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Way better than I feared. Just not the game.

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

We can now throw LVI on the heap. One more Super Bowl among too many to try to remember.

This one wasn’t so super, maybe what you’re likely to get from an 8-seed and a 5-seed squaring off in what is – after all – just another NFL football game.

They just don’t all have $7.5 million of air time for a 30-second commercial. Or Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg roaming the hacienda at halftime. And they haven’t yet filled the DraftKing and FanDuel betting tils like this one did, at a truly super level.

This tilt had its moments. It’s just that maybe only Ram and Bengal fans can remember them.

Me? I’m a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan. Cincinnati now is as close as I’ve ever been to a Super Bowl. The first team from Ohio to make the big one came from the Queen City – not one of the great original franchises of the NFL.

The world will tip when the Browns of the AFC and the ever lowly Detroit Lions of the NFC finally are anointed “super.” Many thought this would be “the season” for the Browns, who managed to lose more than they won. The Lions did tie a game and won three, for a solid season for them.

There is hope. Only the past two seasons, the Bengals were losing all but two and four games in their schedules. They were fully accomplished losers, these longtime (since 1968) Bungles. Now that’s all changed.

Speaking of bungles, the referees mostly stayed out of the way of yesterday’s game. Until the end. They let go a pretty obvious sideline roughing call on Rams star Aaron Donald pushing Cincy quarterback Joe Burrow out of bounds, then called a crucial ticky-tack defensive holding penalty on the Bengals as the Rams drove for what would be the winning touchdown.

But by then, only the commercials had my interest. I was pondering if it was cheaper to buy time in the 4th Quarter . . . when the game may have long since been decided (though this one wasn’t).

My top three commercial picks among a reasonably bland field: No. 1 is easy – Colin Jost and Scarlett Johansson being “mind read” by Amazon Alexa. Hilarious. Next I’ll take Schitt’s Creek’s Eugene Levy and his aged long-haired version zipping around in a Nissan. And the NFL’s own spot with its miniature stars tearing up the house playing football as the two young kids watched was fun.

Back to halftime and Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem: Best Super Bowl performance ever, my 1988 and 1991 kids agreed. Millennial daughter texted: “They perfectly integrated all the artists and songs and picked the best songs. 5 stars from me.” Millennial son added: “I think they did a really good job ensuring it was still appropriate and family friendly.”

I like how he correctly used “ensuring.” Me? All I could offer was a heartfelt, “Way better than I feared.”

At least something was.

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