SUPERBOWL IS PART OF OUR CULTURE

Posted: February 3, 2013 in thomas t fields jr.
Tags: , , , , , ,

We have just completed Super Bowl XLVII . The symbol XLVII is ancient Roman for the number 47 and nothing could be more appropriate than the use of Roman numerals to represent a part of the most anticipated sporting event in America and which is quickly gaining popularity around the world. Just as the Romans waited in great anticipation for the games in the coliseum to begin, we likewise build up our emotions into a crescendo that culminates with the blowing of a whistle and two armies of titans race toward each other and clash at mid-field.
This hype and hysteria has not all ways been present. Today many millions more households will watch the Super Bowl than voted for the presidential election in November. Sunday night saw churches announce that services would be postponed and many a travel plan was changed to accommodate the broadcast. Activities in 1967, the year of Super Bowl I were quite different than the mega performances we witness today.
The Super Bowl was a reaction to the merger of the National Football League and the American Football League. This merger brought together what many thought to be an inferior AFL team to play a vastly superior NFL team and thus prove which conference had the best football team; the best football team in professional foot ball. The first two super bowls were proving this theory to be true. Vince Lombardi and his Green Bay Packers rolled into the first two Super Bowls and the merger of the two leagues was actually in jeopardy. The Packers were truly dominating the sport to the point that the winning Super Bowl team is presented the Lombardi Trophy. Then Super Bowl III was played and enter a swaggering, playboy, self confident, Bear Bryant trained quarterback from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Standing with his New York Jets behind him he proclaimed, “After this game no one will take the Baltimore Colts serious again”. Not only did this prophetic statement prove true, solidified the merger of the NFL and the AFL and launched Broadway Joe Namath into the hearts and spotlight of a nation; this statement also provided a line I used on several occasions during softball playoff games half a world away.
In the beginning, tickets were not difficult to obtain. The hype was not what it is today and the commercials were nothing special. All that has changed. Super Bowl Sunday is like a national holiday. The second largest yearly food consumption day is Super Bowl Sunday. This is second only behind Thanksgiving. In 2011 111 million viewers watched the Super Bowl and thus became the most watched presentation in television history and relegated the finale of MASH to number two. This year it is predicted that 150 million viewers will watch Baltimore battle San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII.
I am writing this a couple of hours before kick off. I don’t want to know the outcome of the game before submitting the article and thus diminish the anticipation. The hype is building up. Every one is pumped about the game, the commercials, half time the cheerleaders and all the food that will be consumed today. But what it all comes down to is a whistle blowing and two armies of titans clashing at mid-field, this will never change.

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