As much as the NFL didn’t want politics to overshadow the big game, the Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots and the Falcons had some unmissable political undertones. Notably, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft are all close friends and supporters of Donald Trump. It’s a tough thing to rationalize for Patriots fans, and for some their ties made the game itself a battle between good (Atlanta and the Falcons) and “evil” (the Pats and their rich, conservative Trump supporters).
That narrative was at the front of many people’s minds throughout the game, and the subject matter of many commercials only underscored the politics — even if most of them weren’t doing it on purpose. Since Super Bowl commercials are planned out and confirmed months or even a full year in advance, none of them could be said to specifically be reacting to Trump’s ascent to the White House. But companies from Audi to a little-known lumber company aired beautifully produced and expensive commercials that supported values that have been in the news lately like keeping a door open for immigrants and equal pay for men and women.