They won! That team! But more importantly, we witnessed one of the most compelling half-time shows for years, the first time that hip-hop (with a little help from R&B) took centre stage at the year’s biggest concert.
The combination of Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Mary J Blige (with a little from 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak) proved to be a winner, taking us all back to the early 2000s with some throwback hits before bringing us back to the almost present thanks to Kendrick. There were also some never-not-needed jabs at the NFL and police brutality thanks to Eminem and Dr Dre.
The ads were curious. A lot of nostalgia cameos, as expected, but also a strange collection of sign-of-the-times ads with electric cars, hi-tech at-home Covid testing and, most controversially, cryptocurrency all getting a showcase.
The commercials can be topped next year, easily, but that show will take some beating.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Despite all of the pre-release fun-poking (fans ripped the character design in the trailer so much that Paramount tweaked it for the actual movie), 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog became one of the year’s biggest, and sadly only, hits with $319m worldwide. The inevitable sequel is being rushed out this April and a headache-inducing Super Bowl spot, introducing new villain Knuckles voiced by Idris Elba, does little to explain the appeal to OG game fans who wisely skipped the last film.
Wallbox enlists a real lightning strike survivor
Wallbox, a company for safe electric vehicle chargers, manages to convince a real lightning strike survivor to “embrace electricity” after an understandably tumultuous relationship with power. I’m not sure if the ad’s beginning – security camera footage from May 2012 in which Seth T gets struck down by lightning in his driveway – is real, but if so … I too would have a complicated relationship with electricity.
Jennifer Coolidge plays Lady Luck for FanDuel
The ads for sports betting, now legalized in several states, are in full swing – and have roped in Jennifer Coolidge as Lady Luck (complete with an in-pocket leprechaun) – for popular sports book, FanDuel.
Zac Efron gig-ifies fishing for AT&T
In the name of AT&T’s fiber with new hyper-gig speeds (I don’t know either), Zac Efron plays himself playing himself and a hearty fisherman in a VR game. A mustachioed Efron pulls increasingly elaborate riches from a pond, while saying a lot of words about livestreaming, internet speed, reliability, content, connectivity, the future, etc. Tech!
Sam Adams dances with the robot dogs
Boston-based beer company Sam Adams brings its spokesman, Your Cousin From Boston, to the headquarters of Boston Dynamics, the company behind the uncanny and unsettling robot dogs, for a dance party. The kegger, in honor of the Wicked IPAs Party Pack looks like a good time, but the sight of a robot dog doing a two-step remains incredibly disconcerting.
Vroom stages a car-selling musical
Used car platform Vroom stages a musical for an In The Heights-style high of finding a buyer – backflips, bubbles, strangers dancing in the street – and the music-stopping low of said buyer flaking.
Deion Sanders and son compete for Oikos
Oikos Greek yogurt pits NFL great Deion Sanders against son Shedeur in a versus-style strength competition to get “Dad strong” – though Deion’s mom, Connie Knight, gets the last word.
Martha Stewart lights up with Snoop Dogg
Odd-couple friends Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg star in this ad for Bic’s EZ reach lighter, in which Snoop asks Martha to pass the bowl ... of strawberries.
Hologram Kenny G serenades for Busch Light
“Every time you open a Busch Light, the mountains start singing,” a hiker tells us in this ad for the low-cost beer, which recruits pre-eminent saxophone legend Kenny G to play, in giant hologram style, over some snow-capped peaks.
Sam Wolfson’s five star review of tonight’s fantastic half-time show is now live for you to read here:
A pretty fascinating reminder of just what a huge undertaking the half-time show is:
So while Eminem took the knee, this also happened:
But then so did this:
So nothing makes sense:
But of course far-right Twitter is raging
Modern Family’s Ty Burrell says, I’ll take it
Greenlight, a debit card and app to teach kids and teens how to manage money, recruits Modern Family’s Ty Burrell to demonstrate how not to make financial decisions. No discernment, all gas, Burrell says “I’ll take it” to everything from a “Tytanic” boat to a winged horse to all the sneakers on the rack.
A dog, a horse and some Budweiser
Budweiser traditionally spends big on a handful of different Super Bowl ads but last year, the company made the decision to bow out so that funds could be allocated to support Covid-19 vaccine efforts. Bud is back this year with an ad all about being back, a story of a dog mildly obsessed with an injured horse who finally makes it back on his feet. ‘Down never means out’ makes for a strange choice of slogan for a beer ad, mind ...
Somehow everyone is sitting next to Drake:
Hellmann’s mayonnaise tackles Pete Davidson
Self-described “very hittable” person Pete Davidson gets laid out by former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo in the name of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, which is “tackling food waste” by encouraging viewers to turn their less desirable leftovers into mayo-adjacent dishes. There’s grilled cheese, potato salad, frittata – I’m not sure how frittata involves mayo, and I’m from the Midwest (go Bengals!) – but ok. Davidson’s mom, Amy, also makes an appearance and is thankfully not tackled.
Brie Larson turns Eugene Levy into a stunt driver for Nissan
When Brie Larson rolls up in a bright yellow Nissan and asks Eugene Levy if he wants to take a spin, the Canadian actor answers “coffee is enough excitement for me”. But a few seconds behind the wheel transforms him into the “Thrill Driver” – a cool and collected stuntman who breezes by Schitt’s Creek costar Catherine O’Hara on the highway, impresses Danai Gurira and rescues Dave Bautista mid-air, without spilling a drop of coffee.
The Super Bowl half-time show, the concert of the year, is a time to remember the bizarre and unfair damage done to Janet Jackson’s career in the aftermath of the 2004 show. As numerous TV shows and docuseries have re-examined major pop culture stories of the 90s and 2000s through a more feminist, considerate lens, the fallout of what became known as Nipplegate – Justin Timberlake ripping Jackson’s top at the end of their duet, exposing her breast – has come in for overdue reconsideration.
In late 2021, the New York Times, following the success of its films Framing Britney Spears and Controlling Britney Spears, released Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson, which forensically retraced the events: the exposure, which left Jackson in tears and a censorious commentariat that labeled Jackson a harlot, the wardrobe accident a deliberate act of filth.
And last month, Janet herself gave the final word on her long-gestating, four-part docuseries on Lifetime. “It was an accident that should not have happened, but everyone is looking for someone to blame and that’s got to stop,” she says in the final episode. “Justin and I are very good friends and we will always be very good friends. We spoke just a few days ago, and he and I have moved on, and it is time for everyone else to do the same.”
Irish Spring is a literal place
Soap manufacturer Irish Spring envisions the real place – lush and verdant, of course, full of white sweaters and nice-smelling people – with a touch of Midsommar-esque ominous politeness.
Idris Elba is not “flashy, sexy or lit”
Well, to be more specific, Idris Elba’s ad for Booking.com is none of those things, something he confidently states at the start. The very unsexy travel company has recruited 2018’s Sexiest Man Alive for an ad all about how boring but necessary their services are. It just helps to have Idris to look at.
Amazon’s Alexa reads ScarJo and Colin Jost’s minds
In a spot that drew attention from celebrity gossip sites prior to the game, SNL’s Colin Jost and Scarlett Johansson poke fun at their marriage for Amazon’s Alexa. Apparently, a Jost-Johansson mind-reading Alexa would know that he finds her morning breath lacking, that she pretends food bought from Whole Foods (also owned by Amazon) is an old recipe and that she is not being quite truthful about the experience of kissing hot costars.
Celebrities selling random things get a lot of ridicule every year, but people seem most personally and understandably, are offended by Larry David’s crypto ad:
Something for us all to mull over during every Super Bowl ad break:
Update: NFL reps are claiming that was just a rumor and Eminem was not told he couldn’t take a knee as players have been doing the same since 2016 without any sanctions.
There are many moments during the half-time show that people are talking about, but this one seems to have attracted the most chatter:
After he was told not to:
Dr Evil returns to save the world for GM
The Austin Powers gang is all here for General Motors’ electric vehicle push (EV-il, get it?). Mike Myers reprises his role as Dr Evil, Seth Green returns as his exasperated son Scott, Mindy Sterling is back as Frau and Rob Lowe takes over for Number 2, played by Robert Wagner in the films. It’s 2022, not 1997 and Dr Evil has a new threat to tackle: the climate crisis, which threatens to destroy the world before he can rule it. Enter: electric vehicles and Scott’s son, Baby Me.
Guy Fieri hails Bud Light seltzer to Flavortown
The mayor of Flavortown hath spoken: Bud Light hard seltzers have the “loudest flavor” of all the seemingly infinite competing hard seltzer varieties. In his first Super Bowl ad, Guy Fieri, the celebrity restauranteur and Americana taste connoisseur, presides over an actual Flavortown staffed by lookalike henchmen – with his signature platinum spiky hairdo, sunglasses and half-platinum goatee – on the hunt for good food and drink.
Pringles get ‘Stuck on You’
In a sweet and succinct ad for the popular chips, a man goes through his life’s highlights with his hand stuck in a cylindrical Pringle’s can, soundtracked to Lionel Ritchie’s Stuck on You.
Okay so that was fast. But in case you missed it, the half-time show is now up on YouTube, officially too! But NFL has cruelly blocked it from being embedded so you’ll have to click here. It’s worth it!
And then there was this one ...
Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd reminisce over chips
Longtime friends Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen perform their bromance for Lay’s chips, with a string of “golden memories” shared over a bag of chips (Rogen’s preferred flavor: cheddar jalapeño, while Rudd opts for barbecue). This all goes down before Rogen’s wedding to the ghost from Paul Rudd’s first home, so maybe not the most truthful memories.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Tonight has also given us a new look at Amazon’s ambitious new Lord of the Rings series, which has cost a reported $465m to make. It certainly looks epic in scale, but the niggling question remains: do we really need this? Peter Jackson’s original series remains virtually perfect and still all-too-recent and nothing yet, not even this handsome trailer, has shown us that Middle Earth needs revisiting.
Scientology is now trending, of course
Scientology sells ... again
It wouldn’t be a Super Bowl without ... errrr a Scientology ad, the “church” paying for a spot every year, each as evasive as the one before. This year’s beat-hitting “inspirational” ad could be for a bank or a car or pretty much anything. Mr Peanut’s 2019 reaction remains evergreen. What’s notable here though, is that it’s not showing nationally but only in select markets. Were you one of the lucky ones?
Lindsay Lohan gets glowing for Planet Fitness
Lindsay Lohan appears to have returned from her time abroad in Dubai with a spot for Planet Fitness that riffs on her past, very well publicized struggles: thanks to her gym membership, she’s sleeping better than ever – much to the paparazzi’s chagrin – and turning “DUI into DYI” (aka bedazzling ankle monitors). Mostly this ad served as a reminder that I’m looking forward to her return to screen in an as-yet-untitled Netflix Christmas movie this year.
Here are some more pictures of tonight’s thrilling half-time show:
The Cable Guy rings again
A funny enough idea here has Jim Carrey’s obsessive Cable Guy discover he is now obsolete thanks to new tech. An okayish reminder of a very good movie.
Turns out there was yet another cameo:
I guess so:
So a full review will be coming, along with as many videos and images that we can share but it was one of the most thrilling half-time shows we’ve seen for years, all hits and no filler, not a surprise given the participants.
It was perhaps less awe-inspiring in terms of staging and spectacle but that can often be distracting and focusing on a more open, gimmick-free structure made it feel that much more involving. The slight problem was trying to fit in five stars, along with a special appearance from a sixth, meant that it all felt like too much and not quite enough?
Another tribute to 2Pac with Dr Dre briefly playing the unforgettable piano intro to I Ain’t Mad Atcha before Still DRE starts, bringing Snoop back and causing probably the loudest sign of recognition from the crowd.
And then it’s over already! That was quick! Can’t we get more of them and less of *insert team names*?
Kendrick Lamar appears next with Alright along with suited dancers all wearing Dre Day sashes. The bottom of the stage is revealed in full to be a map of Los Angeles and an overhead shot shows off some impressive synchronised movement from Lamar and his dancers. It’s another change of pace but so far, it’s all fitting together incredibly well.
Then comes Eminem! He’s picked his most rousing big venue-fitting track, 8 Mile’s Lose Yourself, along with a live band. It’s a big moment and every fan in the crowd has their phones out to record.
A surprise guest! It’s 50 Cent who appears for his best known track In Da Club, turning one of the white houses into a club surrounded by dancers.
Mary J Blige comes on next for Family Affair and a set of sparkled back-up dancers. What’s that much more energizing about this year’s structure is the block party vibe with groups from all of the different white houses dancing along and carrying on their different scenes. No More Drama slows things down a bit then and Blige, as ever, gives it her absolute all.
Dr Dre appears first to introduce Snoop Dogg and some white houses where the latter raps on top of. It’s a mini version of LA from the looks of it with a living room and some cars outside.
Snoop then hands over to Dre and Next Episode turns into California Love, an appropriate choice for the venue and a large set of dancers doing the very most. It’s a more opened up stage than usual and all the better for it.
Time to face the music
Some scores / goals / dunks were made and now we are here for the real entertainment, a tantalizing supergroup performance featuring Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Mary J Blige, Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg. The half-time show has given R&B stars the spotlight sometimes but historically, has not embraced hip-hop, so this feels like a major moment. Let’s see how five major stars are able to share the stage. It’s a challenge!
Keeping up with the Joneses
As Tom Jones plays, Leslie Jones, Rashida Jones and Tommy Lee Jones race their Toyota Tundras. And then a confused Nick Jonas turns up. And we’re confused too.
Larry David does crypto
It’s really been a big night for cryptocurrency ads, the highest profile of which stars Larry David, turning down some of history’s best ideas. The star said that he gets offered a lot of ads that he’s happy to turn down but this was one that really appealed to him. It’s ... better than the QR code one?
Matthew McConaughey is back in space
The actor said he wanted people to actually think his Salesforce ad was for Interstellar 2. But sadly, that isn’t the case and it’s yet another classic combo of big name, worthy voice-over and “oh huh, it’s an advert for that?” ending.
So what can we expect from tonight’s half-time show?
During a press conference this week, Dr Dre said it would be “fucking incredible” and insisted there will be no wardrobe malfunctions. “I had to talk Snoop and Em out of pulling their penises out,” he said. Mary J Blige’s face was described as “semi-mortified”.
There’s not a whole lot to take from this trailer other than it will be high-gloss and high-budget. While we don’t know the exact cost of tonight’s performance, 2020’s JLo and Shakira show was budgeted at $13m.
Kanye is in attendance:
Dolly and Miley phoning it in
No one does a Dolly Parton cover as well as Miley Cyrus so their pairing makes a lot of sense. Sadly, this T-Mobile ad and the accompanying song, hits a disappointingly bum note.
Uber Don’t Eats
Just because it’s in an Uber Eats bag doesn’t mean you should eat it, as celebrities such as Trevor Noah, Succession’s Nicholas Braun and Gwyneth Paltrow learn the hard way. The Uber Eats spot, in which celebs nom on household goods from dish soap to sponges, mostly serves to confirm that Jennifer Coolidge, most recently of HBO’s The White Lotus, is convincing even when eating a roll of paper towels.
Anna Kendrick and Barbie
An ad for Rocket Homes pairs Anna Kendrick and Barbie and takes a decent on-paper idea – what if Barbie had to contend with the very grim and very real complexities of the housing market – and doesn’t really do much with it. Four, count ’em four, teasers this week, for ... this.
While this week has seen accusations of domestic violence resurfaced against half-time performer Dr Dre, we’ve also heard from an accuser of Snoop Dogg, who denies the claim.
You can read the details here:
Meadow is back
Jamie-Lynn Sigler reprises her role of Meadow Soprano in a slick ad for Chevrolet that sees her taking on the late James Gandolfini’s place in a remake of the classic opening to the hit HBO show. It’s refreshing to see a well-known character return in a Super Bowl ad without it being played for laughs, and a recent interview with Sigler plays with the idea that she has taken over the family business.
Michelob Ultra takes Serena Williams bowling
Instead of the Super Bowl, Michelob Ultra heads to Superior Bowl – a dimly lit, worn in, hyper-competitive bowling joint staffed by none other than Steve Buscemi and frequented by Peyton Manning, Serena Williams and others.
The question that at least a few of us are now asking ... is Nope part of TFCU (The Forgotten Cinematic Universe)?
An ad for cryptocurrency company Coinbase has aired and it was ... just a QR code. A very expensive one:
It’s being viewed as both depressing and ridiculous on Twitter:
And then of course:
Probably the most anticipated trailer of the evening (that actually dropped this morning) is for the film that has been shrouded in secrecy up until now – Jordan Peele’s latest “social thriller” Nope, out this summer. The rather divisive title is not really explained in the first tease, but it’s quite likely meant to mean Not Of Planet Earth. Maybe. Because the Oscar-winning film-maker has turned his sights up to the sky, after going underground with Us, for a film that’s about something evil sucking people up from above. Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun and some very scared horses star.
Flamin’ hot Cheetos leads a rainforest chorus
Perennial Super Bowl ad favorites Doritos goes sans celebrity in this spot for its flamin’ hot chips, which inspire a collection of jungle animals to sigh, sniff, beatbox and then sing their way through Salt-N-Pepa’s Push It.
Speaking of the NFL’s race and gender issues, and given the league’s repeated failures to address players’ violence against women, I would be remiss not to mention halftime show headliner Dr Dre’s long history of domestic violence allegations. The 55-year-old rapper and producer has been alleged to have assaulted and threatened multiple women since at least 1991, including two mothers of his children and by his wife of 24 years, Nicole Young, whom he divorced last year.
Dre has refuted Young’s claims, but somewhat addressed the others in a statement to the New York Times in 2015: “I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”
The details are covered in brief by my colleague Andrew Lawrence, who called the selection of Dre as a headliner “a tone deaf choice for a league grappling with raging gender and race crises”.
So here’s a look at which stars have turned up to watch the game live, from Charlize Theron and Rebel Wilson to Chris Tucker. A reminder that to attend the game, proof of vaccination had to be shown, unlike at next month’s Oscars ...
Andy Richter’s Julius Caesar loves avocados
“I looooove salads – if that’s what I’m known for, I’ll be happy,” says Julius Caesar aka comedian Andy Richter in a spot for Avocados from Mexico (a brand? A movement?) set at an ancient Roman tailgate. As far as gladiator-themed Super Bowl ads go, this is no Beyoncé, Britney and Pink singing We Will Rock You in the Colosseum for Pepsi. Instead, we’re in the parking lot with the plebeians who traveled three months by oxcart to see Maximus fed to the wolves.
Netflix has condensed their 2022 movie preview trailer for a Super Bowl ad that just premiered – a rather bizarre assemblage of clips, and actors breaking the fourth wall. Stuart Heritage wrote about how frightening it all is here:
Arnie and Salma go electric
Arnold Schwarzenegger had been teasing this ad last month on social media, sharing a fake movie poster for Zeus, something that just about no one actually fell for. As most predicted, it was to hype up his Super Bowl ad, where he plays the thunder god alongside Salma Hayek as his wife Hera. It’s to hawk BMW’s new electric model. Arnie has a history of electric car support and once converted a Mercedes into an electric car, raising its value to $1m.
In case you missed it then here’s a rather wonderful reminder of how rather wonderful Jhené Aiko’s voice is:
It’s looking like a rather dark year for Marvel, after tonight’s horror-tinged Doctor Strange 2 tease and now this, a second look at their new Disney+ series, Moon Knight, recently described as “brutal” by Marvel boss Kevin Feige. Oscar Isaac’s British accent remains ... a decision but there’s plenty to get excited about here, including a grizzled Ethan Hawke and some stunning on-location imagery.
Ewan McGregor meditates on stuff for Expedia
For Expedia, Ewan McGregor muses on the futility of all this stuff we buy – thinner TVs, smarter smartphones, lighter light beers – when we could be traveling (assuming there’s not another Covid surge). “Do you think any of us will look back on our lives and regret the things we didn’t buy? Or the places we didn’t go?” he says, walking off on to a sunlit beach.
Hannah Waddingham plays a high roller
For Japanese online retailer Rakuten, Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham (along with a hairless cat sidekick) plays a high stakes roller matched bet for bet by an ordinary online shopper.
Will Smith’s – what if The Fresh Prince but a drama series, Bel-Air – airs today on NBC’s streamer Peacock (and tomorrow in the UK) and so there’s a ton of promo during the game, including an ad explained here by an excitable Will:
You can also read an interview with the star Jabari Banks:
Zendaya’s Sally sells seashells for Squarespace
As told (with precise pronunciation) by André 3000, Zendaya’s Sally once sold a few seashells by the sea shore – until she opened a website on Squarespace, which turned her into a seashell celebrity with all the glam (and outfit changes) worthy of the Euphoria star.
If they can bring back a T-Rex, then ...
Jurassic World: Dominion
After the success of last month’s Scream, the legacy sequel – aka the one that brings back the old to mingle with the new – continues with force this year with our first real look at the inevitable greatest hits sequel Jurassic World: Dominion. The last film brought back BD Wong and a cameo-ing Jeff Goldblum to join Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard but this time they return with both Sam Neill and Laura Dern, an exciting prospect for hardcore fans. The trailer has some promising moments but there’s an awful lot here to be juggled – despite the familiar faces, it’ll be the lesser-known DeWanda Wise who leads – so whether all balls can be kept up in the air remains to be seen.
Kanye’s McDonald’s order
It’s been a chaotic weekend for Kanye West, whose rather alarming Instagram posts have been causing concern as well as ridicule. But the rapper and entrepreneur has also cropped up briefly in an ad for McDonald’s, a surprise cameo that might be a way of announcing a new Kanye meal, following in the footsteps of Travis Scott who pocketed $20m for his. More to come, uhhhhhhhh maybe.
The Lost City
A quick look at Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s The Lost City, a knowing spin on Romancing the Stone, doesn’t really offer us much we haven’t already seen in the initial trailers. The story of a romance novelist who finds herself in a real adventure has plenty going for it – Bullock returning to physical comedy, Daniel Radcliffe as a bad guy, a role for the extremely funny Patti Harrison, a piss-taking cameo from Brad Pitt – but three trailers have now shown essentially the same moments on a loop (someone over at Paramount is very proud of the line “What is this, Taken? Am I took-en?”) so let us hope there’s more to be found when it hits cinemas next month.
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
And early out of the gate comes one of the night’s biggest trailer reveals. The phenomenal success of the most recent Spider-Man instalment (about to take over Avatar’s mammoth box office) and the film’s many, many cameos has upped the ante for the next Marvel adventure, something the new tease of Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange 2 is certainly aware of. While we knew from the last trailer that Wanda would be a major part, the new teaser has confirmed a rumour that Patrick Stewart would be starring as well. Is he playing Professor Xavier though? Is it about to be an X-Men mash-up? We’ll find out for sure in May.
Try it yourself if you can!
Jason Bateman gives the history of evolution
Jason Bateman surveys the history of human evolution, from the invention of our first words (aka caveman grunts) to the first maps, phones and TV screens, all leading up to Hyundai’s first electric car, the Ioniq 5.
While Super Bowl viewership has fallen in recent years, along with pretty much every other live event, we’re still talking a considerable, not-to-be-sniffed at audience. Last year 92m viewers still tuned in and so advertisers remain more than happy to spend the most for an ad. This year’s rate has gone up from $6.5m for 30 seconds to $7m. Experts have called this year’s theme amusing and warm, a string of gentle ads that will not be going too deep. Phew.
Celebrities tend to descend upon the Super Bowl wherever it’s being played but this year the LA setting should mean that even more will appear. We’ll add pics when they crop up but here’s a quick look at who has been spotted so far:
This blog is firmly not about sports, but the Super Bowl half-time show, as the most watched concert of the year, is inextricable from the NFL’s abundant issues with race and gender and its tendency to favor performative gestures (hashtags for racial justice on the field) over substantive change (hiring any black coaches – there is only one, in a league of 32 teams).
This year’s line-up features some of the biggest Black artists in the US – Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Mary J Blige. It’s a far cry from five years ago, when high-profile artists such as Rihanna, Adele and Cardi B reportedly declined offers to perform out of frustration with the league’s handling of Colin Kaepernick’s protests for racial justice. And it’s in large part thanks to Jay Z, who entered into a public partnership with the league in 2019 that gave his company, Roc Nation, influence over the league’s social justice initiatives and music events.
The league’s racial issues are arguably as bad as ever – for more on that, read my colleague Andrew Lawrence’s piece on the optics of this year’s halftime show. The line-up is “too big to fail”, he writes, but “like the league’s efforts to address its race and gender problems, this too appears to be a no-win proposition”.
Averting our eyes from the ball
It’s here! That one team playing that other team to win that whatever for something, I don’t know. What matters here is what is happening off the pitch or whatever it’s called, a place to avoid all the sport and focus on the other festivities.
Tonight, as ever, there will be a host of celebrity-packed trailers and first looks at major movies and, most importantly, a much-anticipated half-time performance from a hip-hop and R&B supergroup: Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige, Eminem, Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg.
So for the next few hours, this will be a football-free zone. It is football they are playing tonight, right?