Entertainment

The Most Outrageous Moments From Super Bowl LV

This year's Big Game was a blowout but still generated some highlights.

the weeknd, super bowl lv half time show
The Weeknd | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The Weeknd | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

We may still be in the middle of a pandemic, but the Super Bowl—specifically, its money-making apparatus of commercials that rakes in billions every year—must apparently go on. With the stands packed with 22,000 fans and 30,000 more cardboard cutouts to promote social distancing, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the proverbial big game at their home field, giving Tom Brady a seventh championship as the portrait he keeps in a closet grows more and more withered. (That's a little Oscar Wilde humor for your Super Bowl blog post.

The Weeknd gave a fittingly bizarre halftime show performance for this strange edition of this national pastime, while we were treated to an unnerving hologram of Vince Lombardi, and an unexpected appearance from a party crasher in a pink thong. Now that the confetti has been unleashed, here are the most outrageous moments from the entire day.

Forgot what happened last year? Brush up on the >wildest moments from the 2020 Super Bowl.

Miley Cyrus went full punk on TikTok

There's something slightly depressing about Bikini Kill's riot grrrl anthem "Rebel Girl" being performed at an event called the "TikTok Tailgate Super Bowl Pregame Show." However, we have to admit that Miley Cyrus's cover, performed at said event, was really pretty great. (And the concert itself was aimed at vaccinated healthcare workers, which is also nice.) According to Stereogum, Cyrus' set included guest appearances from Joan Jett and Billy Idol, but the best moment was her interpretation of "Rebel Girl." Great song, and Cyrus is consistently pretty great at covers.

Champ and Major Biden supported mask wearing at the Puppy Bowl

The big match-up of the day was broadcast hours earlier than the actual Super Bowl when teams Ruff and Fluff faced off in the always adorable Puppy Bowl. While the true stars were players like Chunky Monkey and Fozzie, there was also a celebrity cameo from First Dogs, Major and Champ. Jill Biden recorded a PSA about mask-wearing starring the Biden dogs, who appeared to have no idea what was going on but were cute nonetheless. 

The crowd was packed... with cardboard cutouts

After nearly a year of social distancing, quarantining, and wrinkling our noses at the fun vacation Instagrams posted by former high school classmates we haven't talked to since graduation, it's super weird to see lots of people gathered in one place. The word "PACKED" was trending on social media early in the game, and given all the shots of what appears to be a stadium at full capacity, we're not surprised. Yes, there are real live football fans in attendance at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL—just not as many as it seems. The NFL announced that 22,000 people would be in the audience, and 7,500 of those are healthcare workers who have been vaccinated. The other 30,000 seats have been filled by the ever-popular cardboard cutouts, giving a fun uncanny-valley vibe to the evening's proceedings as so many other events (including baseball games and the National Dog Show).  

Vince Lombardi's hologram stressed everyone out

Why do giant media companies keep trying to make holograms happen? In a bizarre attempt to make an already dystopian-feeling Super Bowl resemble a deleted scene from Blade Runner, a digital version of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi appeared on a screen at the stadium to provide some inspiring words to the crowd. It was supposed to be rousing, but it was mostly just unsettling. Let's leave this stuff in Star Wars movies.

Reddit squeezed in a five-second ad

Listen, Super Bowl commercials are expensive. A typical 30-second spot now goes for the steep price of $5.5 million—and that doesn't count the dough most companies drop on celebrity cameos and recognizable needle-drops—so it makes sense that Reddit went the scrappy route with this super-short text-based ad, which played right after half-time. Referencing the Game Stop chaos of the last couple weeks, the message was quick, timely, and probably caught the attention of your most online co-worker or family member. 

The Weeknd performed with freaky dancers

The Weeknd, an artist known for mostly sad songs about sex and drugs, was always going to be a strange choice for the Super Bowl halftime show, but it turned out that he can at least deliver on a fun medley and light show. There were no special guests, just a divisive spectacle featuring a horde of dancers in face bandages. Reportedly spending $7 million of his own money to get the vibe he wanted, The Weeknd ran through his hits, including "Earned It," which appeared on the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack, and "Blinding Lights," while dancing through elaborate sets. The dizzying handheld camerawork when he disappeared into a tunnel of lights for "Can't Feel My Face" was perfect for memes. Sure, the sound mix left a lot to be desired, but the bandaged dancers were freaky enough to salvage the proceedings.

A thong-wearing fan crashed the field

The second half of the game was an unceasing grind. When the announcers noted that a fan had run out onto the field, you might have gotten drawn back in for a second. Though CBS quickly cut away to a commercial, a typical move during live sports broadcasts interrupted by an unruly person in the crowd, photos of the patron quickly surfaced online. Even during COVID, you can't stop the overzealous streaker, especially if they're determined to get some free publicity for their X-rated "prank" site.

Tom Brady won yet another Super Bowl

Tom Brady, a comic book supervillain come to life, won his seventh Super Bowl, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a decisive victory over last year's winner the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9. Even though he left the New England Patriots to start over at a struggling franchise at the ripe old age of 43, drawing his old buddy Rob Gronkowski out of retirement, Brady, a man who doesn't eat tomatoes, frustratingly remains at the top of his game. A new year may dawn, a new administration may take office, but this sentient Ken Doll is still very good at throwing a football. 

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