Twitter, Mini-Controversies, All Part of Super Bowl Experience

The Super Bowl, otherwise known as the biggest television event of the year, also became one of the biggest U.S. social media events of all time.

Twitter reports that the end of the NFL championship game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants generated up to 12,233 tweets per second. In addition, Madonna’s halftime performance at the game peaked at 10,245 tweets per second. According to Mashable, those numbers land both events in the top three (at number two and three, respectively) of most tweeted-about events ever. The numbers all reinforce the growing influence of Twitter in the online and social media landscape, as well as its ability to foster and host a large volume of conversations.

Twitter’s numbers are a testament to the relevance of the Super Bowl in American pop culture. However, with great fanfare comes a bigger microscope on the events revolving around the big game.

On Feb. 4, a day before the big game, the Giants’ Web site accidentally published a picture claiming the team had already won the Super Bowl. The image was quickly taken down, but not before it had been picked up by numerous outlets. It was a minor error that became magnified because of the intense public focus on the highly anticipated game.

Another mini-controversy came courtesy of the Super Bowl halftime show, in which rapper M.I.A. made an obscene gesture live on camera. To their credit, both NBC and the NFL were quick to release statements apologizing for M.I.A.’s actions.

However, NBC and the NFL were also quick to deflect the blame for why the gesture wasn’t censored. “The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show,” said an NBC spokesman in a statement. The NFL placed the blame on NBC’s delay system, which failed to prevent the gesture from being seen.

In the end, it was just another weekend of buzz—good, amusing and bad—for the most extravagant event of the year in the U.S.

Follow Sahil Patel: @sizpatel