Super Bowl advertisers focused on light and humorous spots this year to offer its audience an escape from the ongoing “heavy news” climate with Groundhog’s Day spoofs, Boston accents, surreal weirdness, and plenty of snack foods.

The real reason February 2 is an occasion for feasting. Groundhog Day enthusiasts will tell you that for decades there has only been one groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, even though groundhogs only live for six years or so. In a similar way, it can feel like there’s always a single distraction in American culture; we just keep switching out the bodies. Our fresh amusements or outrages are periodically lifted up by the next man with a top hat, making it especially appropriate that the groundhog celebration coincides this year with the pageantry of Super Bowl Sunday. What makes February 2…

In a winning season, Earl Smith also saw the team grow in faith. This year’s Super Bowl–bound San Francisco 49ers remind Earl Smith of the family-like unity the Golden State Warriors had when they won the NBA Finals in 2015. And Smith would know. He serves as the chaplain for both teams. From society’s perspective, Smith has ministered to the greatest and the least. His work as a chaplain started in California’s San Quentin State Prison, where he witnessed 12 executions and played chess with prisoners including Charles Manson. More recently, it has brought him to the sidelines of professional…