Make Way For The Real MVPs Of The Super Bowl

Is there really one winner of the Super Bowl? In essence, the Eagles won last night's game, but they only won in one (admittedly impressive) aspect of last night's telecast. They won a football game.

Pop culture, though. That's a different ball game! Literally! There is no ball! There are commercials, and sharks, and bandannas, and lots and lots of famous people. (Beyond, of course, the footballs players, who are also famous.)

The Super Bowl this year felt particularly heavy with pop culture iconography. This may have been the most meme-able game yet — from the selfie kid who went on The Today Show this morning to David Harbour's burly presence in at least a million and a half ads, every five minutes of the Super Bowl gifted us with yet another tableau to talk about at work the next day. (Here, the conversation has been David Harbour, selfie kid, and David Harbour. With some Westworld thrown in on the side.)

These moments also won the Super Bowl, they just didn't get trophies. So, here, we celebrate them, sans trophy, which is all that we can do. Ahead, the definitive ranking of the non-athletic Super Bowl winners.

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Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.
10. The Mic That Danced With Justin Timberlake

I can't help but root for something that, like a despondent palm frond, flopped across a stage just beneath Justin Timberlake's nether regions. Timberlake's performance disappointed — I must have said "This is underwhelming" thirteen times during the thirteen-minute show — but the mic really put on a show.
9. The Selfie Kid "Googling" Meme

Not selfie kid himself, mind you. The fact that the kid, whose real name is Ryan McKenna, appeared on the telecast isn't that remarkable. But! The fact that he seemed to be Googling something mid-performance was remarkable. Twitter collectively made the same joke: He was Googling who Timberlake was. (Or, better yet, he was looking up Kylie Jenner's pregnancy announcement. More on that later.)
8. Gisele Bündchen sipping wine

While Tom Brady lost the game down below, his wife sipped at Merlot — or Montepulciano, I don't know what she likes! — in her private box.
7. Jimmy Fallon sitting on the Pepsi sign

I applaud any person who goes outside in the extreme cold. I also applaud late night hosts who brave the cold to sit on larger-than-life Pepsi signs all for a toss-to-commercial. Say what you will about Jimmy Fallon; the man commits to bits!
6. Tyrion Lannister hawking Doritos via Busta Rhymes

It's been a big day for Doritos. Earlier today, they announced the release of a quiet chip for women to eat, because we are mice who must be quiet! But even earlier, Peter Dinklage marketed Doritos with literal fire. Then, there was...
5. Morgan Freeman hawking Mountain Dew via Missy Elliot

I might actually have to start drinking Mountain Dew.
4. Bradley Cooper just having a really, really good time

Bradley Cooper's always been a jolly sort of celeb. Remember when he contracted uncontrollable giggles on Fallon? At the Super Bowl, Cooper demonstrated an extreme emotional investment in the game. He flapped his arms like a real Eagle! It was such a joy to see a celebrity express extreme joy!
3. The Westworld trailer

The trailer, which revealed a surprisingly early premiere date for the show, was engineered for the Super Bowl, so much so that it tricked some (like myself) into believing it was a car commercial.

And that was the goal, too.

"We wanted to create a love letter to Super Bowl spots in general," co-creator Jonathan Nolan told EW. "Something that gives you a sense of what the park was supposed to feel like — this idyllic dream of the pastoral and idealized West that Americans get sold during the Super Bowl ads, and then pull the rug out and remind the audience what they’re really watching."
2. Kylie Jenner's pregnancy announcement

It was the Super Bowl of pop culture, only it didn't take up as many hours. Granted, we've spent the last three months poring over Jenner's Instagram and potential paparazzi shots, looking for clues about this pregnancy, but who's to say the Jenner Saga wasn't just as time-consuming as a fantasy football league? And then, Jenner revealed everything with a single 12-minute video. (Presumably, there will be more to follow.) She went cold for months on end while we waited for information, then dropped the news an hour before the Super Bowl. Now, that's what you call a touchdown.
1. David Harbour, David Harbour, and David Harbour

Let's get one thing straight: David Harbour is like a football player if he were goofy and also played a rude sheriff on television. And if that football played were a thespian, i.e. starred in several Shakespeare in the Park productions. He's burly, he's bearded, and he can do silly dances, so he'd actually be really good at performing touchdowns. (Is that the right verb use?)

This year, buffered by Stranger Things fame, Harbour rose to Super Bowl ad-level of popularity, which meant he could flash his toothy smile during a commercial and no one would mind. The premise of his commercial — which was for Tide, you know, of Tide Pod fame — was that every commercial was secretly a Tide commercial. If the clothes are clean, it's an ad for Tide, right?

But if every ad's a Tide ad, then every ad is a David Harbour vehicle. Which means David Harbour won the Super Bowl. Or he's at least the MVP.
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