The Super Bowl is, first and foremost, about branded excess and, secondarily, about crowning a new champion in the NFL. Everything about the the Super Bowl is over the top and often times the brand tie-ins make very little sense.
It’s also become an international event, broadcast around the world, which invites stations from countries all over to take part in that excess. The Austrian television broadcast for Super Bowl 53 took that to new heights with a spectacular intro that somehow involved the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It features an almost assuredly unlicensed Thanos — some intern dressed in football pads wearing a Thanos mask and an Infinity Gauntlet — snapping away the rest of the playoff competition as the build to how the Pats and Rams got here. It is, truly, a tremendous piece of video. (Also, if you like weird international sports videos you should be following Timothy Burke on Twitter, purveyor of fan favorites like “Russian college football broadcast clips” and more.)
This would never happen stateside for many reasons. One, to get licensing to use Thanos in an intro would cost an unbelievable amount of money, but also because the preferred intro for major sports broadcasts is to have someone extremely famous reading a dramatic monologue. This year, that was Magic Johnson regaling viewers with tales of the great battles of Los Angeles and Boston that took place on the hardwood ahead of the Pats and Rams bringing the city rivalry to the gridiron.
Still, one day maybe we’ll get some great weirdness like this offering from Austria.