At some point, the Super Bowl stopped being entirely about football and evolved — or is it devolved — into a corporate carnival with lavish parties, halftime extravaganzas and commercials whose budgets seemed to rival a blockbuster movie.
The apex of that transformation arrived with the N.F.L. planting this year’s event in Las Vegas, where the prevailing ethos might well be that a bellyful of anything is barely enough.
But Super Bowl LVIII, with its attendant flash — and America’s favorite football fan, Taylor Swift, chugging a beer in a private box — demonstrated on Sunday night how sports stands apart from other types of entertainment.
If the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers was as tightly scripted as Usher’s elaborate choreography, the teams might have been pelted with rotten tomatoes or booed off the stage by halftime. It was mostly an evening of stumbles and bumbles: two fumbles, an interception, a muffed punt, a blocked extra point, a raft of untimely penalties — and for the 49ers enough regrets to last a lifetime.
But all the mistakes and all those field goals — seven in all — would eventually be subsumed by the tension that unfolded in the fourth quarter and continued on into overtime of what became the longest game in Super Bowl history.
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