HOUSTON — There was the game on the field, and there was the one watched through the political prism of these times.
On social media, the Atlanta Falcons were not just the N.F.C. champions, they were stand-ins for anti-Trump ferment, coming from a staunchly Democratic city and facing a Patriots team whose owner, head coach and starting quarterback are all friends with the president, to varying degrees.
“Falcons are fun and their biggest stars aren’t pro Trump,” JayZito wrote on Twitter. “I’m a Falcons fan today.”
Not long before the game started, President Trump, in an interview on Fox, which was broadcasting the game, predicted a Patriot win by 8 points in part out of support for his friends. That prediction was the object of ridicule as Atlanta surged ahead, but then it ended up appearing prescient as the Patriots stormed back to win, 34-28, in the first Super Bowl overtime.
Mr. Trump did not attend the game, opting for a traditional Super-Bowl-watching party near his Mar-a-Lago vacation home in South Florida. (Social media users dissected a picture of Mr. Trump and his family not looking enthusiastic at a table there and took sometimes harsh note of Mr. Trump’s departure with nearly an hour and a half left in the game.)
Vice President Mike Pence attended the game and drew some boos when he was shown on a stadium screen talking with James Baker, who served as secretary of state under former President George Bush. Mr. Bush did the opening coin toss from a wheelchair on the field, accompanied by the former first lady Barbara Bush.
A succession of commercials with themes of inclusion, immigration and multiculturalism were seen by many viewers as commentary on Trump’s executive orders restricting immigration and his calls for a wall along the Mexican border.
One commercial made by Anheuser-Busch follows the path of one of the company’s co-founders, Adolphus Busch, as he immigrated from Germany to the United States. The ad was criticized by some right-leaning commentators who created a hashtag, #BoycottBudweiser.
The actor Morgan Freeman appeared in a commercial for Turkish Airlines, speaking…