Super Bowl LI and the True American Spirit
Super Bowl LI served not just as a sporting event, but as an event that helped to unify millions of Americans from all walks of life.
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Every year, millions of families gather together in celebration of the Super Bowl, football’s largest and most renowned yearly competition. Everyone looks forward to a thrilling game, an incredible halftime show, and some of the most comedic commercials of the year. Unlike any other year, this
February 5th’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, was not just a night of celebration of sporting talent. Instead, it was turned into a night where people and companies showed what they felt it means to be American and to have American principles.
Following the election of Donald Trump, many groups feel as if they are not being represented by the new President. Immigrants, particularly Muslims and Mexicans, LGBTQ+ individuals, and several other groups have generally expressed a sense of fear for their fate in the coming years. In response to this, this year’s Super Bowl showed a sense of American unity and pride that has not never been seen before–from the commercials to the halftime show with Lady Gaga.
For instance, on the Sunday of Super Bowl LI, Coca Cola aired an advertisement that captured the true American spirit, that the nation is built on the incorporation of immigrants from every culture across the globe. In this advertisement, American children from different roots sang the patriotic song, “America,” in their native language, including Spanish to represent Hispanic nations, and Arabic and Urdu to represent Arab and Muslim countries, some of the nations being singled out by the Trump Administration. The commercial ended with a powerful message: “Together is beautiful.” Through this ad, Coca Cola was able to really capture the true sentiments of Americans towards other citizens that have come from diverse backgrounds. It showed the beauty of American unity and diversity, which was a complete contrast from Coca Cola’s usually hilarious commercials from previous Super Bowls.
Moreover, Lady Gaga’s halftime show also reflected a strong sense of American unity. Singing her hit song “Born this Way,” Gaga sent her message with the lyrics, “Not matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian transgendered life. I’m on the right track, baby. I was born to survive.”
Even though she was strictly prohibited from making any political references during the halftime show as part of her contract, Lady Gaga still showed her support for Americans whose rights are in danger of being compromised.
Although Super Bowl LI reflected American values and principles, more than any other Super Bowl in the past, people were disappointed by the commercials this year. Everyone watching, was expecting to see advertisements that would make them laugh, such as the one Melissa McCarthy did for Kia. While they appreciated the ads on American unity that had political undertones, many viewers were expecting this year’s Super Bowl to have ads like last year’s comedic commercials.
Students and staff at Watchung Hills also admired this year’s theme of American unity, but had hoped for more from both the commercials as well as the halftime show. During a discussion in a sophomore history class, one student commented that they expected Lady Gaga to be bolder during the halftime show, and to do something that would shock people across the country. They were hoping she would do something that would make headlines on the news, something unforgettable. Another student commented that they wished there were more commercial’s like the ones Melissa McCarthy was in or that Doritos had aired a funny ad like every other year.
On one hand, Super Bowl LI was remarkable with in the way that it revealed the foundation behind American principles. On the other hand though, it disappointed audiences because of the way it did not follow the precedent set by previous Super Bowl’s with entertaining commercials and an extremely bold halftime show. Regardless of the mixed reactions, this year’s Super Bowl, was certainly unlike any other in its commemoration of football, and of the American Spirit.