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The Takeaway: Why Is Madonna's Age (Or Coach Coughlin's) Such A Big Deal?

Madonna Is 53: Here's the first thing my 55-year-old mother said to me when I talked to her after the Super Bowl last night:

Did you see the halftime show? Madonna was so good. And very age-appropriate.

She went on about Madonna's age-appropriateness for several minutes; I chalked this up to some weird quirk of my mother's. But it turns out she wasn't the only one focusing on Madonna's age last night-far from it. The New York Times review of last night's halftime performance is titled " No Longer An Upset: Madonna Acts Her Age" and opens: The bad girl is a grown-up now. One of the most-used phrases on Twitter last night? " Madonna is 53."

The tone of the age-focus on Madonna has been mostly positive. People are expressing admiration for Madonna's body, her gymnastic ability, her kick-butt performance and her " stylish but hardly provocative" outfits. Of course, I can't help but wonder if the male halftime performers of the past few years-Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Sting-received as much age scrutiny (t hough it's also hard to imagine anyone saying Keith Richards looks good for his age...)? And a portion of the age commentary has been snarky or downright mean ("Madonna almost falls off step on stage; I'm sure her AARP health plan covers that stuff," columnist Norman Chad quipped).

There's no doubt that Madonna is continuing a recent trend of older acts taking to the spotlight for the Super Bowl halftime show. Business Insider notes that from 1992-2003, the average age of the Super Bowl halftime act was 38 years old. In the eight Super Bowls since 2003, the average age of the halftime musical performers has been 55.

And could Super Bowl coaches be trending up in years, as well? The Giants' head coach, Tom Coughlin, is 65-making him the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl and the second oldest to win an NFL Championship (oldest was George Halas, at 68, for the 1963 Bears), according to the Wall Street Journal. A lot of folks have speculated that the Super Bowl win would be the perfect retirement backdrop for Coughlin. But the coach has no such plans.

I feel good," Coughlin said. "Retire to do what?"

Monday Quick Hits: 

  • And Betty White outshines relative youngsters Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine in a Super Bowl ad for 'The Voice.'

Photo: Jeff Haynes/Reuters

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