Remember when the Super Bowl was about football and not a three-ring freakish sideshow? Yeah, back in the good old days. I'm over 60 now so I can get away with the "back in the day" stuff.

Like so much else in our culture, we've lost our focus on what it is all about. Rather than just a contest between the two best teams in the NFL, Super Bowl Sunday has become about the commercials, halftime shows, and who sits or stands or kneels for the national anthem – you know, politics.

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The Super Bowl now lasts for two weeks with analysis, pre-game specials, concerts, media days and so much hype and speculation. By the time game day arrives, you are already exhausted. And then it's 10 or more hours of game day pre-game coverage.

Personally, I try to avoid any media coverage of the game for the two weeks between the conference championship games and Super Bowl Sunday. I generally skip the all-day pre-game coverage on game day, too.

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The halftime show usually draws as many comments on social media as does the actual game and this year was no exception. You either loved J. Lo and Shakira or you hated them. As usual, the reviews range wildly between the best halftime show ever and the worst. I didn't see much of it but a lot of folks have referenced crotch-grabbing and stripper poles in describing the thing. Nice family entertainment.

The same is true of the ads. Most of the time, people flee from the room when the ads come on to grab snacks or for a bathroom break. But not during the Super Bowl. So folks tune in exclusively for the ads and then rate them.

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Most times the game doesn't live up to all of the hype, although this year's contest was a pretty good one. Nice to see Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid win, though in my heart I was rooting for Jimmy Garoppolo. A come-from-behind win is always exciting.

I love football but I hate all of the hype, drama, and exploitation. Just give me the game and suspend all of the foolishness that surrounds the thing.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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