By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Feb 05, 2018 at 12:46 PM

Hello to all you people who called in "sick" this morning with a crazy case of the "flu." (Hey, no judgment here; where do you think I'm writing this from?) Last night, America gathered together to watch the biggest sporting event of the year, the biggest music event of the year and the biggest pop culture event of the year. 

And while we had a lot of fun mocking the big game before kickoff for how much of a strugglefest watching it would be, we're happy to announce that we were wrong. Super Bowl LII ended up an all-timer, with the Eagles defeating the Patriots, 41-33. 

But who really won the night? And who really lost? (The Patriots did. They super lost really bad. I can't wait to say this for an entire year.) From the ads to the halftime show to the game itself, here are the real winners and losers of Super Bowl LII. 

Winner: America

Somewhere, a thinkpiece writer is hitting his 2,000th word on what it means that the most hated team in America is called the Patriots, decked out in red, white and blue. My office, however, is not that place, because I'm too busy slicing up every piece of paper in sight into confetti and chucking it out my window like we just won World War II again.

After our collective national nightmare last year, we finally got to watch the Patriots lose and watch a team win that knows joy, hasn't been implicated with cheating on multiple occasions and wouldn't just slot this great achievement into its bookshelf marked "decent work." Apparently, we've been sending seahawks and falcons to do an eagle's job. 

Loser: Tom Brady

Sure, he threw for an insane 505 yards and three touchdowns, but people will remember that as much as they remember Julio Jones' incredible catch last year. Instead, they'll recall the alligator arms on a wide open trick play that had Gisele regretting her choice of words back in 2012. Or the strip sack that basically ended the game, followed by Brady's best impression of a sad boy in a sandbox. But hopefully, the most indelible image for this day of failure will be his pregame outfit that made him look like several boys in a trench coat trying to pass as a grownup. 

This is the way a dynasty ends – not with a bang, but with a "Bojack Horseman" reference.

Winner: Nick Foles

It seems only fitting that Tom Brady's reign ends (I'm going to keep saying it until it's true!) with relinquishing the crown to a fellow underdog story. A month ago, Nick Foles was a backup quarterback trying to keep hope alive for Philadelphia after its star, Carson Wentz, was done for the year. Now, after his second miraculous run as a starting quarterback, he's NFL royalty with a Super Bowl win, game MVP trophy and cult status in Philly cemented. Speaking of, let's quick check in on Philadelphia ... 

Loser: Philadelphia

Oh dear. 

Oh man, don't do that. 

See, that's why you don't do that. 


As far as maiden runs for The Purge go, I suppose this could've gone worse. 

Winner: Philadelphia

Admit it, you wish you were there right now. Milwaukee, when we finally win a championship again, promise me we'll lose our minds, too – like melt down the Bronze Fonz in a massive communal "Wicker Man"-esque celebration before riding the Milwaukee Art Museum wings like Falkor in "The Never-Ending Story."

Loser: Kevin Hart

Sorry, Kevin Hart, but you need to be at least this tall to go on this ride. At least he handled the  rest of the night gracefully ...

Winner: Doug Pederson 

I'll say it: I had no idea who the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles was entering tonight's game. But even if you knew of Pederson – whether as a football fan or as somebody with a photographic memory of Brett Favre's backup quarterbacks – you probably didn't think of him as some great football strategist.

That's done now. Pederson, in just his second year as a head coach, out-managed The Great Hoodie, refusing to cede when so many other teams in the past did (and failed) and pulling out the kind of clever, perfectly executed trick plays that you'd expect Belichick to summon from his book of spells playbook. Who knew? Well, everyone now.

Loser: The graphics guy at NBC

Listen, I'm no Tom Brady fan (I'm not sure if that came across fully before) but even I think whoever put together those PS1 body doubles was being rude. 

Winner: Selfie Kid

Congratulations, we have our Left Shark of Super Bowl LII. Meet Selfie Kid, who took a selfie with Justin Timberlake as he raced into the seats ... and then spent the end of the show blank-faced texting as though he was so confused that a concert had broken out in the middle of his game. 

Loser: Justin Timberlake

Much like Coldplay's set from a few years ago, Justin Timberlake's halftime show was doomed before it even started, pre-dunked on thanks to a combination of The Ghost of JT Super Bowl Performance's Past as well as The Ghost of Crappy New JT Albums Present. And much like Coldplay's pre-derided show, Timberlake wasn't bad. You could have worse catalogues to go through than JT's poppy hits, and his boy band dance moves still entertain.

But if you're going to nix spectacle – no giant lion a la Katy Perry – do the singing, dancing, do-everything showman act, you better bring the entire show, and from the opening in a claustrophobic club filled with selfie-snapping cell phones in the air (because the best way to start a show is with everyone's least favorite part of a concert) that fill-the-stage energy wasn't there. Neither was the singing portion of the job description – not entirely his fault since his audio seemed very low in the mix, giving the prerecorded backing vocals center stage. It felt like a small show on the biggest stage – and one that made me question if Justin Timberlake alone is enough, if maybe he is a better tandem performer, an SNL cast member rather than a room-filling star (at least in 2018).

The past and present may have haunted him into the stadium, but after this middling but fine performance, it's the future – that his role's been usurped by the likes of Bruno Mars – that should worry JT on the way out. 

Oh, and let's not talk the Prince bit. All that needs to be said is that the star of "Shazaam" did not approve.

Winner: Tide

At first, I wasn't sure how to take Tide's "Everything's A Tide Commercial" campaign. The first ad was amusing and funny, but I wasn't sure if the message would stick. But then another ad snuck in. And then "Stranger Things" star David Harbour's voice chimed in about Tide right after a commercial break. And by the time he was dancing around as last year's infamously sexy Mr. Clean, I was in love.

The overall campaign was insanely clever (and probably insanely expensive) and Harbour's dry, unamused repetition that this, indeed, was actually a Tide commercial became the night's best punchline – in the ad breaks as well as over the beloved Twitter-sphere. I guess I have to eat crow for my early doubts ... or worse yet, a Tide pod. 

Loser: Dodge

I mostly disliked the emotional plea ads this year. The second biggest laugh of the night, behind the Patriots officially losing, came when Hyundai unveiled its "hope detectors," complete with big red hearts. But that seemed tasteful next to Dodge using a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech to sell me a Ram truck. "I have a dream ... that we will all be united in a Hemi-powered pickup that seats seven comfortably." Gross, Dodge. 

Winner: Netflix's "The Cloverfield Paradox"

Even since rumors came out around Sundance that Paramount's buzzed-about sci-fi thriller "God Particle" would be actually a Netflix release, I've been dreading the official word. And last night, it arrived – with a unexpected "The Cloverfield Paradox" trailer in the second quarter announcing that it existed and a second trailer at the end of the game declaring it already available for consumption. 

As much as I hate that a "Cloverfield" movie was robbed of the theatrical experience, I have to call this a win for Netflix. For at least an hour, I and most of Twitter was aflutter about this suddenly brand new movie (with an A-plus cast and J.J. Abrams signature) that would be in our digital hands in less than a few hours.

But this could be a short-lived victory for Netflix, as anybody who's watched the movie knows. (What's being sold as a "revolutionary" release is actually just a glossed-up version of what we used to call "dumping a movie direct-to-DVD.") And while Netflix had buzz and views – how many we'll never know, since they don't release them – for a night, the balloon is already deflating. It's a win for now, but with this and "Bright," Netflix shouldn't exactly be thrilled about its growing title as Hollywood's ventilation system for quickly airing out especially stinky turds. 

Loser: Australia's "Dundee" fake movie ad

Hey, you know that fake "Dundee" reboot trailer starring Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth that everybody figured was fake as soon as it premiered? Turns out it was fake. Go figure. Now that the "mystery" is solved, we can go riddle ourselves with the real question: Since Australia's accidentally done all the marketing, promotion and casting, what studio is going to ACTUALLY want to make "Dundee"?

Winner: "Westworld"

It was cool enough to get a look at season two of HBO's powerhouse sci-fi thriller – but it's coming back in APRIL already?! With a whole mess of piano Kanye covers this time?! All hail our new robot buffalo overlords!

Loser: The blackout

For about 10 seconds, the screen went silent and black due to "an equipment failure," according to NBC. Or was it just a Tide ad?

Winner: Donald Glover in "Solo"

Oh hey, Disney finally got around to selling its Han Solo prequel movie. After finally getting eyes on some footage, I'm still not convinced this needs to exist – and even less convinced it needs to exist without Lord/Miller's idiosyncratic ability to turn bad ideas into bright, smart entertainment.

Once again, this Star Wars Story that promised to show different angles and tones in the Star Wars universe sure looks and feels just like any other Star Wars movie, and as much as I love Alden Ehrenreich (watch "Hail, Caesar!" please) he sure seems uncomfortable filling in that massive vest.

But you know who looks comfortable as hell?

The odds of this becoming more of a Young Lando movie than a Young Solo grow larger every day. But you know what Han always says about the odds. 

Loser: Beer ads

Budweiser paid $5 million to brag about donating less than that amount to charity, so mark that down as a miss. Michelob Ultra had a clever idea – setting up Chris Pratt as a very dedicated extra before showing the final product later on – but waited too long after the set-up for the punchline ad for it to make a real impact. 

And ... god damn Dilly, Dilly. 

Never mind that this is an ad campaign based around a tyrant who tortures and imprisons people because his subjects don't bring him enough of his favorite bilge water. I'm still confused about how a king runs out of Bud Light when he has a wizard who can turn literally anything into Bud Light ... which I imagine would include that rival army. Yes, I'm complaining about a lack of plot consistency in a beer ad. Capitalism is weird that way. 

The only thing worse is just knowing that CBS will turn this into a three-camera half-hour sitcom in about five months. 

Winner: The NFL

Throughout the entire Super Bowl, the NFL kept threatening to NFL all over it. Brandin Cooks' concussion brought the game to an early, eerie silence, and not once but twice the impenetrable catch rule was dragged out onto the big stage, ready and eager to ruin all of America's fun and turn a fun game into a tedious debate about whatever the hell control technically looks like. 

Instead, Super Bowl LII wound up a classic, a high-scoring and high-energy affair with trick plays and dramatic moments and underdog heroes rebelling against a hated empire. We've been blessed to have some damn exciting Super Bowls over the last decade or two. Objectively speaking, last year's edition was probably the better game – but this one came with a better ending, for fans and for famed Patriots fan Roger Goodell. 

The NFL even had the night's best ad. 

Damn, even when Eli's not playing, he still comes out on top of the Patriots at the Super Bowl.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.