SAN JOSE, Calif. - Super Bowl LVII had millions of eyes glued to the field until the very end. But not all the action was on the field. For some, the commercials and half-time show were as big an attraction as the game itself.
As the two teams prepared for the game of their lives, a national audience had its spirits lifted with song, as actress Sheryl Lee Ralph belted out a rendition of the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
It, and the U.S. National Anthem, performed by country music star Chris Stapleton, were so emotional and impactful, the songs prior to kick-off brought Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni to tears.
Once the gird iron clash was underway, for many, it was time to key in, on what took place off the field.
"The Super Bowl for decades now has really become a social event. Very much so as we see internationally with the world cup and the Olympic Games. The Super Bowl really the men on the field who play the game have become a side dish to what has become the main dish," said Dr. Shaun Fletcher, a professor of Public Relations & Sport Communication at San Jose State University.
From cultural icons and actors, such as Snoop Dogg, showing they can do anything, and sell every product, to titans of industry in luxury suites enjoying the spectacle, action beyond football also held center stage.
A Blue Moon beer commercial wasn’t what it appeared, as it only mentioned the sponsor after having the actors say its rival's name multiple times.
Another advertisement shined a light on the emerging sport of women’s flag football.
But the big talker came when the players were in the locker room. From the rafters, and suspended on a platform, singer Rihanna descended to the turf. Her performance of songs from her catalog was a high-wire act.
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 12: Rihanna performs during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) ( )
One person on social media tweeted, "If she didn’t wanna do the show why she accepted, this show was cra [sic] total crap boring…"
But other tweets provided context to the baggy clothes and cautious moves that highlighted the show.
"Rihanna reveals she is pregnant with her second child during her Super Bowl Haltime [sic] performance," tweeted another person.
The singer’s representative confirmed the pregnancy shortly after she ended her 13-minute set.
Rihanna, now 34 years old, has a 9-month-old son with rapper A$AP Rocky.
"It sent the internet ablaze," said Fletcher. "Even the half-time show was used almost as a birth announcement. And that’s just what the Super Bowl and the surrounding ornaments of the Super Bowl have become."
Super Bowl LVII will go down as a classic battle of wills, with one team celebrating at the end, and the other somber over what could have been. And, it will be remembered for all the moments beyond the game, that brought just as much entertainment.
"This is absolutely much more than the game…We’re starting to see the collective marketing tissues, we’re starting to see them increase in popularity," said Flether.
The price of a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl on Fox saw a 25% increase this year over 2020, which was the last time that net had the game. The cost was $7M up from $6.5M three years ago.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter, @JesseKTVU and Instagram, @jessegontv