Super Bowl complaints not about the Super Bowl

So three days ago the highest number of people ever watched the same show at the same time in television history. 

Did you notice then the odd occurrence of all the people watching who found something to complain about other than the game? 

First, it was Taylor Swift. After showing up at repeated regular season games, THE popular music artist was sure to show in Vegas, too, after her whirlwind week and Tokyo tour, cumulating in the shouts and support for her Kansas City beau… Why do the cameras keep focusing on her? … Am I the only one tired of seeing her on TV so much? … I tuned in to watch football!…

Oh, too funny… we are an opinionated bunch… Is it right? Is it wrong? What inside me makes me conclude it’s so wrong?

The reality is the presence of Taylor Swift in the stands prompted a whole new segment of society to pay attention to the National Football League. People paid attention. And people were talking about Taylor Swift.

Next, it was RFK, Jr., the son of Robert Francis Kennedy from the infamous Kennedy clan. RFK, Jr. has been running for President, originally challenging Pres. Joe Biden to be the Democratic Party nominee. He ran a rather clever, 30 second ad in a Super Bowl spot, utilizing vintage audio and visuals from his famous uncle’s 1960 presidential campaign.

After repeating his famous last name multiple times, the jingle alluded to Uncle John’s experience in the House and Senate, gleefully singing: 

“Do you want a man for President who’s seasoned through and through — a man who’s old enough to know and young enough to do? Well, it’s up to you; it’s up to you; it’s strictly up to you.”

Some of his siblings were far less than gleeful, taking issue with the ad utilizing their parents images for a campaign they don’t support. They were not alone in their complaint.

The reality is the presence of RFK, Jr. (and others) in this 2024 electoral race — especially those who are younger and more lucid — is prompting people to pay attention to other presidential candidates. People are paying attention. And people are beginning to talk about candidates other than those named Biden or Trump.

And lastly, it was Jesus. There were multiple Christian commercials landing in Super Bowl LVIII. One was for the prayer app, “Hallow” — notably represented by actors Mark Wahlberg and Jonathan Roumie. 

This ad began: “God, we take this moment just to give you thanks. We thank you for this time to come together, as family, as friends, and as a country.”

With the most downloads in the app’s history that night, the public response to a call to prayer was nothing short of tremendous. 

“Hallow” was not alone, no less. “He Gets Us” returned for another year, this year sharing two ads, one entitled “Foot Washing” and the other “Know Your Neighbor.”

Some were rattled in response but interestingly, for a variety of reasons. Most of the rattle seemed from the “Foot Washing” ad, which portrayed the humble act of service in contemporary but not-always-comfortable environments. They depicted a young man washing the feet of an elderly family member, a police officer washing a black man’s feet, a woman washing another’s feet at a family planning clinic, yet another washing the feet of an immigrant, and several more, servant-oriented acts. The words were few; the poignancy of the images was powerful. Their stated idea is that God gets us — all of us. Knowing that, we ask if we are truly willing to honor and love one another. No matter the perceived differences.

Unsurprisingly, the complaints came from multiple angles, as when faith doesn’t fit into our pre-conceived, self-crafted political or apolitical box, it’s often us who fall prey to playing the deity; we decide exactly how what fits and why.

Was it good? Was it bad? Was it healthy? Was it not?

I’m not an expert, friends. But the reality is the presence of the “He Gets Us” ads on Sunday prompted many to pay attention. People are paying attention. And people are talking about what faith means and what it does not.

Talking is good. Even for an opinionated bunch.