You'd be hard-pressed to find a better performance of the national anthem in recent memory, as Renee Fleming was superb before the start of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.
It was the first time in Super Bowl history that an opera singer performed the national anthem, which seems a bit surprising. You'd think the NFL would have gone to this well once before. She was a nice change of pace from the laundry list of pop and rock singers we see every year.
Here's to hoping that Fleming isn't the last opera singer, because she provided fans with a thrilling rendition.
Nobody could have watched that performance and been disappointed. Nothing will probably top Whitney Houston at Super Bowl XXV, but Fleming came pretty darn close.
As you'd expect with such a fantastic performance before the biggest sporting event of the year, the interwebs were abuzz.
Bethlehem Shoals made light of Fleming's rather unique wardrobe:
Did someone TP Renee Fleming?— Bethlehem Shoals (@freedarko) February 2, 2014
Of course, everybody was wondering whether Fleming would break the record for longest national anthem before the Super Bowl. Alicia Keys performed it in 156 seconds last year, setting the standard. Many expected Fleming to smash that time.
However, ESPN's Darren Rovell timed her rendition at only 2:03:
Renee Fleming sings the National Anthem in 2:03. Hits the under at every sportsbook that offered the prop.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) February 2, 2014
Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch said that Fleming looked more like Usain Bolt than an opera singer:
That is a Usain Bolt-like performance from Renee Fleming.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) February 2, 2014
Despite the national anthem not going over the record, Not Bill Walton joked that the Super Bowl would spill over into Monday after all of the pregame festivities:
After the anthem, we'll have the Seahawks v. Broncos game on Monday Night Football.— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) February 2, 2014
Steve Martin highlighted the effortless nature with which Fleming sang:
Hooray for Renee! Fantastic. Notes that trick others she glided by.— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) February 2, 2014
Upon the completion of the anthem, NFL Network's Rich Eisen had a succinct and patriotic response. This is one of those days that make you proud to be an American:
I love this country.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) February 2, 2014
SI's Chris Burke said he had goosebumps. It's unlikely he was the only one:
Man. Legit goosebumps on that anthem.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) February 2, 2014
Doug Farrar of SI also praised Fleming for her performance:
Now, THAT was an anthem.— SI_DougFarrar (@SI_DougFarrar) February 2, 2014
ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne thought that MetLife Stadium should check to make sure that all the doors are still on their hinges:
Wooooow. Renee Flemming just blew the doors off— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 2, 2014
It will be interesting to see how the NFL follows this up next year. It's pretty clear that Fleming set the bar, so you pity the poor performer who has to top that.