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The Super Bowl parties were very hot in ice-cold Minneapolis

J-Lo, Cardi B, Jamie Foxx and Shaq were among the guests and performers

9:56 AMMINNEAPOLIS — Despite freezing weather, football fans crisscrossed the Twin Cities for some spectacular nightlife. There were some dynamic and exclusive events, parties and concerts before what ended up being the Philadelphia Eagles upsetting the New England Patriots 41-33. If you were in the right places, you could catch Jamie Foxx playing waiter and Shaquille O’Neal doing his DJ thing. Justin Timberlake ended up drawing mixed reviews for his official halftime show, but Minneapolis, on the nights before the big game? Jennifer Lopez and Pink lit up the same venue, albeit it on different nights. And new superstar Cardi B graced the Super Bowl festivities. So much to do. Not enough time to do it all. I have no idea how my colleague and friend Kelley L. Carter maintains this pace. A quick look at some of what went down in these parts.


Leigh Steinberg’s 31st annual Super Bowl party – The longtime NFL agent who served as the model for Tom Cruise’s fictional character in Jerry Maguire was at it again, delivering one of the week’s best parties. Steinberg uses his platform to honor NFL professionals for their charitable work, as well as to introduce his upcoming draft class, which includes University of Southern California running back Ronald Jones II. The elusive runner could be a high pick. Rookie Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was in attendance. With the trade of veteran quarterback Alex Smith from Kansas City to the Washington Redskins last week, Mahomes will begin his second NFL season as Kansas City’s first-string passer. NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson was in the packed house as well.

EA Sports Bowl – The most interactive event of the week. Guests waited turns in front of massive screens to play the hottest games. It was a great way to get pumped before Imagine Dragons took the stage.

The 2018 Maxim party – Is there any performer on the planet hotter than Belcalis Almanzar? Just hearing that Cardi B is scheduled to perform is enough to get most people to jump into an Uber. Shoot, it was enough for me.

Pink – The lady is a trouper. Although battling the flu, Pink put on a good show earlier in the week and delivered a strong, efficient rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before kickoff. Props.

J. Lo – Lopez always has high-energy shows. Last week was no exception.

Bootsy Bellows Big Game Pop Up — Presented by American Airlines and Casper, the daylong festivities began with a luncheon and Q&A session about, among other topics, life in the sports media game. Hosted by ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Samantha Ponder, the session also included Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, Ray Lewis (a member of the 2018 Hall of Fame class) and Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver Adam Thielen. Much later, after a dinner, Foxx jumped onstage and went to work. The Academy Award and Grammy winner handed out late-night snacks and drinks. Then O’Neal, the 15-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA champion, showed off his DJing skills.

Tiki Barber and Drew Rosenhaus – Barber, the former New York Giants Pro Bowl running back, teamed with Rosenhaus, among the NFL’s most successful agents, to throw a well-attended bash. Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden, Kansas City Chiefs star wideout Tyreek Hill and former NFL passer Charlie Batch were among those who joined in the fun.

 

Sneak peek: Enjoy some Super Bowl commercials that aired a bit early

Steven Tyler discovers his youth and Cardi B transforms into Alexa in some of Super Bowl LII’s top commercials

10:31 AMThe time has come.

As the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots gear up for Super Bowl LII, companies are vying equally as hard for a chance to be featured in one of the year’s most important (and expensive) ad slots.

This year, 30-second ads slots are going for an estimated $5 million — about the same as last year, but a slight increase from 2016’s $4.8 million price.

Commercials aren’t only effective advertising, but offer a distraction if your team is on the losing end. Social media have also taken advantage of the discussions surrounding Super Bowl ads by creating polls and hashtags for favorite commercials. If you aren’t a fan of either team playing in this year’s game, you can always peruse some of the advertisements below and anticipate the fun, serious, shocking and downright creative commercials in between the action.


Amazon Alexa

“Alexa Loses Her Voice”

In this hilarious commercial, Amazon’s favorite intelligent personal assistant has lost her voice. Before panic sets in, users are ensured that there are some suitable replacements, including Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, Rebel Wilson and Anthony Hopkins. The world isn’t ready.

Toyota

“One Team”

Toyota conveys the message that no matter what race, color, or religious creed, we’re all in this thing called life together … and, of course, united by football.

“Good Odds”

As a sponsor of the Olympics and Paralympics, Toyota’s second commercial features Paralympic athlete Lauren Woolstencroft, and the odds of winning a gold medal. Woolstencroft was born without legs below the knee and no left arm below the elbow. The odds continue to flash as Woolstencroft grows, and become even slimmer as an adult. Despite the odds being stacked against her, Woolstencroft has medaled 10 times in the Paralympics — eight of them gold — as an alpine skier.

Wix.com

“Rhett & Link”

Wix.com is back this year to show you how simple it is to create a website using its company. The strategic use of internet comedy stars Rhett & Link, the two handsome guys showing us the tutorial, is just a bonus.

Sprint

“Evelyn”

When artificial intelligence meets human brain power, which one wins? Sprint has found a way to use robots to help us see the light.

Pepsi

“This is the Pepsi”

This year’s commercial features Pepsi throwing it back through the generations. It features some of our favorite from the past: singers Michael Jackson and Britney Spears, retired NASCAR star Jeff Gordon and current basketball star Kyrie Irving as his character “Uncle Drew.” The slot also features model Cindy Crawford, who re-creates her Pepsi from her iconic 1992 commercial.

Bud Light

“Bud Knight”

In this campaign, Bud Light brings viewers into a medieval fight to the death — which looks like an awful scene from Game of Thrones. One fighter realizes his side is losing and awaits the arrival of “Bud Knight” to come and save them. He arrives. He’s a “Bud Knight” in shining armor who conveniently finds a store in the middle of nowhere and saves the day with a case of Bud Light. If only we could stop wars around the world with beer.

Coca-Cola

“The Wonder of Us”

Much like Toyota’s commercial, Coca-Cola reminds the world that although we may look think and act differently, we’re all the same. Oh, and of course there’s a Coke for everything, so enjoy the ice-cold beverage as we celebrate our differences and similarities.

Kia

“Feel Something Again”

This nostalgic ad features Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler all suited up for … a race? But he’s the only one on the track. He approaches a new Kia Stinger, and with freshly painted nails, puts the car in reverse and floors it. Tyler is going so fast around the track that time begins to move backward. By the time Tyler completes a lap around the track, he has rediscovered his youth. Even random fans appear out of nowhere to greet the star at the finish line.

Michelob Ultra

“I Like Beer”

Michelob Ultra gets straight to the point. There are several activities displayed from cycling to yoga. But what unites everyone in this sing-along? You guessed it: beer.

Looking for more ads? Check out the rest here.

Super Bowl LII

Eagles fans, you might spot Kyle Lowry at the Super Bowl

The Raptors guard has a game that afternoon but he seems set on making it to Minneapolis

1:16 PMIf you’re a Philly sports fan, you probably know that Raptors guard and North Philly native Kyle Lowry is an Eagles superfan. And he’s clearly shown his excitement and support for the Birds all month.

In fact, don’t be surprised if you spot him inside U.S. Bank Stadium come Sunday cheering on his home team. Asked about his Super Bowl plans, Lowry said he’s trying to make sure he gets to Minneapolis. A scheduling note: The Raptors play the Memphis Grizzlies in Toronto at 12 p.m. EST, and Super Bowl LII is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m., so Lowry will have approximately three to four hours door-to-door to make it.

And his Super Bowl prediction? Eagles 27, Patriots 21.

The Plug, ‘Super Bowl Time: Who Ya Got?’ (Episode 8): Super Bowl Sunday is upon us

Can Brady go for six? Can the Eagles grab their first Super Bowl?

4:54 PM

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You can’t talk sports this week without talking about Super Bowl LII: the New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles. So what’d we do with that? We introduced a “Faceoff” segment. An Eagles fan and a Pats diehard each try to convince us why their squad will hoist the Lombardi trophy on Sunday night. After that, it’s a blast from Washington’s football past as Hall of Famers Art Monk and Darrell Green and fellow Super Bowl XXVI champion Tim Johnson give us insights on what it’s like preparing for the biggest football game of your life. Green also focuses on the controversy surrounding the team’s “Redskins” name and what it means that the Cleveland Indians are removing their Chief Wahoo logo in 2019.

The crew also breaks down the Blake Griffin trade, and what injuries to DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall mean not only to LeBron James’ All-Star team but also to each player’s future. Finally: We also chop it up about my weekend in New York covering the Grammys. Keep the support churning, my people. Continue to tell your circle to subscribe to The Plug on the ESPN app! Pull up on us next week!

Previously: The Plug, ‘Awards Season: Jemele Hill’ (Episode 7): Who’s the Best of the Best?

Who is up next to join Golden State?

Anthony Davis, Kyle O’Quinn or maybe even Hologram Tupac

1:33 PMWith trade rumors and other teams unloading their superstars to prepare for free agency, the Golden State Warriors are on the lookout for their next addition to what is shaping up to be the equivalent of Death Row Records in the ’90s. Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans is one that Golden State has a good chance of landing in the offseason, as well as Kyle O’Quinn of the New York Knicks, who could find his way to “The Town” before the trade deadline. So we decided to look at what other superstars have the chance of joining Suge Knight, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. I mean Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. I will let you all fight over who is who.

Could Happen

Anthony Davis

Enes Kanter

Kyle O’Quinn

Should Happen

Erik Killmonger as played by Michael B. Jordan

The trailer alone looks like he can put numbers on the board. I mean, would you defend him?

Marvel Studios

Tupac Hologram

Trying to get the assist would suck, but the introductions would be on point.

Dave Chappelle as Prince

That jumper would fit in perfectly with the Splash Brothers.

Comedy Central

Riley Freeman

I mean, a better question is “Why not?”

Malcolm X

The height alone will allow him to block your shots “By Any Means Necessary.”

Getty Images

Ta-Nehisi Coates

We don’t have a reason. Just thought it would throw you off too.

Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Shaft

He is one bad/SHUT YOUR MOUTH!/I was just going to say badgering defender.

John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images

Definitely Will not Happen

LeBron James