As everyone in the United States cannot help knowing, and as many people around the world cannot help puzzling over, today is an unofficial US national holiday known as Super Bowl Sunday. In Phoenix, Arizona, The Seattle Seahawks play football of a kind that is not soccer, against the New England Patriots for the championship of the National Football League. Multiple millions of dollars are spent on the gameand that’s just for commercials aired in the television broadcast.
In recent years, bowing to popular taste, the NFL has hired pop performers, mostly from rock and roll, to supply the Super Bowl’s halftime entertainment. The Nielsen ratings from last year’s Super Bowl XLVIII (or for those who prefer Arabic numerals, 48) show that the singer Bruno Mars set a record for halftime watching by attracting 115.3 million viewers. It has been decades since jazz artists have been invited to perform at the Super Bowl. Ella Fitgerald sang In 1972. Woody Herman sat in with the University of Michigan Marching Band in 1973. The 1975 halftime show was a tribute to Duke Ellington, who had died the year before. The late Al Hirt played several times over the years, as has his good friend Pete Fountain. Here is Fountain in the halftime extravaganza in 1990 at Super Bowl XXIV. Be patient; he shows up at 2:20.
The final score was San Francisco 55, Denver 10. No one is expecting that kind of blowout in today’s Seahawks-Patriots game. At this writing, kickoff in Phoenix is two-and-a-half hours away.
Later: Final score, New England 28, Seattle 24. Dejection overrules analysis. Suffice it to say that Seattle threw the game awayliterallyin the final moments.