There’s nothing modest about Super Bowl, except maybe the game

It’s America at its most glorious. Eat, drink, buy, gorge, conquer, destroy, consume. Consume oxygen, plastic, oceans, minerals, forests, countries, armies and — oh, yeah, while you’re at it — ballcarriers.

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Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp celebrates after the Rams’ victory Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp celebrates after the Rams’ victory Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It was some years ago when it hit me like a beer burp: The Super Bowl isn’t about football.

It’s about consuming things!

It’s America at its most glorious. Eat, drink, buy, gorge, conquer, destroy, consume. Consume oxygen, plastic, oceans, minerals, forests, countries, armies and — oh, yeah, while you’re at it — ballcarriers.

Eat ’em all! Let God sort ’em out!

Our country is Ms. Pacman gobbling toward the blinking lights of “Game Over.” It’s like that TV show with the perfect name for our imperfection: “This Is Us.”

From the ridiculously overwrought national anthem to the military jets, the $5 billion stadiums, the explosions, the stars, the swells, the mounds of wings, the chips, the Tums and, above all, the advertisements urging us in our bloated dominance to consume ever more, what we have is red, white and blue America.

I remember mentioning this to then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue back in the day. I think I asked him why the Super Bowl didn’t just get itself declared a national holiday, maybe the Monday after the game — a legal celebration of gluttony.

Tags sort of grinned. I don’t remember his exact words, but they were something like this: It’s already happened.

So we saw the Rams beat the Bengals 23-20 on Sunday in a very entertaining game, one that wasn’t decided until 39 seconds remained.

That’s terrific for ads. Nobody’s leaving the room.

Oh, did I mention gamblers not leaving the room, either? Need I? They’re Americans, too (even if rapper Drake, who made $300,000 on $1.25 million in Super Bowl bets, is Canadian). The one thing Americans will do is share dollars with fellow speculators (after vigorish, that is, and even if Drake bet in Bitcoin, which he did).

Maybe you’re like me. This is the first Super Bowl, after 55 of them notched on the belt, that I watched as much for the ancillary stuff: ads, dummy Vernon Hargreaves ludicrously dancing onto the field and getting a penalty, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow’s outstanding sideline spitting technique, gambling payoffs, ads and more ads.

Think about it. Does anybody really care if the Rams or Bengals won? Outside of certain small zones of the country, that is?

Heck, I’d guess most of California didn’t want the Rams to win. You think 49ers and Chargers fans are all sloppy about Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and his golden-haired children and wife? Doubt it.

And the mystery of unstoppable wide receiver and game MVP Cooper Kupp is one pondered by all, without any specific devotion to the Rams or anything else. The guy led the NFL in regular-season catches (145), receiving touchdowns (16) and receiving yardage (1,947), then won the biggest game and highest award. Kupp’s so amazing, he actually scored twice on the final drive, with the first touchdown catch wiped out by penalties on both teams. He’s basically a white Jerry Rice. He has a blond beard. His name is fun to say.

Then the ads. Seven million dollars for 30 seconds. Huge production costs. Famous actors getting millions to shill.

I’d never watched the ads like I did Sunday. Never paid them much attention. It’s exhausting. They don’t end. There’s not even a fade-to-black in between to let you know they’re not hawking Toyotas anymore and are on to Doritos.

So a big shout-out to Anna Kendrick and her Barbie doll playmates — all working hard to get Barbie (and Ken, it appears, although they’re technically unmarried) their dream house. Thank you, Rocket Mortgage! (Barbie’s credit rating, despite a clothing addiction, is apparently rock solid.)

And congrats to Chicago’s own Comma Music, which scored the ad. In this nation of winners-take-all, that ad was voted best of the Super Bowl by USA Today’s Ad Meter.

Come on, Barbie, let’s go party!

Beyond ads, we have the importance of penalties. Not many were called in the game, it seemed, until the final Rams drive. But penalties are game-changers, and they’re so arbitrary, you never know when they’ll come.

Bengals receiver Tee Higgins yanked and twisted Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s facemask, tossing him to the ground, en route to a 75-yard touchdown and a 17-13 Bengals lead in the third quarter. Flag? Nope.

And that could have decided the Super Bowl outcome. Fortunately, it didn’t.

Makes it tough for gamblers. And others who care about final scores.

But let’s stay giddy in our Super Bowl glow, America. Buy something! Consume! Just do it.

As an advertiser once said.

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