The Super Bowl is a national celebration that often reflects controversies and debates beyond football, including on education. Super Bowl LI was no different. Here are the top five education-related features and moments of Super Bowl Sunday:
1. Pam Oliver on High School Football in Texas
You might be forgiven if you didn’t watch every minute of Fox Sports’ four-and-a-half hour Super Bowl pregame show. So, you may have missed this report by Pam Oliver about the importance of high school football in Texas. (That’s something, as I have noted, that I used to cover.)
2. NFL Hall of Famers from HBCUs honored
Although the Fox Sports website doesn’t have a separate video clip, the game itself was immediately preceded by a tribute to NFL Hall of Fame members who attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs. It was up there among touching moments with the appearance on the field by former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush to participate in the coin toss.
3. Honda “Yearbooks” Commercial
Honda’s “Yearbooks” ad was a great concept showing real celebrities in their real yearbook photos coming to life to tell future generations to stick to their dreams. Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Amy Adams, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Steve Carrell, Missy Elliott, Stan Lee, Jimmy Kimmel, and Viola Davis appear, with Davis saying, “The point is, all dreams are within reach. All you have to do is keep moving towards them.” Too bad the ad wasn’t for something more prosaic than a new model of a light SUV. The ad finished in second place in USA Today’s annual ad meter ranking of all the commercials (behind Melissa McCarthy’s “Hero’s Journey” environmentalist ad for Kia).
4. 84 Lumber “The Journey Begins” Commercial
During halftime, 84 Lumber ran part of its immigration-related spot, “The Journey Begins.” It was the only part that Fox and the NFL would allow, since it was reported before the game that the full ad was deemed too political. The ad features a Latino mother and a young girl on a trek to the U.S. border. The TV version ends after 1 minute, 30 seconds, with a message directing viewers to the web for the full six-minute version. (Rolling Stone reported that the website crashed.) The mother and daughter’s journey ends at the U.S. border, where they are confronted by a wall. But after a few moments they find a door, which opens to allow them into the country as the tagline airs: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.” Here is the full version:
5. Audi “Daughter” Commercial
In this 3rd quarter spot, “Daughter,” a father watching his daughter compete with boys in a Soapbox Derby-type race wonders what he should tell her about gender inequities in America. “Do I tell her that her grandpa’s worth more than her grandma? That her dad is worth more than her mom? Do I tell her that despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued less than every man she ever meets?” The girl wins the race, and the dad says, “Or maybe, I’ll be able to tell her something different.” The spot finished 3rd overall in USA Today’s Admeter.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.