Play-by-plays are as vital to the Super Bowl’s soundtrack as the cheering crowds and the sounds of sports fans wolfing down wings. But adding to the noise, more than ever, are the millions of viewers who put down the chips and dip, break out their phones and give Twitter commentary of their own. Americans tweeted about this year’s Super Bowl nearly twice as much as they did last year, according to Twitter’s own analytics, and if there’s one nugget of truth to gleam from all that data, it’s this: Forget the Ravens, the real world champion here is Beyoncé.
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Of the more than 24.1 million tweets about the Super Bowl on Sunday — and that’s not including tweets about any of the Super Bowl’s commercials — 5.5 million were about Beyoncé and her near-flawless halftime show. That may only be a quarter of all the tweets total, but tweets-per-minute analysis shows that nothing makes viewers crank out the characters like 14-minutes of fierce choreography and hair-flips.
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We know from Glee that “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” can be a key to football victory, so it’s no surprise that Beyoncé’s performance of her foot-stomping, hand-clapping 2008 monster hit was one of the night’s most popular moments, generating about 252,000 tweets per minute. Her Destiny’s Child reunion with bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams also brought the buzz online, but it was the conclusion of her halftime show that generated the most tweets: 268,000 per minute, more than any other moment in the game. That’s probably because it’s hard for all the independent women to tweet when they’re throwing their hands up in the air, and because Mrs. Carter deserves your undivided attention when she’s writhing around on stage in front of you.
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The only moment to get as much Internet traction as Beyoncé was the Super Bowl power outage. When the Superdome experienced a 34-minute blackout, tweets were flooding in at a rate of 230,000 per minute — even the Ravens’ moment of victory didn’t come close, generating about 183,000 tweets per minute.
What does a captive audience talk about when the game’s on hold? When you’re not appreciating a viral ad (looking at you, Oreo), just talk about puppies! The Puppy Bowl is an annual (and adorable) Animal Planet tradition where our canine friends swap the pigskin for chew toys in an athletic event of their own. Though tweets about the Puppy Bowl only numbered around half a million total last night, Twitter reported a sharp rise in Puppy Bowl chatter during the blackout. Football, commercialism, a love of Beyoncé and, when all else fails, an appreciation for puppies? Sounds like America to us.