Seattle is major player in Super Bowl as big tech, Bezos, police chief and more connect city to game

The Fox Super Bowl LIV postgame show was sponsored by Amazon and the hosts were all parked behind Microsoft Surface tablets. (Fox screen grab)

The Seattle Seahawks didn’t make it to Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, but that didn’t stop Seattle from being well represented in Miami and on TV during the NFL’s showcase event.

While other highlight roundups are probably focused on how the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in the actual football game, we’re going to take a look at how Seattle was a major player on Sunday night. Tech giants, a billionaire and a rapper, a police chief, highly rated commercials and helmet technology all connected the Super Bowl back to Seattle.

Key placement for tech giants

Amazon and Microsoft both had successful commercials that ran during the Super Bowl (more on that below), but the branding didn’t stop there for the two titans of Seattle technology.

Amazon sponsored Fox’s postgame show, with its logo front and center on the broadcast desk between the logos for the 49ers and the Chiefs. Curt Menefee, Howie Long, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson all had seats at the desk where Microsoft also got its own high-profile plug. The company’s Surface tablets were positioned in front of each game analyzer, which is a nice extension beyond the on-the-field use of the tech by players and coaches.

Bad rap for Bezos?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ran into singer/rapper Lizzo at the Super Bowl and shared a selfie via Twitter. The world’s richest person also added a caption that borrowed from the entertainer’s song “Truth Hurts” in which she sings, “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100 percent that bitch.”

Many of the replies to the tweet turned to roasting Bezos over the taxes he pays (or doesn’t pay), things he could help solve with his enormous wealth, and how Amazon employees are treated.

Seattle police chief in Verizon ad

Viewers may have been surprised by celebrity cameos in a variety of Super Bowl ads, but one face caught the attention of those watching from Seattle.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best makes a brief appearance in an for Verizon and the wireless carrier’s 5G Ultra Wideband. The image of Best at the 48-second mark, which appears to come from a recent appearance in downtown Seattle after a deadly shooting, didn’t come with a speaking part.

“It’s great that Verizon highlighted the work of our first responders during a Super Bowl commercial,” Best told GeekWire. “I was honored when asked to appear in it just this past week.”

Verizon was aiming to promote how 5G will change a lot of things but will never change “the courage and compassion of our first responders.” But the company got called out by those paying attention on social media because it admitted during the 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California that it throttled internet speeds for firefighters trying to battle those deadly blazes.

T-Mobile turns to Mama … and John Legere

The battle over whose connection is best brought out another wireless big shot as Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile touted its 5G network in an ad starring comic actor Anthony Anderson and his real-life mother, Doris.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere wasn’t just celebrating Super Bowl Sunday — he was practically giddy over the fact that T-Mobile’s technology was getting attention from Verizon. In a blog post, Legere thanked his competition for spending big bucks to tell people that T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network is the one to beat.

Legere even shared a video of side-by-side phones running on the competing carriers inside Miami’s Hard Rock stadium. He called Verizon’s coverage “sad and spotty.”

Helmet tech on the MVP

On his way to winning the championship and the Most Valuable Player award, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes managed to promote more technology coming out of Seattle.

Mahomes was wearing the Vicis ZERO1 helmet, a high-tech head protector developed by the once high-flying Seattle startup. The company, which had raised more than $85 million during its existence, fell on hard times at the end of 2019 and laid off all employees before being placed into receivership in an attempt to find a buyer.

Commercial success

Amazon and Microsoft finished in the top 10 among the best-rated Super Bowl ads according to USA Today’s Ad Meter, which has been rating commercials during the game for 32 years.

Amazon finished seventh, with an average rating of 6.4 on a scale of 1 to 10, with its ad featuring Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi on how people got by in the age before its voice-controlled AI, Alexa. The ad has been viewed 60 million times on YouTube.

Microsoft placed ninth with its ad, “Be the One,” which shared the story of Katie Sowers of the San Francisco 49ers, the first female coach in Super Bowl history. The ad has 13.5 million views on YouTube.

Google fared best among tech companies, placing third with its touching ad, “Loretta,” about the use of Google Assistant to help people recall important memories. T-Mobile’s 5G ad placed 16th; Verizon was 20th; Facebook was 39th; Hulu and Tom Brady placed 42nd.

The No. 1 ad according to Ad Meter was Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” ad starring Bill Murray. President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign ad was last, with a score of 3.33.

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