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Super Bowl LVIII recap: notable ads, halftime performance and the game itself

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

The Kansas City Chiefs faced the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11. Every year, the Super Bowl garners more viewers than just football fans due to the halftime show as well as the iconic ads. This year there was the added factor of Taylor Swift being in attendance supporting her boyfriend Travis Kelce, a player on the Chiefs, and the game garnered a record breaking 123.4 million viewers. In case you missed it, continue reading for a recap of the highlights of the night. 

Super Bowl ads are notorious for being a little over the top, often starring several celebrities and, more than anything, being incredibly expensive. This year CBS had the broadcasting rights for the game, and a 30-second ad cost advertisers $7 million.

Some brands decide to debut their Super Bowl ads ahead of the big game, Cetaphil being one of those. In their ad, you see a father and daughter unable to truly connect because the daughter enjoys music and the dad wants her to enjoy football. As the commercial progresses, the viewer sees indirect hints that the daughter is a Taylor Swift fan (mainly through the use of friendship bracelets and the number 13) and the dad is a Chiefs fan (wearing red and white jerseys). The commercial is very touching as it shows how Swift’s interest in football has led many young girls to have an interest in the sport. 

Duolingo stuck to their typical marketing plan of being a little shocking and taking risks with their Super Bowl ad. In their simple five second ad, you can see Duolingo’s green owl mascot with its back turned to the camera smirking. The owl’s butt then inflates and turns into another owl with the slogan “do your Duolingo” flashing on the screen. 

In Verizon’s Super Bowl ad, they decided to feature Beyonce in a concept where she is trying to “break the internet.” After trying several times to “break the internet,” the ad ends with Beyonce saying “drop the music,” and fans immediately took to social media to discuss whether this meant Beyonce was actually dropping new music or if it was simply part of the ad. Sure enough, she announced on Instagram shortly after the ad was played that “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” and “16 CARRIAGES” can now be streamed.

Not all the ads are a success at the Super Bowl though and Uber Eats showed that. They decided to debut their ad on social media ahead of the game, and the basic concept of the ad was that people forget things, but they should not forget that Uber Eats delivers groceries. In the original ad, there was one clip where a man was clearly having a very severe allergic reaction after “forgetting” that peanut butter had peanuts in it. People and organizations called out Uber Eats for being insensitive to those with food allergies, especially those with anaphylactic reactions. The original ad was taken down and when it was played in the Super Bowl and later reposted, this controversial scene was omitted. 

In addition to the ads, the halftime show brings in viewers who might not necessarily be interested in watching a football game. This year the halftime performer was Usher and in interviews leading up to his performance he hinted at the fact that he might bring out other artists to perform with him. Although many fans were hoping for a surprise performance from Justin Bieber of “Somebody to Love,” Usher was instead joined throughout his show by special guests Jermaine Dupri, Alicia Keys, H.E.R., will.i.am, Lil Jon and Ludacris.

Besides the disappointment that Justin Bieber did not make an appearance, Usher’s performance has faced other criticism from fans on social media. For starters, the beginning and end of the show were relatively anticlimactic, especially when compared against Rhianna’s halftime show from last year’s Super Bowl. There were also several parts throughout the performance where the music or Usher’s microphone cut out, most notable in the first few seconds of the show. 

With regards to the actual football game at hand, Super Bowl LVIII was highly anticipated as it was a rematch from four years ago between the Chiefs and 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, where the Chiefs ended up on top. The 49ers were led by quarterback Brock Purdy, who was the last pick in the 2022 draft and therefore sports the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant,” while the Chiefs were led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes who has taken the Chiefs to four Super Bowls in six years.

The first quarter of the game started off slow, both teams struggled to make any major plays and the quarter ended with a 0-0 score. In the second quarter, the 49ers picked up the pace a bit and after scoring a field goal and a touchdown by Christian McCaffrey, the 49ers led 10-0. With 20 seconds left of the first half, the Chiefs still had no points to show for their efforts and scored a field goal which brought the score 10-3 going into halftime. 

Despite being down at halftime, going into the game Mahomes was 8-2 when trailing by at least seven points in postseason games, and the second half followed that trend of Chiefs comebacks. The third quarter belonged to the Chiefs, scoring a field goal and a touchdown by Marquez Valdes-Scantling, which brought the score to 13-10. The fourth quarter was back and forth between the 49ers and the Chiefs,with less than a minute left in the game the 49ers led 19-16 and it appeared the game might be over. However, the Chiefs were not ready to give up, and they managed to score a field goal with three seconds left in the game, tying the score and making this the second Super Bowl in history to go into overtime.

This was the first Super Bowl to be played after the overtime rules had changed. Previously, if the team that started with the ball scored a touchdown they would automatically win the game, not giving the other team a chance to equalize the score. In the new rules, both teams would have at least one chance to score. The 49ers won the coin toss and elected to start with the ball, but they were unable to score a touchdown and settled for a field goal, making the score 22-19 and giving the Chiefs the opportunity to win it all if they scored a touchdown themselves. The Chiefs struggled down the field in a seven-minute long drive and, with three seconds left, Mahomes threw a short pass to Mecole Hardman who was unguarded in the end zone, and the Chiefs won the Super Bowl 25-22.

After the Chiefs win, Mahomes became one of five quarterbacks in history to win three or more Super Bowls. The Chiefs also became the ninth team to win back-to-back Super Bowls and will look to become the first team to win three Super Bowls in a row next season.

Sophia Rocha

American '25

Sophia is a Brazilian-American junior at American University majoring in international studies and minoring in Spanish and marketing. Her interests include social media, journalism, and the Latinx community. Outside of school and work, she likes to read in her free time.