The Super Bowl is a strange experience when compared to most other American television events. It is one night that decides the champions of the NFL, but it is also more that. There is this culture built around going to parties to watch what happens no matter if the people going to the party even care about who wins. They bring food, talk before the game, and fill out little squares on a poster to guess what the score is going to be after each quarter and at the end of the game. You make small amounts of money on this thing and I think that is really what sports has become today, a way to gamble. That isn’t something I want to get into though, because breaking down every piece of why there is so much blatant gambling in society sounds like a whole philosophical essay, and I am not really a philosophically (hey, look that’s a word) minded person.
I am just an observer of this strange event that happens once a year to watch the Patriots win or lose against whichever NFC team is willing to take on the challenge of seeing if they can piss off Tom Brady. I just think it is odd even how the viewing of this game takes place, because unless the game is swayed on way or another, you cannot talk when plays are happening. You also cannot converse with those around you or you might miss one of the million-dollar advertisements that really can be the highlight of the game. There is a lot going on in the Super Bowl, but one of the main things is that the commercials are often some of the funniest and most known advertisements in the history of television.
From Budweiser’s Beer Bowl series in the ‘80s, to the current run of Dorito’s commercials that are on an exceptional run of whatever they are thinking about, there is just so much the ads can do, from trying to be dramatic to the typical laugh your ass off strategy. But, companies like Coke have decided that it is a good idea to dampen the mood and run political commercials about how we are all the same and need to work together to make the world a better place. While I agree with that sentiment and think that taking shots at conservative ideals is always fun, it can be odd when watching that after a commercial for Farmer’s Meet (a website designed to get farmers to meet their future spouse). It seems like an unnecessary site and there does not seem to be any communication between the different advertisers on how they want to make the commercials, and in order to make their ads stand out in a way they normally don’t, I find it to actually make much of the viewing experience a bit jarring.
I love the funny commercials and I am not nearly manly enough to stop myself from crying at anything moderately sad. So, when I see something like Coke making commercial about how families need to stay together in this messed up world I hide by the food table and cry into the seven-layer dip that whoever brought and walk away before people start asking why it tastes like sadness. So, the viewing of these commercials can at times make the game that people go to watch almost seem like the break between the commercials that actually make us laugh and cry and come together to talk about and make videos about the next day. Or, in some cases like the Mountain Dew Kick Start commercial with the Puppy-Monkey-Baby from two years ago, scream in terror and cry for out mothers to save us from this infernal hell that we have been transported to.
The Super Bowl also has a strange way they convey their halftime, as instead of just watching some men we don’t pay attention to talk about what the teams need to do in order to come back and win the game, we do that and then watch some celebrity do an average performance in a stadium with no acoustics. People will then complain about how Beyoncé (I love how spellcheck knows the queen’s name) wasn’t as good as she was at the Grammy’s last year, and it’s just like yeah, because that was in a concert hall. This is a place made for being loud, so the quarterback cannot announce his order to his soldiers. All the sound just bounces back at you and gets lost in this loud boisterous group of people who seem to only know how to be quiet when the National Anthem tells them it is time to be patriotic for two minutes because this country allows them to spend all their money to come to this game and sit in the one-billionth row up way back in the quarter so you might be able make out which one is the player you really want to see in real life.
I’m sitting here making fun of every aspect of this weird game that takes more precedent than any other championship in America, or any Awards show, and yet I know that I will be watching it as soon as it comes on. I will cheer with everybody and laugh at commercials, because it is hard not to be swept into this strange cultural experience. To not be captivated by this one game that makes people who do not watch football the rest of the year care, and take sides, is just something not other event seems to be able to do. I will root for the team I think is most likely to lose, because who doesn’t love an underdog? Not to mention that I grew up a fan of the Lions, so I know that I will always need to find a second team to live vicariously through because of course I will. The Lions may never make the playoffs, but who knows. That is the joy of sports I think. It’s the fact that everybody needs to know what happens next, so that we can tell the stories of what we saw that day.
Garrett Eicher, Super Bowl Fan