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The Best, Wildest and Weirdest Moments of Super Bowl 53

It got good right near the end

Amanda Bell

Whether you tuned into Super Bowl LIII to root for the Patriots or the Rams or just check out some rad commercials, chances are, you probably expected to count more points on the scoreboard before it was all said and done. But while the game itself might not have been the most eventful NFL event to ever grace our screens, there were still quite a few standout moments throughout the evening.

Let's take a look at the most interesting moments of Super Bowl 53.

Peyton Manning got dunked on, first thing. CBS Sports' opening ad featured John Malkovich bringing his thespian might to a very different screen than usual as he yelled at Peyton Manning about the needlessness of his grand idea to rent out the Colosseum (the one in Rome, Italy, not Georgia) for a big Super Bowl ad. Manning doesn't get enough credit for his deadpanning, to be honest, and it was the first of many good (and bad) ads to make it to air during this year's big game.

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The intro music was amazing. This R&B sister duo Chloe x Halle, who also appear on grown-ish, harmonized like nobody's business and infected the place with some serious electricity. Then, Gladys Knight came along to show everyone how it's done with her elegant "Star-Spangled Banner" performance. All three of these women are from Atlanta and brought some serious hometown spirit in their showcases.


That SpongeBob SquarePants tribute was sweet and wonderfully weird. No matter what you thought of Maroon 5's halftime show, Adam Levine at least resisted the temptation to lip sync his way through the show. More importantly, though, the show finally recognized SpongeBob Squarepants' performance of "Sweet Victory" during the Bubble Bowl. The clip was from a 2001 episode, and the reason it's finally gotten some love from the Super Bowl is (probably) that, following creator Stephen Hillenburg's death in late 2018, over a million fans petitioned for the show to include his beloved show at long last.

There were some pop culture ads that had our heads spinning. Between Game of Thrones' The Mountain popping into a Bud Light commercial, of all things, and Jordan Peele making everyone question their reality with that well-coordinated promo spot for The Twilight Zone, the Super Bowl ads that gave us whiplash were definitely the most exciting ones of all.

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Everyone started falling asleep in the third quarter. Super Bowl LIII started out exciting enough, with a few unexpected turnovers and even a missed field goal attempt! But anyone who expected this to be a high-scoring game, or for the Patriots to barrel off with an insurmountable lead right out of the gate was probably pretty disappointed. Apart from that field goal by the Rams to breathe some life back into the big game, this one was shockingly slow through and through, and social media reacted accordingly as the game inched toward the final minutes without much doing at all on the scoreboard.

Finally, someone scored a touchdown. Tom Brady knows how to turn things around at the very last minute, and this Super Bowl was no exception. Nearly halfway through the fourth quarter, he started finding receivers in Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, and finally, finally something started happening on the field when Sony Michel scored the first touchdown of the night with 7:00 to go in the game.


The Rams shut themselves down. Shortly after the Pats scored, the Rams seemed prime to answer. They carved their way up the field and caught a clutch pass. The team started looking alive! But then one dropped catch in the end zone turned all momentum on its head, and the Rams turned the ball over at the 3 yard line with four minutes left on the clock. After that, all that Patriots had to do was keep possession long enough to run that clock out, avoid any stupid penalties, and watch as the Rams missed the uprights on their final field goal effort. Whaddya know, Tom Brady has another ring.

And lastly, a CBS sports reporter nearly got trampled in a press scrum. Put this in the "low-light" column: Tracy Wolfson, a CBS Sports Reporter and CBS Sports Network host, got practically trampled in the minutes after the game ended, as reporters pushed and shoved their way to Brady. Though she's a seasoned pro who's no stranger to this atmosphere and the force of bodies on the field was impossible to contain, it was nonetheless disappointing to see her -- one of, if not the only female professionals there -- get veritably pummeled by guys jockeying to get to Brady. Do better boys!