Hayden Hollingsworth

When times are really tough it is sometimes helpful to scout around for something to relieve the unremitting angst of real life.  Few would argue that we are caught in such a maelstrom.  Even the die-hard believers are beginning to have their credulity stretched to the breaking point.  Fortunately, we are provided with the most orchestrated of events: Super Bowl LI.

By the time we are reading this, the results will be old news.  The winner (likely the Patriots) will be inscribed in the pantheon of the powerful but the fan who watches the game only because it is the most highly-hyped day in sport, by the Ides of March will not able to recall who even played.  Still we can hope for a day when the current miseries of the news are put on the back burner.

For those who are less enthralled with football than your average citizen, the event is still worth watching.  Everyone knows that Madison Avenue has been working frantically to roll out an earth-shaking ad.  It is amusing to keep your own score care.  It does require some recording skills and close attention since the sequence of ads changes every 30 seconds, so seamlessly that if one is not paying attention you will be confused as to the message the conjoined ads are attempting to deliver.

I recall some years ago, there was one ad that never mentioned what it was promoting.  I wonder if the stockholders in whatever company placed the ad felt they had gotten a million dollars’ worth of benefit for their anonymous foray into the forest of competing ads.

Budweiser has often been deemed the winner of the ad sweepstakes which are covered with more zest than the game on the following Monday.  I think it’s largely because everyone loves those achingly graceful Percherons.

Then there is the halftime show.  Discovering the theme is sometimes a challenge equaling that of code-breaking but several things will be there for certain:  It will be loud, it will involve a thousand or more performers, and it will be long.

This must put undue stress of the coaching staff of the teams.  To pump up your team, particularly if they are being romped upon, would tax the oratory of William Jennings Bryan.  It will take a lot more than Knute Rockne’s, “Let’s win one for the Gipper.”  In the current political climate most of us can recall who the Gipper was and wish he was still with us.

Of all the half-time extravaganzas only two stand out in my mind.  We all remember Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s 2008 performance:  The famous “Wardrobe Malfunction.”

A few may even recall the preamble to the stripping: “I’m gonna to have you nekkid in 30 seconds,” or something akin to that.  The term “Wardrobe Malfunction” takes its place in the lexicon of malapropisms with “Alternative Fact.”

The truly memorable performance came in 1991 at Super Bowl XXV.  It was days before the beginning of Desert Storm and a tyke of six years old belted out “You Are My Hero,” as jets flew over the stadium.  The line “You are the wind beneath my wings” took on a special meaning.  That was the first half time show where politics entered.

The game will be remarkable in many ways, regardless of whoever wins.  If nothing else it will be diverting and there’s something to say for that!

P.S.  In the words of the erstwhile Brooklyn Dodgers, the Falcons might well say, “Just wait until next year.”

Hayden Hollingsworth