Super Bowl 50 a disappointing product from start to finish



Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28) scores a touchdown as he leaps over Denver Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) in Super Bowl 50. (TNS)

By Dan Sostek / Sports Editor

As I sat sprawled in a chair, watching Cam Newton get slaughtered by a vicious Denver defense and a lifeless Peyton Manning loft the ball in the air with less velocity than a granny-style free throw, one thought constantly pervaded my mind.

Man, this is so boring.

The 2016 Super Bowl was an old-fashioned defensive struggle — one that NFL pundits and former coaches will likely laud as an entertaining battle of wills — but in reality it probably induced more drowsy eyes than a bottle of Nyquil.

The intrigue peaked at Lady Gaga’s national anthem performance, which probably brought about some panic and hysteria in the homes of gambling addicts everywhere, when she tip-toed the over-under line in performance length.

The halftime show lagged — not even Beyonce could save the sinking ship that was the disorganized amalgam of 20-second snippets of hits sprinkled with random outbursts of Coldplay songs and weird dance-offs.

Even though San Francisco banned them for the night, the Super Bowl was a total drone. In fact, it just reinforced the creeping notion that the sport as a whole is becoming less and less exciting.

Don’t mix things up. The league is not hurting at all, at least financially and ratings-wise. Viewership numbers continue to go up. But the product simply isn’t living up to those numbers, specifically on the biggest stages.

The league doesn’t want Malik Jackson scoring the first touchdown of the Super Bowl. They don’t want Kony Ealy coming up with the crazy interceptions. Heck, they probably don’t even want Von Miller — a superstar in his own right — winning the Super Bowl MVP.

They want points, they want 70-yard bombs, they want Marshawn Lynch BeastMode-esque runs. They want Cam Newton to run for 100 yards and dab every 10 seconds, and they want Peyton Manning to yell Omaha 30 times — mission accomplished there — and throw for four touchdowns.

Fans want offense, because something happening and the ball moving is always going to be more exciting than watching a unit get stonewalled time and time again. If people wanted to watch that, they could have just watched Coldplay try to interact with the crowd at halftime.

A 24-10 Super Bowl with little late-game intrigue isn’t going to cause Roger Goodell to sweat — he’s much too busy trying to prove that Tom Brady illegally deflated footballs and “trying” to ensure the safety of the sport. This boring showing was definitely no death knell.

What it is, though, is proof that football isn’t a sport that is inherently more exciting than any other, a notion that football fans scream when arguing about the supremacy of the sport. The recent World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, College Football Playoff National Championship and NCAA Basketball Championship were all more entertaining than the NFL’s final game.

Maybe Super Bowl LI will provide us with another instant classic. It’s certainly possible —  we had a great matchup just last year. But it’s no guarantee. People like me will still tune in regardless, but it doesn’t mean I’ll be happy about watching it.

I genuinely found the Puppy Bowl as entertaining as Sunday’s game — maybe the Panthers could have used one of those canines under center instead of Newton.

Basically, my bitterness all boils down to a simple thesis.

I just want the Super Bowl to be super. Is that too much to ask?

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