The Super Bowl is a mandatory event, and each and every American feels a primordial need to watch this game.
Deciding against watching is like testifying that you thought Karl Marx had some decent ideas in front of the US Congress in the 50s; it does severe damage to your social image.
The Super Bowl is a balance of opposites. The game is like a chip, the pop culture fodder on top is the dip.
You need the game to anchor the entertainment that makes the Super Bowl the nationwide event that it is, but you can't just dip a finger into that goo; you need to have the crunchy medium of football to carry it.
The soft gushy stuff is the counter to the bone-crushing violence. We need Kim Kardashian doing a commercial about selfies juxtaposed against Kam Chancellor's concussion present to Julian Edelman that proved brain safety is a regular season concern.
We need McDonald's to force people to say nice things about family members, right after we watch metric tons of armored men beef slam against each other.
Testosterone and estrogen make a potent, meticulously crafted combination that has an annual reservation for one Sunday in late winter.
The Super Bowl is like attending Mass for America. You have lost your childhood sense of awe, so you eye-roll the rituals, and think the whole thing goes on too long, but once a year, you sit your ass down if you want to be accepted by your friends and family members.
The Super Bowl may be huge for two small swaths of fans, but the vast majority of viewers are hungry to see anything that will distract them from the abject meaninglessness of existence in the uncaring void of the universe.
In short, we want to be entertained, and this Super Bowl, better than most, did the trick.
There were a couple scores before halftime to reawaken the crowd after the Super Bowl's typically sluggish start, as the players get over the nerve-racking notion of playing in front of everyone in the country.
Then, Katy Perry did the impossible and provided an equivalent following act to Beyoncé.
After that performance, Katy Perry is now exempt from displaying humility because riding around on a pyrotechnic star, 30 feet in the air, in front of millions of people signing along to your song must be quite the ego trip.
Perry did a great job, if only for the fact that every man cave in America briefly featured a rousing rendition of "Firework" on its massive flat screen and corresponding surround sound system.
The thought of dudes across the country in beer-stained tank tops tapping their feet to that pop anthem brings a tear to my eye.
After the break, the ending of the game was suitably nuts. Brady marched his troops down the field for the go-ahead score with the uncaring efficiency of a 30-year auditor correcting her son's math homework.
Then, Russell Wilson had one gasp left to win. He threw a deep ball we thought was about to be the sequel to "The Helmet Catch: The Thigh of Fate," but then, Pete Carroll gave every Monday morning quarterback a delightful conversation-starter.
Coach Carroll elected to throw a pass that would be intercepted instead of just handing the ball to the human version of the rock that chased Indiana Jones in the "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Carroll got a little tricky, and made a move we would have lauded as genius if it were successful. But, instead of the GOAT, he's just a goat, and Tom Brady adds onto one of the most impressive life résumés ever assembled by a human being.
Confetti spewed; reporters asked canned questions; players gave automatic answers; Flacco handed over the trophy; Al Michaels signed off and "The Blacklist" came on.
The Super Bowl is unavoidable, cliché and overstuffed with advertising, but at least this year it was watchable.