Touchdown: 15 Gay Super Bowl Scandals, Scenes And Sensations

super-bowl-2013On Sunday, much of America will be glued to its television sets as the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. With athlete ally Brendon Ayanbadejo hitting the gridiron, Beyoncé doing the half-time show and Calvin Klein airing a men’s underwear ad during the game, there’s plenty to entice the gays to watch.

Need more convincing? Queerty’s compiled some of the most outrageously queer moments from Super Bowl history to get you psyched up for game time on Sunday. Go team!

 What are you going to be looking out for at the Super Bowl? Share with the group in the comment section below!


neil-patrick-harris-eyeblack-360x180CBS Taps Neil Patrick Harris for Super Bowl Ad (2013)

This year, CBS tapped Neil Patrick Harris, the very out star of How I Met Your Mother to help promote the Super Bowl.

Of course, the radical Christian right saw Harris wearing eyeblack (right) as an insult to the Messiah, Tim Tebow. Why they didn’t see Tebow degrading the Bible with something as trivial as makeup, we don’t know.

“CBS, the television network airing the big game this year, is now using an outspoken homosexual actor to mimic Tim Tebow’s style of trumpeting messages in eyeblack on his face,” claimed World News Daily. “One football fan who watched the CBS promo Sunday made the connection between Harris and Tebow, saying, ‘They’re pushing a gay agenda by using him, and they’re mocking Christians at the same time.’”

Funny how, when a promo featuring Beyoncé wearing eyeblack debuted, no one accused CBS of pushing a fierce diva agenda.


chris culliverChris Culliver Says Gay Players Need to “Get Up Out” of the NFL (2013)

Just this week, 49er cornerback Chris Culliver, 24, told Artie Lange he wasn’t cool with having an openly gay teammate:

“I don’t do the gay guys man. I don’t do that. No, we don’t got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up out of here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah, can’t be in the locker room man.”

Culliver wasn’t totally rotten, though—he suggested a player could come out 10 years after he retired from the game. Aw, what a sweetie.

On Wednesday, the 49ers management released a statement saying “There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community.”


49ers-brooks-sopoaga-360x219Some San Francisco 49ers Forget They Made an “It Gets Better” Video (2013)

The San Francisco 49ers were the first NFL team to make an “It Gets Better” video, yet two players who participated in it apparently suffered too many hits to the head to remember it.

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga were asked about the PSA after teammate Chris Culliver told radio host Artie Lange that his team “don’t got no gay players” and that “they gotta get up outta here if they do.”

Brooks and Sopoaga initially denied having a part in the “It Gets Better” campaign, even though you can see them in the video: Brook claimed, “This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay. It’s their right. But I didn’t make any video…I think if I made a video, I’d remember it.”

When a reporter from USA Today then showed Brooks the clip, he admitted, “Okay, you’re right and I’m wrong. Are you from one of those New York newspapers?”

Sopoaga was also incredulous over his inclusion and, when he was shown the clip, asked “What was that for?”

Oh boy.


calvin-klein-underwear01Calvin Klein Underwear Ad Debuts At Super Bowl (2013)

Calvin Klein Underwear is airing its first Super Bowl commercial this year: A 30-second spot for the new Calvin Klein Concept, that will screen after the end of the first quarter. In the clip, model Matthew Terry is featured in a “modern ‘man-versus-machine’” fantasy sequence. Um, okay.

The ad will re- air on CBS and ESPN, and via social media.



madonna super bowl 1.jpgMadonna‘s Super Bowl Half-Time Show (2012)


The Super Bowl finally became must-see TV when the Material Girl was picked as the half-time show performer.

All gay eyes were glued to the screen when Madge delivered with a gladiatorial greatest-hits mash-up that included “Vogue,” “Music,” “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” and “Like a Prayer,” as well as appearances by Nicki Minaj, a bird-flicking MIA, LMFAO and Cee Lo Green.

Beyoncé, can you handle it?


GLSEN’s “Think Before You Speak” PSA Screens At Super Bowl XLVI (2012)


grant hill PSAUsually when we talk about ads on the Super Bowl, it involves some kind of controversy. But we had nothing but praise when GLSEN’s “Think Before You Speak” PSAs were screened at Super Bowl XLVI at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. Featuring Hilary Duff, Wanda Sykes and the NBA’s Grant Hill, the videos encouraged fans to think about the negative impact of anti-gay slurs.

Credit goes to Toronto-based Grazie Media, which made an in-kind donation to fund the pricy spot. The media company donated airtime for GLSEN’s ongoing PSA campaign that will be displayed on a video billboard positioned directly in front of the Lucas Oil Stadium where Super Bowl attendees enter the stadium.


Focus on the Family’s Tim Tebow Ad (2010)

This pro-life ad sees Tim Tebow’s mom, Pam, talking about how she almost lost Tim as a baby multiple times. The idea being, what, that anyone who gets an abortion is just plain selfish? (And what is up with tackling a middle-aged woman?) Though it goes against CBS’s policy of nixing “contentious advocacy ads,” the network ran it anyway, setting off a firestorm of controversy.

What gets this clip in our rundown (aside from Tebow?): It was sponsored by Focus on the Family, the reactionary nonprofit that spends most of its time fighting against any acceptance of the LGBT community.


Snickers’ “Manly” Ad (2007)



In this ad, two mechanics accidentally lock lips while sharing a Snickers. (Hey, it happens!) To counteract their  un-masculine behavior, the men open their shirts and rip off a patch of their chest hair.

Um, fellas, manscaping is totes gay.

Though the ad seems to be poking fun at knee-jerk machismo, gay-rights groups didn’t see the humor. Maybe that’s because, before the ad was broadcast, viewers had the chance to vote for its ending online—and one option showed the men breaking into a fight. Or maybe because the website also featured clips of Super Bowl players reacting negatively to the kiss.

GLAAD and HRC complained to Mars Inc., Snickers’ parent company, and the commercial was pulled from further airings. “This type of jeering from professional sports figures at the sight of two men kissing fuels the kind of anti-gay bullying that haunts countless gay and lesbian school children on playgrounds all across the country,” HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement.


Sheryl Crow’s “Not Fade Away” Ad For Revlon (2007)



Revlon thought it had the perfect idea for a Super Bowl ad that would highlight its then-new Colorist hair-coloring system. Get rocker Sheryl Crow as the spokesperson and have her sing the song “Not Fade Away.”

In the clip, Sheryl uses Colorist to keep her hair radiant while she’s on tour. Everyone’s thrilled with the results, except Crow’s swishy hair stylist—who gives the bottle side-eyes from hell. But even that bitch comes around by the end.


NOM Hires Super Bowl veteran David Tyree (2011)



David Tyree, the former New York Giants wide receiver whose legendary “helmet catch” helped the team win Super Bowl XLII, started shilling for the National Organization for Marriage when the push for marriage equality started heating up in New York State.

In a nauseating (and probably scripted) interview, he says if same-sex marriage passed it “will be the beginning of our country sliding toward—it’s a strong word, but anarchy.” Tyree added that he would trade his famous catch and the team’s Super Bowl title to keep marriage between a man and a woman. Oh yeah, sure.

Ironically—or perhaps intentionally—Tyree’s interview was posted by NOM just days after his former teammate Michael Strahan made a PSA in favor of marriage equality.


Gays in the Super Bowl: Roy Simmons and Esera Tuaolo (1984, 1999)


Of the professional football players who have come out in the history of the sport, two—Esera Tuaolo (right) and Roy Simmons—played in Super Bowls. (David Kopay, the first player to announce he was gay, did not, neither did Wade Davis or recently outed 49er Kwame Harris.)

Simmons, 56, was an offensive lineman for the Washington Redskins when the team played Super Bowl XVIII in 1984. After retiring in 1985, he announced he was gay on the Phil Donahue Show. He was diagnosed as HIV+ in 1997 and remained out of the public eye for many years—though he did on an episode of The 700 Club to discuss his emancipation from the gay lifestyle. Ugh, really?

Esera Tuaolo, who reached the Super Bowl in 1999 as a tackle for the Atlanta Falcons, has a happier tale: He also came out after retiring from the NFL, in a 2002 episode of HBO’s Real Sports. Since then Tuaolo’s worked with the NFL and the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation to combat homophobia and testified at the State Legislature Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in opposition to a gay-marriage ban.

Tuaolo, 43, sang the national anthem at the opening 2006 Gay Games VII and shared his story on Oprah and The Tyra Banks Show. Though separated from his partner, he is the father of two adopted children. A trained singer, Tuaolo released his debut album, Esera, in 2009.



The Super Bowl Ads That Never Aired  (2010-2011)



In 2010, domain-name registrar submitted this ad for placement in the Super Bowl. Oddly, it was rejected by CBS. Whether that’s because they thought it was too gay or too anti-gay is something you’ll have to take up with Lola.


In 2011, PepsiCo ran a contest for Super Bowl ads promoting Doritos and Pepsi Max. Among the amateur submissions were “Told You So” and “The Sauna,” (both above) which stirred up an unnecessary controversy when a number of media outlets mistook them for actual ads that were scheduled to run. (And so what if they were? Sheesh!)

Anyway, the winning ad was no where near as entertaining—or hot—as these. Trust.

The same year CBS approved Focus on the Family’s pro-life ad, it rejected a rather PG-rated one from gay-dating site, because it was “not within the network’s broadcast standards for Super Bowl Sunday.” (Unlike, say, Old Milwaukee’s “Swedish bikini team” commercial?)

Still, even our gay asses have to admit the spot is kind of lame.  Perhaps CBS just wanted to save ManCruch some embarrassment?