The Life Lessons of Superbowl LIII

Feb. 5, 2019 :: Sara Barton

Superbowl LIII goes down as the lowest scoring Superbowl in history. Publically, it’s been called the most boring game of all time. When the question was posed was there ever a game more boring than this? Superbowl 48 (Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos) was mentioned as it was uneventful, with the Broncos barely scoring. I cleverly countered by saying that it taught us valuable lesson, never underestimate the power of a well-executed defense.

The first, the power of the WhoDatNation (Saints Fans). The injustice of the New Orleans Saints v L.A. Rams playoff game, caused by a missed call, lead to a lawsuit, then escalated when NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell didn’t address the situation in a timely fashion. In classic NOLA fashion, Saints fans channeled their frustration into a positive outlet. New Orleanians boycotted the Superbowl, by throwing an epic Anti-Superbowl Party, also known as, the “Boycott Bowl” causing a drastic drop down in TV ratings<1>.

As a Saints, fan myself, I had been looking forward to seeing the match up between Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Who wouldn’t want to the two GOATs’ (Greatest Players of All Time) who have defied age, (playing at 40 years old), go at it? It would have been a battle of epic strategic wits, Bill Belichick/Tom Brady v Sean Payton/Drew Brees. Nevertheless, this game will have to wait.

For the 1st time, I didn’t want to watch the Superbowl. As I scrolled through my iPhone, it was flooded by photos and videos of The Anti-Super Bowl Party. It looked like a good time. Unfortunately, living on the East Coast and going back to college didn’t give me the opportunity to attend.

This any given Sunday was hanging in uncertainty. After hearing that St. Mark’s Comics was closing, I paid a farewell visit; and bought comics at discount prices. Then I headed off to Bubbleology, which recently opens it’s first New York location. (As they say, it never hurt to have a backup plan).

When I got home, to my surprise, my Mom was watching the Superbowl. (She doesn’t share my passion for sports.) I took a page out of Drew Bree’s book. As a class act, his conduct during multiple interviews regarding the playoff debacle is a sight to behold.

“Do I really want to be in a position talking about this over and over again? No, but I have to stand up and do it because I have to represent my team, represent the ‘Who Dat nation,’ and that’s my responsibility.” – Drew Brees

I decided to demonstrate good sportsmanship and watch the rest of the Superbowl with my mom. Perhaps, it could be a beautiful family bonding moment? The Halftime Show was coming up; there would be a tribute to Steven Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants<2> Amidst it all, I tried to find the positive. Alas, like the Halftime Show, it was disappointing. (One day the football bug will bite my mom.)

The second, if you can manage to find the bright spots in a situation that continues to be utterly disappointing; then you’ve won. I found three.

3) Julian Edelman Wins MVP Award
The first time I saw Julian Edelman play was during Superbowl 49 (New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks). It was a fantastic game, lots of twists and turns; down to the wire. I remember the commentators mentioning that one day he’s going to win the MVP award. Guess what? He did, and it’s about time too! (Also, I’m a tad partial, because that game was one of the inspirations for my detective screenplay. One of the characters is NYPD Detective Lt. Derek Edelman. It’s a clever sports pun.)

2) Tony Romo, Sportscaster
Tony Romo was surprisingly delightful, he provided insight and much-needed humor making this game (almost) bearable. We know the memes, how Tony’s injuries kept postponing his NFL career. It’s incredibly frustrating. (I’d know. I’m currently preserving through my own.) When a door closes, a window opens. Good Luck, Mr. Sportscaster.

1) The NFL 100 Commercial
The Superbowl is famous for its commercials. Yes, there were some good ones this year, but, this one was pure gold! The funny one-liners, the legendary cameo appearances, including Joe Montana passing to cornerback, Deion Sanders (Primetime, struts his stuff baby!) In case your wondering, the young lady in the red dress is Utah Girls Tackle Football League running back and football activist, Sam Gordon. Is the NFL hinting that the future is female?

Bonus: Verizon’s “All Our Thanks” Commercial 
Verizon used this year’s Superbowl commercial to honor our nations 1st Responders. “The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here”- A series by Peter Berg. 12 NFL stars(11 players and 1 coach – NFL Head Coach, Anthony Lynn) owe their lives to first responders who answered the call. Go to  to watch all 12 inspiring and heartwarming videos. (See the full documentary on FIOS On Demand on February 8th.) Don’t forget to share the page and hashtag #AllOurThanks; Verizon will donate $1 to 1st responders<3>.

Bonus Life Lesson: Good Morning America(GMA) Interviews Cardi B.

Cardi B displayed wisdom well beyond her years. When ABC News’ T.J. Holmes, asked why she declined to perform at the Superbowl Halftime Show?<4> Her response was honest, sincere and deeply thoughtful. The mood broke when Cardi B’s natural charisma caused T.J., to blush and giggle. Her dignity and grace are reminiscent of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It’s a teachable moment. Life is full of tough decisions if you approach them with honesty, sincerity, and dignity; it will be OK.  Remember if something feels deeply conflicting and uncomfortable, then take it from Cardi B’s book, hold your head up high, say, “NO” and walk away.

<1>Saints fans sink New Orleans’ Super Bowl LIII overnight TV rating to historic low, per report  <>

<2>The tribute came following a petition that asked for the NFL to honor Steven Hillenburg, who passed away in 2018.

<3> Verizon partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation’s First Responder Outreach. Each time you help us recognize first responders by sharing #AllOurThanks on social media we’ll donate $1 to the foundation.

How the Gary Sinise Foundation supports first responders
The Gary Sinise Foundation serves our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. Through the Gary Sinise Foundation’s First Responder Outreach, they build specially adapted smart homes for severely injured heroes, as well as provide critical funding for emergency relief, training, and essential equipment to ensure these heroes perform to the best of their abilities.

<4> The short version: Cardi B, declined to perform at the Superbowl Halftime Show in solidarity of Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick began taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial injustice. He then found himself unsigned and is currently pursuing legal action against the NFL and its owners for preventing him from playing.


NFL and Fine Arts Project

On November 12, 2015, I saw the New York Jets play the Buffalo Bills, (Color Rush) at Met Life Stadium. Being an art student, I made my own fan gear. Then came a moment of inspiration, “Can I transform the NFL team logos into Fine Art Pieces?”

Thus, The NFL & Fine Arts Project was born.

Each Fine Arts piece is unique, reflecting the team’s history and individual style. The materials are simple, craft foam and recycled plastic; yet they delivery powerful symbolism.

I intended to make pieces for all 32 teams. So far, I’ve created pieces for the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, New Orleans Saints, and Seatle Seahawks.

Stay tuned! Watch as this project continues to grow.

The New York Jets


The inspiration for this design comes from the 1960’s cartoon show, “The Jetsons”.  I also wanted the design to reflect the time period. (ex. The Space Age, sci-fi fashion and the Jet age)  In addition, it turns out the 3 green dots represent the Jets winning Superbowl 3, but that’s a coincidence.

The Buffalo Bills


I believe that graphic design was on point with the original Bills logo. I loved the way it represents speed and power.  It also reminded me of the artist, Lyubov Popova. This piece is an homage that reflects the dynamic and simplicity of both artists. (Plus, it’s also intended to be recognizable by Bills fans)

The New Orleans Saints

The logo for the Saints is the fleur de lis (translated, fleur = flower and lis = lily) It’s most famously known as the French Royal Coat of Arms and a representation of the Holy Trinity. The fleur de lis has a great historic and religious significance. I felt it was important to find a unique way to showcase it.

This piece was inspired by the gold fleur de lis gate at the shrine for Our Lady of Czestochotwa at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s an aerial representation of this great historic & religious icon. The yellow circles are the lilies and the white ring and circle symbolize the strings that bind them. Of course, it’s in the teams respective colors.


The Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks team colors and their mascot are strongly associated with the ocean and marine life. So, it felt natural to give the piece an aquatic feel. It’s meant to resemble sea-glass. The 12 small circles represent the team’s hashtag ‪#‎weare12‬.

The green & blue strips can be read as 13/14, signifying the Seahawks 2013 Superbowl win and their return in 2014. (They lost to the New England Patriots, but it was a spectacular game.) However, this last part was unintentional.