Top Super Bowl LII moments — besides the game
MINNEAPOLIS — The Philadelphia Eagles' first Super Bowl win, their first NFL championship in 57 years, set an all-time league record for total yards and was the second-highest scoring Super Bowl ever by a single point. Many other moments and events, though, both inside and away from U.S. Bank Stadium, made Super Bowl LII memorable.
For very different reasons, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. both had seasons they'd like to forget in 2017. But 2018 is off to a spectacular start for the Giants' star quarterback and wide receiver, respectively, as they starred in one of the USA Today Ad Meter's top two commercials of the night (score tied with a celebrity-laden Amazon Alexa spot).
In a 60-second ad produced by the NFL highlighting its loosening of touchdown celebration rules, the Big Blue pair recreated the choreography to "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" from the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, with Eli in the Patrick Swayze role and OBJ as Jennifer Grey. As the strains of the iconic Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes hit echoed around the Giants' practice bubble, the teammates even pulled off the sequence's signature lift!
Having just turned 37 a week ago, Sunday night's halftime show was already Timberlake's third, including one as a member of NSYNC, but the first for him as a headliner and the first since he played a central role in the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" (note: sensitive link) at Super Bowl XXXVIII. This time around, his whirlwind performance ran through 10 solo hits — and one highly-anticipated cover that we'll get to shortly — in less than 14 minutes.
After opening with "Filthy" off his new album Man of the Woods, also just released last week, Timberlake launched into "Rock Your Body," but devilishly cut the song short right at the lyric during which he exposed Jackson's breast 14 years prior. Jackson, addressing rumors in the days leading up to the game, confirmed she would not appear, despite her connections to Timberlake and Minneapolis, the launching pad for her longtime producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
The most obvious Minneapolitan to be considered for honors during this halftime show was always Prince, who died in 2016 and whose headlining turn at Super Bowl XLI is consistently ranked as one of the game's all-time best halftime performances. Seated at a white piano, Timberlake played and sang harmony as archival video of Prince played "I Would Die 4 U" from Purple Rain, projected on a sheet similar to the famous backlit one from The Purple One's 2007 Super Bowl gig.
Much was made of a slow-to-develop selfie Timberlake posed for with a fan in the stands during his set's closer, "Can't Stop the Feeling!" But Eagle-eyed Philadelphia fans noticed a seemingly familiar face in the background. Was it really former wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who played in the Eagles' last Super Bowl appearance in 2005? "FredEx" hasn't confirmed on his Twitter page.
One of the recurring "prop bets" people concentrate most on, before each Super Bowl even starts, is the length of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The over/under is generally set at two minutes, but with P!nk saying on Instagram that she was battling the flu, it was anyone's guess as to how long the National Anthem would take to complete.
The answer: 1 minute, 52 seconds, with no players on either side kneeling or expressing any other form of protest.
A very meme-able product unwittingly became the first major American public health crisis of 2018, with the manufacturer itself discouraging teenagers from taking the "Tide Pod Challenge." On Sunday night, though, the Pods were nowhere to be found in a series of ads starring Stranger Things' David Harbour, all of which began under the pretense of hawking something else only to have Harbour ruin the fun by saying "it's a Tide ad" and pointing out the cleanliness of everyone's clothes. My favorite: the cross-promotional spot with Isaiah Mustafa, Old Spice's "Man Your Man Could Smell Like."
Freddie Mitchell wasn't the only relic of Super Bowl XXXIX, the previous time the Eagles and Patriots matched up, making news over the weekend (not counting Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who remain from that 2004 Patriots championship team). Longtime Philadelphia safety Brian Dawkins and superstar wideout Terrell Owens, who both played for the 2004 Eagles, were announced as part of the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. The slate is headlined, appropriately, by another Minnesota legend: former Viking Randy Moss.
Rutgers student and Williamstown resident Haley Parks, an avid Eagles fan, went viral when she woke up from wisdom teeth surgery groggily asking, "Did I miss the Super Bowl?" She most certainly didn't; in fact, the Eagles found two tickets for her in U.S. Bank Stadium. In her post-surgery video, Parks also expressed interest in going to the victory parade should the Eagles win, and vowed in a Facebook post after the game that she would do exactly that, according to the Courier Post.
NBC, which carried Super Bowl LII, aired nearly six-and-a-half hours of pregame coverage leading up to kickoff, which has become standard procedure for the network broadcasting each year's game. For those who can't take that much football or aren't that invested in the main event anyway, there's Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl, now in its 14th year, and the Hallmark Channel's Kitten Bowl, which marked its fifth edition.
In the Puppy Bowl, Team Fluff defeated Team Ruff 52-47, with Bear, an American Staffordshire Terrier-Foxhound, taking home MVP honors. At the Kitten Bowl, it was almost a replay of the end of Super Bowl LI, with Feline Manning delivering the winning touchdown to Macaroni for a 34-28 overtime win by the Pouncy Panthers — the same score as when the Patriots came back to beat the Falcons in 2017. (game recaps by Bleacher Report)