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Most likeable Super Bowl ever. Chiefs, Usher almost make you forget about hating NFL

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Super Bowl 58 really started with Usher. His show took us back in time to old school rhythm and blues, in what was the most gorgeous, stunning Super Bowl halftime show ever. Usher pulled off a neat trick: sensuality and likeability wrapped into a neat, bombastic bow.

Then came the game, and it really started with the second half. And we saw what makes Kansas City so good: stubbornness and Patrick Mahomes.

But after Kansas City won, we saw from that team what we always do: a bunch of likeable people.

Between Usher, who put on a stunning and likeable show, and Kansas City, who in the end put on an equally stunning and likeable show, this was the most likeable Super Bowl of all time.

It’s easy to hate great teams. That’s what we do. There’s no fun in liking a franchise that wins all the time if you’re not a fan of that team. In sports, we need hate. We feed off hate. It gets us to the games. It pushes us to watch. That’s how it normally goes. But there’s an exception, a historical one: this Kansas City team.

They’re Super Bowl champions (again) and coming into this contest they were called villains. But these aren’t the bad guys. This is one of the most likeable groups we’ve seen in recent sports history.

The coach is a big, jolly genius. The quarterback had one shaky outburst but doesn’t get in trouble off the field, is greatly respected by almost everyone who comes in contact with him, and is the biggest cheerleader on the team. The tight end (you know which one) may have been a jerk earlier in his career but isn’t now. His girlfriend (you know the one) seems like one of the most laid-back superstars we’ve ever seen. So do all of her friends.

There’s likeability all over this Super Bowl. There’s so much of it, it overrides how bad the NFL is. I mean, the NFL is really hated, and Usher and Kansas City are so likeable they make even the corporate monstrosity that is the NFL likeable. That is quite the feat.

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Go throughout history. These aren’t the Dallas Cowboys’ dynasty with Michael Irvin. These aren’t the Patriots with Deflategate or Spygate. The Chicago Bears coached by Mike Ditka was one of the best teams ever, but they were loud and danced and beat the hell out of teams. They weren’t likeable. They were vicious.

These aren’t the Buffalo Bills who went to four consecutive Super Bowls and lost. You didn’t like them. You felt sorry for them. Some of the Giants Super Bowls teams were likeable adjacent, but Tom Coughlin was grumpy as hell. The San Francisco 49ers with Joe Montana had likeable components, but that franchise was like a corporation.

There are other Super Bowl teams that were cool, but none of them match up with Kansas City.

Other halftime shows were likeable, too, but not as much as this one. Prince was amazing but you can’t like Prince. He’s too powerful to like. Prince’s grinding isn’t something you like, it’s something you put on Mount Rushmore. Janet Jackson had her breast exposed, which was not cool at all of Justin Timberlake and far from likeable. Timberlake is a cad. Not likeable.

Usher smiled and danced and brought in Alicia Keys and did some naughty but likeable things, and man was there like all over the place.

I try to muster hate for the Chiefs but it’s almost impossible. After the game, defensive lineman Chris Jones did an interview with ESPN and he spoke like a guy who was sitting in your living room talking football with you.

Kelce and Taylor Swift have handled their extremely public relationship with grace and humor. When cameras caught Swift celebrating the game-winning touchdown, and she was jumping up and down with friends, it looked like genuine joy.

After the game, Kelce told ESPN he was going to shave his beard, keep it and put it in a bag. Goofy and likeable.

Even when Kelce berated Andy Reid on the sideline, it felt like you were watching an argument between family, not something particularly nasty. You know they’ll put that behind them.

After the game, Reid went over to a celebrating Jones and just belly flopped on top of him. It was such a joyous moment. But that’s them. That’s how they roll. Literally.

Usher left you wanting more and feeling good about what you saw. Kansas City did the same. It was all so likeable in the most likeable Super Bowl we’ve ever seen.

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