Analyzing Super Bowl XLVI: Halftime

By Dane Windisch

The Super Bowl is one of the great events in American culture and the media plays a crucial part in making the Super Bowl enjoyable for viewers. From the always popular commercials during the telecast to the debatable halftime performances, the Super Bowl has something unique for all viewers. NBC was the station televising the game this year and provided good halftime coverage. But, there was controversy involving the halftime show. Historically speaking, however, viewers should not have been surprised.

Before Madonna’s halftime performance, there was a quick recap of the first-half from Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison. Harrison, who was a former Super Bowl Champion with New England, gave comments on what New England did well in the first-half and what they need to do to improve in the second-half to come out with the victory. Dungy focused on New York’s first-half but more from the perspective of how Tom Coughlin, head coach for New York, should address his team at halftime to come back and beat New England. This was done perfectly by NBC by having two former Super Bowl Champions, one as a coach and one as a player, in Dungy and Harrison. These are two individuals who have been in that position before and are respected by viewers.

The popular Super Bowl halftime show was presented by Bridgestone and was headlined by Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A, and Cee Lo Green. As always, there were positive and negative opinions from viewers. The part of the performance worth discussing is how NBC handled the quick obscene gesture from M.I.A., which was seen by millions. If you were watching the show on TV, you might remember during the performance the screen went blurry for a few seconds. This was because of the gesture that was spotted. This is the second time a controversial image was seen on TV by viewers. In 2004, there was an incident with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. NBC did a poor job in this regard with the broadcast because, I believe, the show should have been delayed about five seconds in order to spot this sooner so viewers would not have seen the gesture from M.I.A. NBC apologized for the gesture, seen by millions, but it has still caused many advocacy groups to voice their opinions.

After the halftime show, there was a quick “keys to the second-half” by the analysts and Bob Costas talked about some important statistics regarding the recent meetings between New York and New England. Costas went into how the last three meetings between the teams have gone down to the final minutes and how he thinks the kickers might play a big part in the ending.

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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