Super Bowl LV was a monumental event for one reason and one reason only: it happened.
Sure, Tom Brady’s indefatigable right arm was MVP, but to pull off the country’s most watched event without compromising production quality – mid global pandemic – was truly an epic feat.
The game… meh. While the game itself wasn’t super memorable, here are some moments we won’t soon forget:
The Triple Bomber Flyover
The Air Force executed the first ever Super Bowl flyover featuring all three of its bombers, including America’s oldest bomber, the B-52H, which has been in service longer than the Big Game has been played.
Extreme precision was required to execute the tight flyover over Raymond James Stadium, timed perfectly to coincide with the final note of the Star-Spangled Banner. It was one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments, and utterly flawless.
Fun fact: the three bombers’ aircraft designations add up to 55 (B-1, B-2 & B-52), which is why, despite the pandemic complications, the tribute had to happen this year.
The Super Bowl Streaker Who Made Bank
With five minutes left on the game clock, a 31-year-old man dressed in a hot pink, atomic-wedgie-style one-piece bared his ass, ran like the wind, and netted $374,000. WHAT? Read on.
Yuri Andrade had a plan. He had a friend place a $50,000 bet that there would be a streaker at the Super Bowl, and then convinced another buddy to “fake” a streak of his own, in order to allow Andrade the opportunity to slip past security.
Unburdened by the weight of clothing, and surprisingly nimble, Yuri Andrade juked one security guard out of his shoes before finishing his 100-yard dash with a triple tackle in the end zone.
Though live footage quickly cut to commercial, Andrade’s streak was immortalized on the interwebs and Twitter, providing the proof needed to collect his cash.
And in true idiot fashion, he bragged about his plan, resulting in serious questions whether he will actually get paid the big bucks for his cheeky stunt, or fade away into obscurity as a naked dude with a big mouth and 15-minutes of fame.
The Un-Centered Stage
It took place in the center of the game, but not in the center of the stadium. This year’s Super Bowl halftime show was the first to NOT be held completely at center field with an impressive 6-minute setup time.
Due to COVID safety measures, 15-year Super Bowl halftime veteran planner Bruce Rogers and his team at Tribe, Inc., were only allowed to use one tunnel onto the field. So, they decided to build the stage in the stands – and make it 3x bigger.
The elaborate stage they designed over the north end-zone concourse still had to have two modes: Game Time and Half Time. Even though only 20% of the stadium seats were filled with real people (yes, we have to specify that, as a majority of the seats housed cardboard cutouts of fans), those real people still had to use the 3 existing fire aisles for bathroom breaks and concession runs.
During Game Time, the set was covered with game graphics by Blue Media, had open aisles for guests, had clear sightlines to the field, and embedded an important CBS sideline camera.
In Half Time mode, the aisles were filled with decks, locking in several upstage decks and light carts. Lights and audio were positioned, and rail cams, tower cams and three cable cams came forward for the critical story-telling shots.
The Weeknd’s Year Long Story
Storytelling is very important to The Weeknd, and in the year since he released his most recent album, After Hours, he’s been showing up to major events bruised, bloodied and bandaged in more and more extreme versions of what he refers to as “The Character.”
He explained his year-long antics:
“The significance of the entire head bandage is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated,” The Weeknd said. “It’s all a progression, and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.”
The bandaged face theme did fit flawlessly into the coronavirus safety measures for the many, MANY backup dancers – each of them completely masked as they took up the entire football field for the final number.
“Our goal was to find a way to present an exciting show…and to not necessarily bow down to the COVID monster,” said Bruce Rogers.
All things considered, they nailed it.