Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams was the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history, and the halftime show wasn’t much more entertaining than that. The musical interlude was headlined by Maroon 5, with appearances by Travis Scott and Big Boi. EW’s Alex Suskind did not mince words in his review, calling it “the most joyless and inconsequential halftime gig since the game began incorporating pop acts almost three decades ago.”
Adam Levine seemed content with his work, however. The day after the big game, the Maroon 5 singer posted a note on Instagram that thanked friend and foe alike for the chance to shine: “We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage. We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better.”
One of the centerpieces of the halftime show came was when the band sent a bunch of balloons in the air, which then spelled out the words “one” and “love.” But those balloons also had other words written on them, and in his post, Levine revealed what they were: Forgive, Laugh, Cry, Smile, Share, Live, Endure, Embrace, Remember, Enlighten, Preserve, Inspire, Sweat, Fight, Express, Give, Receive, Elevate, Climb, Unify, Fortify, Soften, Dance, Scream, Dream, Educate, Provide, Inhale, Exhale, Persevere, Stand, Kneel, Overcome, Love, and Listen.
The inclusion of “kneel” seems like it could be in reference to Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who started kneeling during the pre-game National Anthem in 2016 as a protest against police brutality and racial injustice. Kaepernick is currently unsigned, and the NFL’s reaction to his political stance hung heavy over the halftime show preparation; Cardi B used it to explain why she wouldn’t perform with Maroon 5 at the event despite their collaboration on the single “Girls Like You.”
Read Levine’s full note below.