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Winner of Super Bowl XLVIII: Bruno Mars

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The Seattle Seahawks were deserving of their Super Bowl victory on Sunday, but the game got out-of-hand early, and often did not provide even a reasonable facsimile of the game of professional football. However, the big winner of Super Bowl XLVIII had to be Bruno Mars.

Since the original announcement on September 8, 2013, that Mars was going to be this year's halftime entertainment, I have seen nothing but criticism of, and disdain for, his selection. Then, when it was announced on January 11, 2014, that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would be joining Mars onstage for the performance, this seemed to be a signal that there was concern over Mars' ability to carry such a big show.

I was a fan of Mars' choice as halftime entertainment, and seemed to be one of the few who thought he would simply kill it on Super Bowl Sunday. And while I did not have an issue with the addition of RHCP to the bill, I felt the timing of the announcement undermined what I felt was already a potentially great show.

Mercifully, the first half of the game came to a close, and Mars exploded on the scene in East Rutherford, NJ, with an outstanding (and unexpected) drum solo that showcased his top-notch musicianship. He was then joined by his full band for renditions of some of his hits, including "Locked Out Of Heaven," "Treasure," and "Runaway Baby." The latter song morphed into RHCP's "Give It Away" and the reveal of Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and the boys as they powered through an energetic performance of their 1991 hit.

Mars closed the show (far too soon, in my opinion) with one of the biggest tracks from his debut album, the sweet, mid-tempo love song, "Just The Way You Are." The song was accompanied by video tributes from members of the U.S. military to their loved ones.

Ultimately, Mars' performance was the "play of the game," silencing all but the most jaded or ignorant critics. While I was surprised the NFL did not go with a New York/New Jersey selection for halftime performer, I believe they made a phenomenal choice and the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show will go down as one of the most memorable in the history of the event.

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