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Viewpoint: What's with the Super Bowl?

There is a certain time of year when family and friends gather together. They dress up themselves, their houses, their cars, and often even their pets and children with festive clothing and decorations. Common snack items at the local grocery store go on simultaneous discount. Bakery aisles fill with colorful and festive cupcakes and cakes. The news clamors to report on scandalous and expensive TV commercials, interesting bets between mayors and Utah apes predicting future outcomes.

It is Super Bowl Sunday. And whether or not you have any interest in American football at all, it’s impossible to avoid.

It seems that every year, the Super Bowl becomes less of another big sports game and more of some sort of weird American holiday, only without the given day off since it’s on a Sunday. This year, the local Super Bowl hype has been even greater with the semi-local Denver Broncos making it into the game.

The Super Bowl isn’t a sports game. It’s a cultural phenomenon. So big that companies are willing to spend millions for often less than 30 seconds of screen time in between the plays. So big that some people only turn on their TVs to watch those commercials or to tune in to Animal Planet to watch puppies. Some workplaces host tailgate parties on the Friday before. The smart co-workers hit up Costco and Sam’s Club for the samples during lunch, as the stores know this is another time of year they’ll be selling loads of food to party planners.

It’s likely so big not because of the sport itself. Lots of people who watch the Super Bowl and participate in the festivities don’t really “get” football. They don’t understand the appeal of watching the game. They’re usually only into it because of the food and the family and friends who are, and it’s difficult not to get caught up in the hype. Besides, many people would never want to say no to a chance to have a bit of fun and party. 

On the other hand, it’s ingrained into our society from movies and TV shows where the football jocks are the cool kids and dating the cheerleaders. When we think of jocks, we think of large boys and men in letter jackets. No other sport in high school and college gets the headline and focus during Homecoming Week and the homecoming dance. We’re raised to focus on football.

Maybe we’re not entirely weird, though. Lots of countries get excited over sports like hockey and soccer. We just happen to have a weird sport that no one else really plays. Maybe it’s because it’s such an odd sport to the rest of the world that we thoroughly enjoy it alongside our Fahrenheit and weird measuring system. Besides, everyone needs a hobby.

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