A record 166 million pounds of wings, 75% of American households tuning in, half a billion dollars generated in ads alone, two pro teams contending to be crowned champion, what else could it be but the Super Bowl?
Even with average viewership declining annually, the “Big Game” still has no equal when it comes to bringing football fans together. Despite if your favorite team was knocked out of the running long ago, missing the Super Bowl can seem sacrilegious to some. What makes this game so much different though, is it just the amount of money spent on marketing, could it be the spectacle, is it really the strongest two teams clamoring to be the best? Maybe it is just the chance to witness something historical, the moments of the Super Bowl that leave fans screaming and cheering; bouncing around in their living rooms with barefaced joy.
Of course, not every Super Bowl is like this. Not every Super Bowl has that stunning half time show; complete with juicy controversy to discuss after hours. There are those years where we aren’t presented with clever, entertaining ads that delight in the games break-time. There have even been times where the game has failed to impress the most devoted gridiron addict. Yet, we still watch; every year, legions of people gathering together to celebrate a night of sportsmanship and chip dipping. Always giving a second chance to the game that does it all.
This year, Super Bowl LI sure as hell provided, but the game started risky. Last night was looking to become a runaway spectacle. The Atlanta Falcons were just chipping away at the New England Patriots’ hopes of winning, scoring the first three touchdowns of the night. Rallying his team, Tom Brady was able to recover from a 25-point difference; earning the Patriots another record of biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. Even myself, one of the most unacquainted, uninformed people to ever write a football article, saw the skill these two teams exhibited. The way the Falcons stripped the ball over and over from the Patriots in the first half, or the last second catch Julian Edelman miraculously made; the ball was literally a mere inch from the ground.
The new camera drones that were placed all over the field allowed for some of the best sports shots that I’ve ever seen on television, at one moment I witnessed the absolute lethargy of the Patriots defense team; a close up of the sweaty, fatigued players just screamed how badly the plays were going for them. Near the end, the suspense kept rising and rising, reaching its apex at the two-point conversion leading into overtime; the Patriots had officially comeback from the gutters.
Like I said though, not every game is like this, there were even years that the Super Bowl was just the ultimate drab disappointment of the year; no great comeback, no fanfare, no grand stand showing of skill. Sometimes, to our woe, it’s just a game on a Sunday night. If you think about it though, people aren’t just excited about who will win. The game itself isn’t the only thing the crowd thinks about. This is the mysticism and the excitement of the Super Bowl. Its families getting together, buddies spending time with each other. Its watching ad culture reach its peak, an endless list of festivities that include food, sports, music, celebrities, controversy, and company; a culmination of cheerful content that rivals the festivals of old. Even the people that do not watch the Super Bowl, in the back of their heads know not only that the game is happening but that they are missing it.
What makes us watch the Super Bowl is that holiday-esque feeling and the chance, like the flipping of a coin, that this game is just going to destroy all expectations. That maybe, just maybe, a moment will inspire and enchant even the most reserved of people to jump and holler and scream at the top of their lungs. Moments that I know were experienced this year, I saw them all over Facebook. That’s what makes the Game special, the fact that every year people put their faith in two awesome teams to go out there and make some freaking history.