Super Bowl Really Was Super — At Least Most of It by Sharon O’Donnell

I really enjoyed watching the Super Bowl this year, even though the team I was pulling for didn’t win. Sure, it was a terrific, close game with twists and turns — both literally and figuratively — to keep you guessing until the end.  But more than that, I loved the personalities involved:  first and foremost, I’m a huge fan of Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. He played three of his four college years with our local team and the school of my husband, father, brother and two oldest sons — North Carolina State. He always was a super role model while he played in Raleigh and just a great all-around person. I will never forget one time I passed him as I was walking in the door to K-Mart and he was walking out. He smiled and nodded to me and held the door open. He came across as kind and genuine. We were all glad to see him succeed in the NFL so quickly; he is such an incredibly motivated player and deserves that success. Last summer, my youngest son who was 13 then, attended a Russell Wilson football camp in Raleigh, and I saw Russell pose with the attendees for photos and stay well after the ending time of the camp to make sure everyone got an autograph. In the play-off win prior to the Super Bowl, Russell led his team back from the brink of defeat to victory over the Green Bay Packers, and Russell was very emotional on the sidelines afterwards, in tears, sobbing even. He was criticized for those tears by some, but I loved it. It showed his humanity, his soul — and we need more of that in pro sports. It wasn’t just a game to him; he was looking back over his career — from when he was a kid, through high school, into college, and now in the pros — and how everyone had said he was too small, he wouldn’t make it — and he all those memories — and memories of his deceased father — culminated at that point on the sidelines.  And he expressed his feelings about them. It was a beautiful moment to me. It was also exciting during the Super Bowl to see an unheralded, little-used player for the Seahawks come out of nowhere to be the leading receiver – Chris Matthews. He was phenomenal.

That said, after the Super Bowl was over, I became an admirer of Malcolm Butler, the Patriots player who intercepted Wilson’s pass on the one yard line with 20 seconds left in the game to seal the win for the Patriots. Then on the sidelines – he had a moment similar to what Russell Wilson had had at the end of the Packers game: Butler was trying to hold back tears, overcome with the emotion of the moment. In an interview immediately afterwards, he said he had had a vision of him making a big play in the game.  Dreaming dreams and having visions, I think, are big motivators.  I’m not a football player, but in my own live, I often use the power of visualization to make things clearer for me or to bring a sense of peace to me. The play that Butler made was one of sheer determination; he shouldn’t have been at that exact spot, but he was prepared to make that play – he was ready for it — he’d had a vision.  Russell Wilson has also spoken of God preparing him for doing what he is doing. Even in the loss, Russell said afterwards that setbacks only makes you ready for the comebacks. 

I’ve never seen a Super Bowl where the ‘little guy’ or underdog players have had such success. It was an honor to watch it.

Most of it.

I have to admit the halftime show was not my favorite. Some of Katy Perry’s songs are definitely catchy, and I’ve seen fourth grade girls exude confidence as they sing along with the Roar/Eye of the Tiger song. However, the mechanical tiger she rode out on reminded me of something from the Power Rangers shows my boys used to watch — a Zord attacking the bad guys.  I was simply not impressed with that or the waving palm trees, etc.  I’d much rather listen to Bruce Springsteen or Paul McCartney.  And I have to say the lyrics to “Teenage Dream” are not what I think an audience of impressionable young people should be listening to. When it comes on the radio, I change the station, particularly if my 14-year-old son is with me – and even though the music is catchy. But this was not the radio — it was the half time of the Super Bowl with millions of people watching — kids and teens too.  And here are the lyrics they heard in this song:

I’ma get your heart racing
In my skin-tight jeans
Be your teenage dream tonight
Let you put your hands on me
In my skin-tight jeans
Be your teenage dream tonight

Let’s go all the way tonight
No regrets, just love
We can dance until we die
You and I, we’ll be young forever


I didn’t hear any comments about this, nobody else seemed to be bothered by the lyrics. Maybe I’m a fuddy-duddy — I looked up this phrase and found this definition:  a person with old-fashioned or conservative ideas and attitudes.  Did everybody watching the Super Bowl listen to the lyrics or was the music so catchy that no one noticed the words?  I don’t know, but to me, this is not the kind of message kids and teens need to hear during half-time of a football game.  I know what goes on in the world today — I”m not naive. But still, I don’t think it helps to perpetuate such ‘ideals’. Young girls who idolize Katy Perry sing along with her songs, and I simply don’t think these lyrics are what they should be singing.

I think the ideals expressed by the football players more than made up for this, though.  And overall, Super Bowl 49 was definitely super.

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