Let’s begin with a brief history lesson.

Historically, football has always been a favorite American pastime. The first Super Bowl ever was the result of the American Football League and the NFL deciding to merge their two leagues after finding themselves competing for players and viewers. They broadcast their first national championship football game, dubbed the Super Bowl, in 1967. 

Cut to today, in 2016. The NFL’s Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos have bested the competition, and on Sunday February 7th, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the two teams will vie to be the Super Bowl’s 50th champion. There will be about 100,000 people in attendance and approximately 115 million people watching at home. Past Superbowls have been some of the most-watched broadcasts in the history of television. More than the series championships of all other sports + the Academy awards combined. More Americans watch the Superbowl than the presidential State of the Union address.

 

www.predictionmachine.comimagesCPNewsNewton-Manning-SuperBowl-50-53f529b46ddce89a0e2286afe36fc2c60926ef9fPhoto Credit: National Football Post

 

This event is, to say the least… a really big deal. But why, exactly?

The interest of the Super Bowl is less about watching a football game to see who wins; the meaning of it is a shared cultural experience and social event that nearly all Americans take part in. Not just for football fans, there is a whole culture behind this affair, and it is widely considered a national holiday. The typical way to celebrate is to have a party with your friends with comfort food and snacks, drink beer, place bets, and perhaps hope to make a little money. 

Even if you don’t tune in to watch the game, you will likely tune in to the halftime show. Some of the most epic musical performances in television’s history have taken place during the Super Bowl halftime show, giving the game a significance in pop culture. See the controversial Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake slip up in 2004, or the often-shared incredible Beyonce performance of 2013. This year, Coldplay will play at halftime with a rumored return special appearance by the Queen B. Lady Gaga will be performing the National Anthem before the game.

 

500286_1280x720Photo Credit: Katy Perry performing at the halftime show in 2014, abc7ny

 

The Super Bowl is the only television event where people get excited for the commercials. Given its massive reach, advertisers shell out insane amounts of dough for airtime during the broadcast, paying millions for a 30 second spot. Consumers are willing to pay attention, it seems, as airtime during the Super Bowl has had a proven effect on sales (Budweiser, for example). For this reason, the Super Bowl has the best – the most entertaining and most artful – commercials because advertisers are giving their very best stuff. 

So in the end, the reason is simple: The Super Bowl is a big deal because it unites the country. Actually, it’s more like a a national festival, with press coverage of the athletes and sports broadcasts inundating all media for the week leading up to the game. Even the players are celebrities in American culture. Football stars such as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have become famous figures with high-profile relationships, endorsement deals, and TV appearances.

Maybe it’s because it’s a giant party for the whole country that everyone will be participating in, in some way or another. Maybe it’s because a day sanctioned for drinking beer and watching sports is a much needed stress reliever. Maybe it’s because we cannot look away from the spectacle of celebrities, musical performances, and fighter jet flyovers during the game. Whatever the reason, it’s a countrywide celebration of entertainment, pop culture, and sports, and we plan to enjoy it! 

 

super-bowl-food-63beff3d2c617b71Photo Credit: NJ

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