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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/twitter/status/166378382660079618%5D

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?

[tweet https://twitter.com/twitter/status/166366481926455297%5D

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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/twitter/status/166366322295443456%5D

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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/brandydotclark/status/166330168066048000%5D

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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/FootballPost/status/166382881235668992%5D

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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/TheBlueScreen/status/166524409488752640%5D

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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/espn/status/166364169510191104%5D

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. NYYFan1

    It was a GREAT Game !! And my NY Giants came OUT ON TOP – 2011/2012 Super Bowl Champions !! Can't wait 'til the ticker tape parade here in NYC. Now with the NFL Season behind us, it's time to get ready for the 2012 MLB Season and my soon-to-be 28-Time World Series Champion New York Yankees !!

    February 6, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • nysuks

      sorry, but it was NOT a "great game' by any stretch! Neither team deserved to be there. Elisha is not an elite quarterback either. Boring, boring, boring..lame, lame, and LAME!

      February 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I can't possibly see how you could find that game "boring". The last play of the game, down to the final seconds, decided who the winner was! The score teeter-tottered between the two teams. On top of that, you had the seething rivalry between the Giants and the Pats.

      You may not have liked the outcome, but it was hardly a boring game.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • all pro sports are HYPE

      HYPE. No real "champions" like the teams of Joe Montana, Elway, etc. Nowadays, it's just a battle of attrition: which team screw up the least. Except for the Manningham pass and catch at the end, Eli wasn't particularly great. And the Giants was just fortunate to recover a couple of their fumbles. The Giants won because the Pats were worse and Brady lacks heart.

      February 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • comeon

      That game was extremely boring. I started watching American Dad after a while, and I can't stand that show. The real football game (ManU v Chelsea) that was on in the morning was far more exciting that the Super Bowl.
      And the Yankees aren't going to win the World Series. If they make it to the playoffs with their purchased roster, they will get knocked out by a superior AL Central or West team.

      February 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      It's not like Elway or Bradshaw never had bad days - even at the Super Bowl. Every team in existence has dropped a heartbreaking pass, fumbled and given the other team the leg up, etc. That's part of the game, too. Granted, Brady made a big mistake letting the Giants get a safety, and there were technical things like having too many players on the field that the teams should've gotten right, but you can't judge this Super Bowl by comparing it to "Inside The NFL" re-runs.

      February 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ialsoagree

      Peple who call this game boring are crazy. Easily one of the top 10 best super bowls of all time. And right there with it was the 2008 super bowl.

      I'm a Giants fan, so sure my opinion is biased, but very few super bowls are that hotly contested to the final seconds of the game. Very few have insane drives down the field in the final 3 minutes to score game winning points. And regardless of what team you route for or what sport, that is the essence of a great game!

      February 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • BoredUtahn

      The only fans that felt this game was great are the NY Giant fans, and NE fans are bitter. It wasn't great it was okay. The first 55 mins were very boring to watch. The last 5 mins were the only time in the game that I felt both teams had a sense of urgency. Compare this with the super bowl 4 years ago is laughable that one was truly a great game on of the best super bowls of all time. The AFC and NFC championship games were far better than this final game of the season. This is one of those forgettable super bowls unless you are a Giants/Patriots fan. Nest year I hope that both teams come out and play hard all 60 mins (like last year).

      February 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • shamsky24

      sorry, but it was NOT a "great game' by any stretch! Neither team deserved to be there. Elisha is not an elite quarterback either. Boring, boring, boring..lame, lame, and LAME!

      Lame pretty much somes it up for your idiotic rant. Eli and the Giants are world champions, so deal with it. Now go brush your tooth, you jealous trailer-park boob.

      February 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      >Eli and the Giants are world champions

      Sorry, I’m afraid not. its more or less a NATIONAL sport. Hype hype and more hype.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. paulc

    It was a great game but....it was only a football game and certainly not worth the hype and expense.
    People act as if they were actually on the team.....WE won! Huh?

    February 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      TO Paulc OK quit being so butt hurt about your team not being in the game. of course you say we won if its your team. Because if you love football thats your team. So please I'm not even a giants fan and that game was SPECTACULAR. There was never a dull moment, Nail biting seat edging beer throwing food chowing type of game. It was a really fantastic superbowl

      February 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      @ paulc
      I agree these people are pathetic to get so worked up over a ball game.

      @Ben
      You assume paulc has a team. That in of itself is failed logic for defense of a kid’s game gone out of control. I don’t have a team.. The game and sport are just hype for people with nothing better in their lives. Fanatics are fail regardless of venue.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    It lived up to my expectations. While the indoctrinated were eating hot wings and watching from pre-game to post-game, I got some shopping done. Driving on empty streets is always a pleasure.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • snc735

      I did too!

      February 7, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      I didn’t do any shopping but I enjoyed having the road to myself. Makes riding my motorcycle so much more fun not having to constantly dodge fools in SUVs and Minivans babbling away on their cell phones.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Drew Bledsoe

    I'm no Brady fan, but people who are blaming him for the loss don't know jack about football. If Welker makes that catch that's the ball game. Sure it would've been a tough catch, but the Giants WRs didn't have any problems making tough catches. Woodhands and Hernandez both dropped perfect passes on the last drive too. Congrats to Eli though, for winning TWO rings against the same team that has owned his overrated brother.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deena Garcia

      Drew if you had a 10th of Peytons talent and hard work you might have been a decent player

      February 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NYGATLFAN

    One of the best Super Bowls ever! I felt the Giants could pull it off and what a final TD-stop and sit down inside to make it
    a final TD for the Giants. Brady got the ball again and it could have been a wild catch in the end zone, but Eli's troops proved victorious. Amazing!

    February 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • comeon

      One of the morst boring Super Bowls ever!

      February 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Zebon

    The ads were weak this year. The halftime show as usual was a big let down. However, the game was one of the best in Super Bowl history. With the exception of the last one these two played in 07-08 I can't remember a closer game. At no point in the game did one team really have it in the bag. As expected, it came down to the end of the 4th quarter, and last minute heroics by a QB who has had so many questions marks around him. Why? He's done this before. Oh and and it once again proves that NY > Boston. Period.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • snc735

      yup, a football game declares the city of ny to be better than boston. lol.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Portland tony

    The Super Bowl is nothing but hype. Over the years a championship football game has become a media frenzy. Almost an American holiday. Probably more important to the American Psyche than all the non religious holidays put together. Let there be hype...but it's not about football.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. VILTOR

    Game was great, ads sort of stunk except for Clint Eastwood and haltime was ridiculous.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. elenem

    The game was great. I do take exception with "Drew Blesdoe's comment that Peyton Manning is overrated. I think he may have been (notice the past tense for now) the greatest play caller every.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BeverlyNC

    It never is. It is just a football game where ridiculous amounts of money are spent to promote junk food, cars, and alcohol. It's a field of multi-millionaires playing a game run by multi-millionaires. Too bad people don't care this much about education, our shortage of teachers, crumbling schools, and a generation who will walk into the world with no skills for a liveable wage job. These obscene-paid players are temporary and will be forgotten in a few years. Education determines the permanent future of our country. Why not donate half the wasted hype money of this football game to something real and important – our children's education.
    Didn't watch. Don't care. I prefer high school football and college basketball.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • elenem

      BeverlyNC, you're right about education and, in my opinion, what the players are paid. But it's the owners who make the most. And it's fun to watch ... like any NFL game.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • TRouble

      Bev – Sounds like you could use a beer and relax a little bit. And you sound like an educated person so surely you know there is no correlation between more money spent on education and better results, right? We need to do a better job busting unions and holding teachers accountable for results. As far as I'm concerned I will continue to spend some of the money I EARN on pro sports as great entertainment and drama. Of which several players will never be forgotten, and instead, immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I can't think of why such a hater would bother to post here anyway. By the way – many of those college player's you like are getting a free ride because of their talent so I'm not sure how you justify supporting them in your mind for someone who tries to sound so principled?

      February 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      Cheap bread and circus lives in the new Rome...

      February 6, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      @BeverlyNC
      I completely agree. But try telling that to these fanatics and all you get a grunts and a bit of stomping.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. DDALLAS

    The only people that enjoyed that debacle were – NY Giants fans, the people having to call the game and the lame NFL execs who thought that Madonna would be the best half-time option. I think generally speaking the nation thought that was the worst game and presentation ever – BORING!!!!

    February 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • elenem

      Ddallas, you're wrong. It was a fine game (I'm a Madonna fan so I enjoyed the halftime show) and some of the ads (but not enough) WERE amusing. If you were bored, don't say that was true of most of the country, 'cuz it just ain't so.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Were you watching the same game I was?

      Granted, I turned off the game during the halftime show, because I *expect* it to be lame, but the game itself was amazing. Two rivals going after each other and taking the lead back and forth. Some *great* catches and heartbreaking misses, and a last-second play that could have reversed the outcome, if it had gone the Pats' way.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • comeon

      @elenem
      I thought it was extremely boring. Madonna was lip syncing the whole halftime show and the ads were dull – especially the Doritos ones.
      @Brian
      The lead only changed hand twice. If you thought that was amazing, you need to go out and live a little.

      February 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • TRouble

      Dude, you're way off! I wasn't really rooting too much for either team, but the game was great! Very entertaining. And after last year's Black Eyed Peas performance, which really was one of the worst ever, I was very happy with the show Madonna put on. It was dramatic, well choreographed, fun and energetic. I was most disappointed in the commercials, which weren't terrible, but have been much better in years past. Overall though, what a great night of entertainment. We really enjoyed it and I'm happy for Eli and NY!

      February 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      What was actually impressive about the changes in the score was the length of the drives that led up to them - one of which tied a Super Bowl record. These were long, hard slogs on both sides.

      If you're the type of person who likes to see 80 yard pass completions every other play and scores like 84-80, well, then you'd be disappointed. But there was a lot to like about two rivals going at it, and there were quite a few interesting twists.

      One such twist: It would've been a very different game if the Giants hadn't gotten that safety on the Patriots' first possesion. All else being equal, all the Patriots would've needed to win the game would've been a field goal, which they could've easily gotten before their time ran out.

      February 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rob

    Though my team didn't win I would say it was the best super bowl in 10 years.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RUFFNUTT ( south Yemen prison GUARD )

    UM... the halftime show was lame. it was like watching my neighborlady next door that is like 50+ years old...
    .
    granny panties are gross..

    February 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sean

    I felt that, while the game was entertaining, neither side really had the feel of an incredibly amazing team. BOTH teams had entire plays where they had 12 guys on the field, and this wasn't the "caught in the act of running off the field" type. Anyone saying Brady was horrible is simply just a hater, as he made a record 16 completed passes in a row and though he threw an INT and made a mistake to start the game, if a few catchable passes weren't dropped he'd have another ring and probably have been the MVP; this even with a shoulder that was likely injured from Tuck's sack of him. Before the sack, his numbers were 20-24, 201 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 141.9 QB rating - that was the HIGHEST EVER QB rating in a Superbowl to that point! Eli's last drive was, as advertised, incredible and controlled, though to anoint him as the new God of QBs or an "Elite" is premature – that takes years of success and when they were 6-7 this year and all of last year, he was considered okay to solid, depending on who you asked. Seriously, Tebow has a higher win-loss ratio this year than Eli, and arguably you could say that with the same team there are a handful of quarterbacks who would have done much better overall this year than Eli; Cam Newton, for instance. I'm not saying he's not good and may not be one of the future "elite" QBs, but let's not water-down the term. If you really believe Brady sucked and Eli is a God, try putting Brady on the Giants, Manning on the Pats, and seeing what the results would have been.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • shamsky24

      Eli's last drive was, as advertised, incredible and controlled, though to anoint him as the new God of QBs or an "Elite" is premature

      Eli Manning is one of five quarterbacks in NFL history (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Dan Marino and Brett Favre are the others) to throw for more than 20 TDs and 3000 yards passing for seven consecutive seasons. He's one of only five players to win multiple Super Bowl MVP awards, the only QB in history to throw for 15 fourth quarter TD passes in a season, and the only one in history to engineer two game-winning fourth quarter drives in two different Super Bowls.
      I hardly think it's "watering down" the term to suggest that a QB with more rings than Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees is worthy of "elite" status. But you really lost me with your remarks about Cam Newton - do you really believe that an untested rookie on a mediocre 6-10 team, a guy who has never played in one NFL game that could even remotely be considered crucial, could have stepped up and run the kind of playoff gauntlet that Eli Manning went through this season? And the implied comparison of Manning to Tim Tebow was just silly and insulting.

      If you really believe Brady sucked and Eli is a God, try putting Brady on the Giants, Manning on the Pats, and seeing what the results would have been.

      Well, we've already seen the results when Eli has faced off against Brady while playing with a supposedly weaker supporting cast. Why would anyone believe he'd fare any less well with a more talented team behind him?

      February 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NYCMovieFan

    The game was great – hey, when the score is not even close, that's a bad game. The score last night was close to the very last second, so these 2 teams were very well matched. What is concerning is the fact that the Patriots side – coach, players, and hangers-on – have been so lacking in grace and style in defeat. Quite the opposite, they have been rude and nasty. The tradition of the losing team congratulating the winning team is a good one – and a correct one. One that we need to pass along to the kids. So where are the Patriots' manners? Where is their sportsmanship? Completely missing so far, and that is a BIG sign of what is wrong with them. Sportsmanship is what wins in the end, not trash talking or being in the gossip pages. Well done to the Giants for winning the game, and for being gracious to the losing team, well done!

    February 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
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