It was “a little bit of an unusual game” in the first half of Super Bowl LII, according to NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth. For one, there were three missed kicks, two on extra-points, the latter considered virtually automatic in the league.
For another, the most-watched game of the year had a major glitch in the broadcast. During a commercial break in the second quarter, there was a 10-second to 15-second dark spot before returning to the game without a commercial. Given that NBC was getting $5 million for a 30-second spot, the glitch may result in a potential million-dollar revenue loss. The network attributed the glitch later to “equipment failure.”
Play-by-play man Al Michaels and Collinsworth did a thorough job, although their constant early referrals to “RPO,” for “run-pass option,” may have confused even veteran football watchers. Thankfully, they had a short explanatory interstitial, but not until well into the first quarter, when the phrase had been used several times.
One amusing note by the team: you could have gotten into the first Super Bowl at the Los Angeles Coliseum for $12. According to StubHub, the cheapest “get-in” price for 2018 was $3,100.
Michaels and Collinsworth also did a good job explaining why a hit on New England receiver Brandin Cooks was not a helmet-to-helmet personal foul. Cooks caught the ball and made a move, and thus was considered a runner. In that case, rules dictate he was not defenseless to the hit, even though he never saw the defender coming and was knocked woozy.
As for the game itself, the Eagles held the ball for most of the early first quarter, taking a 3-0 lead on a Jake Elliott field goal before Tom Brady even got to touch the ball. But the quarterback some call the Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T.) responded, driving his team down to tie the game 3-3 as Stephen Gostkowski made a 26-yard field goal.
Alshon Jeffrey set the crowd on fire, as the former Bear hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles, but the extra point was missed by Elliott, something that Michaels and Collinsworth surprisingly had little to say about. The Patriots returned the favor in the second quarter by botching a field goal attempt after a bobble by the holder, which resulted in the kick hitting the left upright.
In one highly unusual moment, Brady, not wearing tape and recovering from a hand gash, dropped a pass on a trick play where he was a receiver.
Former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Butler did not pkay on defense (he did play on special teams) and was shown weeping on the sideline. Collinsworth did not know why he was not playing defense, and had a nice quip that it was easier to get information out of East Germany during its Communist years than injury information from the Patriots.
Former Patriot LeGarrett Blount got a measure of payback against his former team, running for a 21-yard touchdown near the eight-minute mark. A two-point point-after-touchdown attempt failed. Blount had played for the Pats in the 2017 Super Bowl, but left as a free agent before this season.
Gostkowski booted a 45-yard field goal to cut the lead to 15-6 just before the half. Then New England running back James White scored on 26-yard run, but the extra point was missed, making it 15-12.
Just before the half, Eagles running back Corey Clement had a long reception that brought the ball down inside the 10. On fourth and goal, the Eagles pulled a trick play, throwing a pass to quarterback Nick Foles for a touchdown that extended their lead to 22-12 at half-time.