Everyone is complaining about yesterday’s supposedly boring Super Bowl game — that would be Super Bowl LIII, if you’re counting in Latin. With the rules of the game having been recalibrated continually to favor never ending offense, I appreciated the return of defense.
If the halftime show was concededly a lowlight, the singing of the national anthem must be deemed the highlight. Out strolled Gladys Knight to sing the anthem. Where has she been? Ms. Knight made her debut on the Ted Mack Show in 1951, more than 65 years ago. She went on to a successful career in pop music. I loved her hits with the Pips back in the ’70s (and Johnny Carson’s many jokes using the word “Pips”).
I thought the best of those hits (including “Midnight Train to Georgia”) were written by Jim Weatherly. Fun fact: Weatherly played quarterback at the University of Mississippi before taking up a career as a songwriter. Now he is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Listening to Ms. Knight sing the anthem, I felt like the lady overhearing Meg Ryan in the restaurant in When Harry Met Sally. I’ll have what she’s having. Ms. Knight is now 74 years old. She is beautiful. She sounds great. Tom Brady may want to sign her up for his fitness staff. She seems to have an angle on the fountain of youth.
What I heard in Ms. Knight’s rendition of the anthem was belief in the United States of America and pride in our history. Perhaps it’s wishful hearing on my part. It probably is. But her performance spoke for itself. It burned to convey love of country. It belied the disgrace of the kneeling protests. It redeemed the time. In case you missed it or might want to revisit the highlight of yesterday’s Super Bowl event, the NFL has posted it here (and blocked it from display elsewhere).