I love having the Super Bowl here.  I don’t mind the closures…albeit, as a guy living on the mid-peninsula.  A Super Bowl is a unique cultural event, a neutral site championship, an eye-drawing event that is unparalleled short of war.  This will be the 50th Super Bowl, but only 15 metropolitan areas have hosted one.  And the last time the Bay Area got one, it wasn’t nearly the event it is now.

We’re lucky to get to experience the spectacle, and it’s okay to bask in a huge, multi-week spectacle. It is.

That said, Super Bowl City was a waste of time.

There were maybe 5 real attractions, other than the stage that only occasionally would have concerts:  The world’s shortest and lamest zip line; A VR Quarterback Challenge; A Wii-style pass thrower with graphics that are about 3rd-gen iPhone quality; a more simple motion capture dance system than the arcade games people have been dancing to since the early 2000’s; a light tower powered by people on stationary bikes.

Beyond that, it was stages for all the networks.  It was a DJ that was only slightly less out of place than at a 40th wedding anniversary.  It was a big golden “50” that had more seams than a middle school papier-mâché project for people to take selfies with.  And it was carnie-quality food at San Francisco restaurant prices.  Including the beer.

Oh, and stores.  Freaking stores, for Levi’s, and Verizon (more than one!), and show off centers for things like Intel, Macy’s and stuff that frankly bored me too much to remember.

And not a single, real physical event to do.  Not a single football to throw.  Not even in a carny-style or arcade-style game.  VR games where you could sit and let your head get weighed down by huge goggles.  Kinda dance games, but not really.

I know there’s some such games, ironically, indoors at the Moscone Center.  But for what Super Bowl City could have been, it has been a waste, more of a rallying point to the deserving causes but angry detractors of this event.  The NFL, the host committee, and the vendors could have done far more to present a good time to fans while still promoting themselves.  Instead, it was a lot of “opportunities” for fans to wear comically-sized football helmets with department store logos rather than the teams we enjoy.

Verizon may be upset that their super-sized billboard came down, but they did more to hurt their brand by taking up space with tacky stores, and don’t think that football fans don’t notice a waste of space when they see one.  After all, they’re onto Jed York.