The first Sunday in February is a time to break out the chips and dip, bring out the six pack, and invite everyone over for a big Super Bowl party.
This year’s Super Bowl was anything but a party, at least according to TV numbers and audience reactions.
According to Nielsen television ratings, Super Bowl LII had the lowest viewership since 2009, with 103.4 million average viewers. These numbers still make the Super Bowl one of the most watched programs in America, but it also continues a downward trend for the National Football League.
The NFL has seen their viewership go down for regular season and playoff games, but the Super Bowl was always the time where viewership spiked.
This year’s Super Bowl also featured two big market teams in the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams, two teams that have huge fan bases that were sure to bring in a ton of viewers for the big game.
The Super Bowl has three aspects that the audience will look at critically: the game itself, the halftime show and the commercials.
In terms of the actual football game, this was the lowest scoring Super Bowl in history, with a final score of 13-3. Neither team scored a touchdown until the final quarter of the game, leading to a defensive struggle with neither team’s offense able to do anything.
This year’s halftime show, by comparison,was a social phenomenon, but not necessarily in a good way. Rumours had swirled online that Maroon 5 would play the song “Sweet Victory” as a tribute to “Spongebob” creator Stephen Hillenburg, who had passed away in December of last year. The song was played in an episode that parodied Super Bowl halftime performances, named the “Bubble Bowl”.
Maroon 5 started their performance, and were interrupted by Squidward ready to conduct the band in the performance of “Sweet Victory.”
The performance never came. Instead, a short animation of the Spongebob cast was used to intro Travis Scott’s performance of “Sicko Mode.”
The rest of the show was marked by Adam Levine’s shirt coming off mid-performance which came across as awkward and out of place.
The commercials were seen, overall, as mediocre, with a notable down point being an ASMR beer commercial that left many viewers uncomfortable.
These commercials are highly talked about post-game, which only fueled the idea that this year’s Super Bowl was a disappointment.
Nothing seemed to go right this year for the NFL’s big game. No offensive powerhouses, a disappointing halftime show and an audience detached from the excitement of football.
The idea that the NFL is no longer a television powerhouse remains an exaggeration, but with big money and contracts on the line, the NFL will have to look closely at this year’s disaster for next season.