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“The Big Game” is more than just football



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source via wikimedia commons

For some people, Sunday’s contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t be the highlight of “The Big Game”.

Non-football fans often tune in just for the incredibly expensive commercials and halftime performances known to give plenty of reasons to chat around the water coolers the following Monday. 

With multiple Grammy-winning singer-songwriter The Weeknd handling halftime duties, this year is unlikely to be any different.

The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye, has spent the past few months performing an extended performance-art routine. He’s shifted in and out of an alternate character, at times appearing and performing with a bloodied face or bandages on his head. He also wore facial prosthetics in the music video for “Save Your Tears.”

He has publicly said that the significance of the head bandages is a reflection of “the absurd culture” of celebrity and is in response to people superficially manipulating themselves just to please and be validated by others.

Given this foray into the realm of social commentary, it’s hard to predict what fans will get from Sunday’s performance.

One thing that has been made public is that viewers won’t be getting a typical stage performance. Because of COVID-19 safety protocols, The Weeknd will not appear on the field. The entire show will be done in the stands.

Viewers shouldn’t expect any special guests for this year’s halftime show either, but the national anthem will be a duet performed by Grammy-nominated artists Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church, while H.E.R. will sing “America the Beautiful.”

True traditionalists will also be pleased to know that Team Ruff and Team Fluff will take the field in the annual Puppy Bowl. This year, the “original call-to-adoption” TV event will feature 70 adoptable players hailing from 22 shelters and rescues from nine states.

If you usually tune in just for the commercials, then you’re going to want to schedule your bathroom breaks while Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are on the field to avoid missing the high-profile ads.

CBS, which is broadcasting the big game, has “virtually sold out” of all its commercial inventory. Hellmann’s, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Robinhood, Chipotle and Huggies are among the brands who will be making their Super Bowl debut this year.

A 30-second spot during the 2021 game on CBS ranges from $5.5 million to $5.6 million. The advertiser lineup for Feb. 7 also includes Amazon, Uber Eats, M&M’S, Cheetos, Bud Light, Mountain Dew and more.

Surprisingly, veteran advertisers Budweiser, Coke and Pepsi are sitting out of this one.

“This difficult choice was made to ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times,” a Coke spokesperson announced in a statement.

Viewers will enjoy plenty of funny and star-studded ads, but might want to keep the tissues handy for tearjerkers like Ford’s emotional spot that urges Americans to finish strong in the battle against COVID-19.

If all this isn’t enough, the NFL is planning for 20 percent seating capacity. Fans in attendance will be spaced six feet apart in “pods” and will be required to wear masks. That should be pretty interesting to see, too.

And if none of that piques your interest, there’s always Tom Brady.


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