By Mackenzie Cutruzzula
The stage had been set for the number one defense to take on the best offense in NFL history in the biggest city in the world. With Super Bowl XLVIII being held only a few hours from College Park, University of Maryland students were feeling the excitement. However, what followed was anything but, as the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8.
The Broncos never led, as the game began with a botched snap, which resulted in a safety for the Seahawks. From there, second year quarterback Russell Wilson, his offense and the fabled “Legion of Boom” defense never looked back. Super Bowl MVP, linebacker Malcolm Smith, accounted for an interception returned for a touchdown, a fumble recovery, and nine tackles.
Despite the disappointing performance by Peyton Manning, he still broke the record for most completions in a Super Bowl, with 34. Thirteen of those 34 completions, including his only touchdown, went to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, breaking another Super Bowl record.
The score left fans feeling a bit bored, as social media told the world that the halftime show and commercials were far more interesting.
“I was really glad to see the Seahawks win because I was rooting against the Broncos, but I wish the game had been closer and more entertaining,” said freshman journalism major Craig Weisenfeld.
The Super Bowl goes beyond being the championship game, and brings friends, families, and students together for an experience. Students went to myriad places across campus to watch the game, whether it be in a dorm room or lounge, a bar or restaurant, fraternity or sorority house, or places like TerpZone.
“I was glad to have friends around and lots of food. For me, that’s what the Super Bowl is all about,” said freshman kinesiology major Gabby Castro.
The lackluster game raised the stakes for the heavily awaited commercials and halftime show to keep the viewers’ attention. Mixed reactions accompanied the performance by Bruno Mars that featured the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After Beyoncè’s show last year, Mars had big shoes to fill.
He opened “Locked Out of Heaven” and transitioned to “Treasure” where the Red Hot Chili Peppers jumped in and performed “Give It Away.” Finally, Mars concluded with “Just the Way You Are.”
“There was no comparison, Bruno Mars couldn’t compete with Beyoncé. However, it was still an enjoyable performance, “ said Maya Jefferson, a freshman family sciences major.
Although “Queen B” clearly set the bar high, many other students were able to appreciate Mars’s performance in its own right.
“I thought it was really sweet and different that he dedicated the last song to the troops,” said Vinielle Acha-Morfaw, a sophomore nursing major.
Halftime wasn’t the only thing that kept viewers’ attention. During the timeouts and other game breaks, audiences were silenced in anticipation of the possible over-the-top commercials.
This year, a 30-second advertisement cost upwards of four million dollars. In comparison to last year, this year’s set of commercials took a strange twist, as companies produced longer and more serious pitches, such as Ford’s back-to-back advertisements featuring Rob Riggle and Budweiser’s “Whatever happens next” campaign. One of the most discussed advertisements was a separate Budweiser commercial, “Best Buds,” featuring a puppy and a horse. Other commercials were dubbed a success as well.
“My favorite commercial was from Audi. They created a “Doberhuahua” that even got Sarah McLachlan to make fun of herself,” said freshman criminal justice major Brian Frosti.
Other students felt both excitement and nostalgia when Dannon Oikos was able to create a “Full House” reunion. Although it wasn’t a noteworthy for commercials, Radio Shack, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft were companies that left viewers feeling inspired or laughing.
Despite the overall reaction to the game, the intrigue of the halftime show, commercials and overall spectacle of the game were still enough to compel viewers not to change the channel. Like a bad car accident, nobody could look away. According to ESPN.com, this year’s Super Bowl now holds the record for most-watched television event in U.S. history, drawing an audience of 111.5 million.
The game might not have lived up to expectations, but UMD students were still tuned in and definitely had a winning experience.