BarcelonaBlack Power has reached the NFL, the league that not so long ago punished some of its players, like Colin Kaepernick, because they wanted to denounce racism in the United States. In the first Super Bowl final in history with two quarterbacks blacks, the Kansas City Chiefs won the NFL tonight for the third time in their history, prevailing in a close game over the Philadelphia Eagles (38-35). It’s the Chiefs’ second title in four years, with a gutsy display from injured Patrick Mahomes. If the quarterback the Chiefs put all their heart into it, the show was put on by Rihanna. The Barbados-born singer, after almost five years without performing, has impressed in the break with her performance.
This was Rihanna’s Super Bowl, indeed. The Caribbean singer has returned through the big door, illuminated atop a platform hanging from the sky. Flashing red, it impressed with a futuristic show, with platforms more than 20 meters above the ground where drones allowed to follow what the dancers were doing moving in the Arizona sky. If the match has been exciting, Rihanna’s show has blown the imagination of Caribbean fans, those who have been waiting for years for her to tour again. When it was confirmed that Rihanna was agreeing to perform at the Phoenix Stadium, she became more talked about than the Chiefs or Eagles players. And Rihanna did not disappoint, accompanied by a large group of dancers dressed in white.
In the past Rihanna had not wanted to perform at the Super Bowl. In 2018, he declined to do so as a protest measure, since the NFL had done nothing to protect the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the American national anthem to protest racism and ended up not being able to continue playing in the NFL. But in 2019, the NFL signed a contract with rapper Jay-Z’s company to handle halftime shows. A company that also represents Rihanna, of course. One of the consequences has been that artists of musical styles more popular among the African-American community have been seen at halftime, in a sport in which the cliché usually says that conservative people are in charge. In fact, the match was played with anti-racist messages prominently displayed behind branded areas.
And if Beyoncé and Shakira had already shone in recent years, this year it was Rihanna’s turn, who agreed to perform a few months after becoming a mother. During the concert, she touched her stomach a few times, in a gesture that seemed to mean that she is expecting a second child. This was confirmed by his representation agency shortly after. “I get to act on behalf of immigrants. Representing my country, Barbados. Representing black women everywhere. I think that’s really important. That’s key for people to see the possibilities that we have. And I’m honored to be here.” he had said in advance. To keep everyone happy, the US national anthem has been covered by country artist Chris Stapleton.
The more than 63,000 people in the stadium, including Paul McCartney and LeBron James, watched as Rihanna kicked off with a version of Bitch, better have my money. The Caribbean has sung hits like Where have you been, Only girl (in the world), We found love o Diamonds. And the version ofUmbrella, of couse. She has done it alone, without guest artists, despite performing some tracks she had published with travel companions such as Drake or Jay-Z. In total, there were 12 songs in 13 minutes alone, a declaration of intentions, an opportunity to assert herself as a mother, a Caribbean woman and the daughter of migrants. Rihanna was provocative in her movements, confident in her voice and impeccable in her control of a scene that went up and down. And up there, 20 meters away, he finished his show, with a laugh typical of someone who knows he’s done the job right. Model Cara Delevingne summed up the sentiment of many people with a T-shirt that read “Football game interrupts Rihanna’s concert.”
But it must be said that the match was also top-level. Rihanna’s show has served to separate two very different parts, if we talk about sports. If the first was a matter of the Philadelphia Eagles, in the second Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs have resurfaced. If Rihanna has claimed migrant women of color, the first Super Bowl in history with two quarterbacks negres has been magnificent. This fact had never happened, just as it had never happened that there was a brother on the field on every team, the Kelces. The mother of two players has worn a split jersey, half Chiefs and half Eagles. It was necessary to have the party in peace.
Mahomes carries the reputation of being destined to be one of the biggest names in the NFL. Destined to be the heir to Tom Brady, who just retired at 45 and seven championship rings. Mahomes, with 27, has already won two. This year, however, he arrived half-injured in the final, and in the second quarter, after receiving a blow, he limped off the pitch. It seemed, therefore, that it would be the day of the Texan Jalen Hurts, a man who has not had it easy to succeed. Unlike Mahomes, the Eagles’ leader has seen him replaced, sidelined and left out throughout his career. He also started as a substitute at the Eagles, but with consistency he ended up winning. And in what way, since it has become the first quarterback of all time to make three himself touchdowns in a Super Bowl. In the first two quarters, despite a mistake, he imposed his law (14-24). Throughout the season the Philadelphia team had impressed, and al play-off he hadn’t trailed on the scoreboard for a single minute. His second title of champions seemed very close.
But in the second half, despite playing lamely, Mahomes led the reaction of the Chiefs, who have been chipping away at the morale of some Eagles who have lost their defensive security. Well protected by his Praetorian guard, Mahomes connected passes and allowed his team to take the lead for the first time in the last quarter. And they didn’t stop and went ahead 35 to 27. But Hurts wasn’t ready to give up and when the East Coast team seemed lost he invented two plays to tie the game at 35 Never in a final had the two teams reached 35 points. And this year it has been a fact, thanks to Mahomes’ passes and Hurts’ runs. The Chiefs had one last drive, in which they played with the clock, to allow their kicker Harrison Butker to score the three points that decided the final with 10 seconds left. Mahomes reigns in the NFL with two titles in four years, both after overturning 10-point games. And Rihanna continues to reign on the stage. He didn’t need to prove it, but just in case, he did.