Long before the confetti cannons began to blast to celebrate the victory of the New England Patriots over the Los Angeles Rams, the national opinion of Super Bowl LIII had been solidified: the game was not good, maybe worse than the forgettable halftime show and mediocre $5 million commercials.
Never mind that some of us actually appreciate a defensive battle (it does make each play and mistake that much more important, after all), the real winner this week was the city of Atlanta and the host committee that put on what was, by all accounts, a really solid party.
A week of incredible concerts and events led up to the big game, and if you went downtown at any point last week, you were bound to find some fun. My memory of Super Bowl XXXIV, the last one Atlanta hosted back in 2000, was clouded by an ice storm that kept me in the suburbs (as well as the fact that I was 12 years old), but I don’t think it compared to the party that was thrown in 2019.
(Also read: 5 thoughts about Atlanta United’s 2019 schedule)
What I appreciated the most, aside from Big Boi saving the putrid halftime show with his brief but memorable appearance, was how hard the host committee worked to inject Atlanta’s rich civil rights history anywhere they could. From special tours of historic sites to Delta picking up the tab at the Center for Civil and Human Rights all week, visitors had every chance to learn everything they could about why Atlanta was the epicenter for the civil rights movement.
Including John Lewis, Andrew Young and Dr. Bernice King for the coin toss was fantastic. If Atlanta goes another 19 years between Super Bowls, who knows if we’ll ever get to see something like that again. Our civil rights heroes are getting older.
Then there was Gladys Knight, whose graceful rendition of the national anthem might’ve been the best we’ve seen at any Super Bowl since Whitney Houston in 1991.
Ignoring the 13-3 final score that was the lowest in Super Bowl history, this felt like the biggest party Atlanta has seen since the 1996 Olympics. Even though the NFL’s championship game is really only a national event, it seemed like the A-T-L was the center of the universe for an entire week, and the city did not have an “Atlanta moment.”
And no matter what you thought of the game itself, at least we were able to keep the lights on. Looking at you, New Orleans.Follow @Sean_Breslin