Did record-setting Super Bowl live up to the hype?
Giants quarterback Eli Manning celebrates winning his second Super Bowl against the Patriots.
February 6th, 2012
11:39 AM ET

Did record-setting Super Bowl live up to the hype?

The Super Bowl set a new record for total viewers and simultaneous tweeting, with 12,233 tweets a second during the final three minutes of the game, that saw the Giants score and Tom Brady fail to hit the Hail Mary pass for the win.

The Super Bowl was watched by 111.3 million people, according to Nielsen, topping last year's game to secure the slot at the top for the most watched show in U.S. history.

And when you've got that many people watching and a virtual water cooler like Twitter, you don't have to wait until the next day to play Monday morning quarterback. It's more like the-second-after quarterback.

The total social media traffic for the Super Bowl and the hoopla surrounding it, taking into account Twitter mentions, public Facebook posts, GetGlue check-ins, and Miso check-ins, topped out at more than 17 million interactions, according to social media engagement company Trendrr. (67% of those tweets and posts were positive, a good sign for the league, and NBC.)

See the best tweets from the game

And what drove that? Perhaps a mix of the culture behind the Super Bowl itself, or maybe the clashing of two teams from places that couldn't despise each other more? Maybe it was the rematch of the last Super Bowl that Tom Brady admits he wishes he could forget? Or was it another unbelievable, just-barely-kept-it-inbounds catch by the Giants Mario Manningham to keep Big Blue alive in the waning minutes of the game?

Or, well, maybe it was Madonna.  We knew there'd be jokes about her age, there were the required "I hope she doesn't break a hip" tweets before she went on. And there were some flimsy parts were Madge looked as though she might have to eke out the rest of her performance.

Madonna's halftime: What's the verdict?

But there was also the expected will there be another "wardrobe malfunction?" I don't think there was an expectation that America would be flipped the bird by rapper M.I.A..

Whether you loved Madonna's mash-up heavy performance or absolutely deplored it, viewers said everything you thought about it, again sending Twitter into a frenzy.

And what about the ads? While many were met with lackluster response, and jokes in comparison to past games, there was one ad that really caught the attention of everyone.

CNNMoney.com: Watch a 2012 Super Bowl ad mash-up

And it made America's day thanks to Clint Eastwood, who, after the big, splashy halftime performance quieted living rooms across the country as he declared it was also halftime in America.
And dammit, it was time for America's second half, he declared with a patriotic spirit that almost rivaled the big game itself.

You can count on three things each year: There will be a play that will make people lose their minds, a halftime show performance that will divide the country and a slew of ads that make people either love or hate your company for a few days for the low, low price of millions of dollars for 30 seconds.

How about starting the game with a safety for starters? The godlike Tom Brady, making a key error inside the end zone on his first play of the game set the Patriots on a rough course. And nobody saw that coming, though if you did, as Twitter was kind to point out, you'd be a wealthy person this morning.

And then there was the final drive for Big Blue. As the jokes began flying that Giants were applying the "David Tyree" Velcro to their helmets, an ode to the unbelievable catch in the past match-up, Eli Manning connected with Mario Manningham for another brilliant last-drive play. Manningham seemingly pulled in a ball thrown high to the sideline and was able to keep both feet in bounds as he was pummeled by two Patriots players. The play sent people into a frenzy. Could the Giants actually pull off another win over the Patriots?

They could, and they did, with one of the strangest touchdowns ever seen.

Yes, I'm talking about the moment when the Patriots defensive line parted for Ahmad Bradshaw as the seconds ticked down and the Giants were driving for a go ahead score.

In the animated gif, courtesy of SB Nation, who called the play "probably the best moment of the game," you see Bradshaw pummeling towards the end zone when he realizes before he could stop, that maybe he should try to sit on the one-yard line so they could run out the clock, kick a field goal, and end the game.

Whoops. Too late.

Sure, you can blame Bradshaw for not thinking about it quickly, but it is kind of strange to be thinking: We should try not to score in the Super Bowl. Apparently Manning tried to pass on the advice, but it got to Bradshaw too late.

SI.com: Bradshaw's reluctant touchdown puts to rest unusual Super Bowl

So now, Brady had time for a comeback win.

But after the star quarterback marched his team down the field, he let one fly - and his team couldn't haul it in.

With the Hail Mary a failure, the Giants claimed victory with a score of 21-17 . Manning gets the role of hero, and Brady, well, let's just say that despite his record completions in a row, and a stellar game, losing is losing. And the Boston Globe skewered him for it.

One article reads:

"The legend is dead, the prince has turned back into a frog, and ... well, use whatever other cliché you want.

A performance as bad as Tom Brady's tonight in Super Bowl XLVI deserves a lead just as lame. Sorry, Tommy Boy, this one's on you. Your hideous performance led to the Giants' 21-17 Super Bowl title win. How embarrassing for your coach, your teammates, and your fans."

Apparently, that sentiment was something that Brady's wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, expected. But she seemingly wanted to make clear that even though New England ended with a loss, it wasn't because of her husband's lack of trying.

A video by TheInsider.com, posted on Boston.com, shows her making her voice heard to Giants fans that maybe were giving her a bit of a hard time.

“You [have] to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball,” she said in the video. “My husband cannot f–king throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.”

So, there you have it. Cheers, anger, parades, tirades, and everything we expected and didn't. So did the Super Bowl live up to the super hype? And what was your favorite part of the whole day? Which proved to be the biggest success in your mind? The game, the ads, or the halftime show? Let us known in the comments below.

soundoff (265 Responses)
  1. scott

    I love it that the underdog won I loved the halftime show.I loved the commercials.I loved it most that a supermodel wife showed her ugly side.

    February 7, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. teb

    It was kind of boring but okay! NFL is fixed so not much the other teams can do about it. Brady has played weak for months now so tell me, who's butt is he & bellichick kissing?

    February 7, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. rex edie

    too bad so many amerikans are more concerned with moronic sports events than....getting off their cans ...to do something about the government that will soon become their "slave masters".... but... i guess you reap what you sew...

    February 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11