wagons full of money on commercials. What is more American than that?
Well, Budweiser will tell you that drinking beer is more American than that, but that’s besides the point. The actual game was a win for the Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20, with a comeback that included three touchdowns in the final quarter.
There was a sappy pregame celebration of the N.F.L.’s 100th season. There was a remarkable halftime show with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, who made the country simultaneously feel young and old. Let’s not forget the unbridled capitalism behind the emotive advertisements.
As for the game itself, the Chiefs overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and an effective hurry-up offense. Mahomes was uneven throughout the game, throwing two touchdowns but also two interceptions. Damien Williams rushed for a touchdown and caught one, and had 104 yards rushing.
6:25 p.m. — It was a gracious move by Bill Belichick to save his yearly smile for when he flashed his rings during the N.F.L. 100 pregame celebration, as a chorus of boos rained down on him. Also, there was an unmistakable “So the N.F.L. thought it was a good idea to include O.J. Simpson in its tribute?” moment. He wasn’t on the field but was indeed on the league’s list of its best players in history.
6:46 — Deebo Samuel of the Niners has the first big gain of the game, catching a pass and romping downfield for 32 yards after the Chiefs go three and out on their first possession.
6:52 — Let’s put Jimmy Garoppolo’s first full year as a starter in context. He threw for more yards this season (3,978) than any San Francisco quarterback since Jeff Garcia in 2000. Of course, as I type that, he throws an incomplete pass in Chiefs territory and now San Francisco has to settle for a field goal. (49ers 3, Chiefs 0.)
6:53 — The first commercial after the Niners score is for the new movie in the “Fast & Furious” saga — the ninth. It’s important for us to keep in mind that as long as professional wrestling exists, there are always new relatives out there for Dom to tackle (literally) for future films.
6:56 — Fox just displayed a graphic that said the cost of a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl is $5,600,000. That is 4.7 Bobby Bonilla Days.
7:05 — ALERT: WE HAVE A BILL S. PRESTON, ESQUIRE, COMMERCIAL FROM THE “BILL & TED” MOVIES. I AM AS HYPED AS THE ROCK WAS DURING PREGAME INTRODUCTIONS. There are also references to “Mars Attacks,” “Arrival,” and “Star Wars,” all of which are meh cameos compared to BILL S. PRESTON, ESQ.
7:08 — With 2:05 left in the first quarter, Andy Reid goes for it on fourth and 1 and gets the first down with a trick play. A risky call but the Chiefs get very close to the goal line.
7:10 — Mahomes rushes in a touchdown, putting the Chiefs on the board with 31 seconds left in the quarter. (Chiefs 7, 49ers 3.)
7:15 — The first quarter ends.
7:20 — We have an interception! Bashaud Breeland throws a wrench into the Niners drive.
7:30 — The Chiefs get another field goal. (Chiefs 10, 49ers 3.)
7:38 — San Francisco ties it up on a very efficient drive, mostly using the run. Kyle Juszczyk, the fullback, bowled into the end zone with a 15-yard catch. That’s a huge score for the 49ers as the Chiefs have outplayed their opponents so far — a draw at halftime should encourage San Francisco. (Chiefs 10, 49ers 10.)
8:00 — That’s it for the first half. After all that, we are tied at 10. The Niners are averaging 7.7 yards per play compared to 4.7 for the Chiefs. San Francisco has been particularly effective on the run, but an interception thrown by Garoppolo may end up biting the Niners in the end.
8:02 — Before we get to Shakira and Lopez, let’s consider the commercials. Here’s an early ranking:
1. Walmart featuring Bill S. Preston, Esq.
2. Tom Brady on Hulu, deftly making use of a corporate payday to torture fans about whether he’ll play quarterback next season for the New England Patriots.
234,978,098. Turbo Tax and its cool dancers.
8:24 — A stunning, spectacular halftime show featuring all the bells and whistles you can think of, including a dancing brass band, Shakira briefly on the drums, two Bruce Springsteen references and a reminder that immortality is an attainable goal given that Shakira is 43 years old and Lopez is 50. (And a shoutout to Lopez’s daughter, Emme, for killing it, too.)
8:38 — Let us all hope that Giannis Antetokounmpo is doing O.K., after he tweeted: “Halftime show almost got me in trouble.”
8:42 — The Niners take their second lead of the game on a 42-yard field goal from Robbie Gould. (49ers 13, Chiefs 10.)
8:51 — Interception! Fred Warner with a drive killing pick, putting the Niners in good field position to build their lead.
8:57 — And the Niners easily capitalize. They drive downfield and Raheem Mostert punches it in from the 1. (49ers 20, Chiefs 10.)
9:11 — San Francisco is effectively keeping the Chiefs from making any big gains. It’s all incremental. And Mahomes gets sacked as I type that.
9:14 — Brutal. Mahomes gets intercepted off a deflection deep in San Francisco territory, his second of the night. San Francisco is now firmly in the driver’s seat, armed with a strong run game and time on its side.
9:25 — We did it. We found the worst Super Bowl thing ever.
9:30 — Nope, just kidding. This Budweiser commercial about a “Typical American,” showing heartwarming everyday acts, in an effort to convince you that this isn’t just about getting Americans to buy their beer, is the worst Super Bowl thing ever. (Except it happens every year.)
9:34 — And Joe Buck states with the excitement of a lightly seasoned tilapia: “The Chiefs are back in it.” Travis Kelce catches a 1-yard touchdown to make this a one-possession game again. (We’re kidding. Buck is one of the best broadcasters in the industry and is meticulously prepared.) (49ers 20, Chiefs 17.)
9:37 — THE “GROUNDHOG DAY” COMMERCIAL FOR JEEP FEATURES BILL MURRAY AND BRIAN DOYLE MURRAY. I love brands again.
9:46 — The Chiefs have played perfectly since Mahomes was intercepted. They take the lead with a catch by Williams. It was close on review but held up. There is 2:44 left for the Niners to get a touchdown. (Chiefs 24, 49ers 20.)
9:59 — Garoppolo gets smothered in the pocket on fourth and 10 — that might do it for the Niners.
10:01 — Yes, that’ll do it. Williams rushes 38 yards for a touchdown — the third for Kansas City during this quarter. All that’s left is the copious shots of Chiefs fans celebrating and taking part in the heavily criticized tomahawk chop. (Chiefs 31, 49ers 20.)