“The biggest gap in sports is the difference between the winner and the loser of the Super Bowl.”
The Super Bowl, a game that is the ultimate diversion from the world around us. A slice of Americana, right up there with the 4th of July, it is a trademark of our American culture.
When Super Bowl 50 (the first version to snub roman numerals) kicks off at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA Sunday night at 6:30 p.m., the AFC Champion, Denver Broncos will face the NFC Champion, Carolina Panthers to determine who will take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy, emblematic of the best team in the most popular sport in the country.
I’m sure not many Patriots fans are amped up for this game, but it’s hard for me not to get excited for Super Bowl Sunday. Growing up, I was used to watching teams like the 49ers and Cowboys dominate on the biggest stage in football. During that stretch, my team’s best year came in 1994 and a wild card loss to the Cleveland Browns coached by…Bill Belichick.
Flash forward to 2016, and the Patriots have spoiled us with four Super Bowl Championships, and seven appearances in the last 20 years largely thanks to the aforementioned Mr. Belichick.
So why should you watch? Peer pressure. Literally everyone else in the country is.
Seven of the eight most watched programs in U.S. television history have been Super Bowls. Likely to be outdone tonight, at the top of that list is last years Patriots win over the Seattle Seahawks which was viewed by 168 million viewers. That’s more than the 2015 World Series, NBA Finals and Oscars, combined.
In 1967, the cost of a 40-second television ad for
Super Bowl I* was $42,000. For Super Bowl 50, the price will be upwards of $5,000,000 or $166,000 per second.
* The first game wasn’t even called “Super Bowl”. It was referred to as the First AFL-NFL World Championship Game.
Ticket prices back in 1967 went for about $12, and more than half of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was empty. Similar seats at Levi’s Stadium are going for $2,500 with even standing room seats sold out. Super Inflation!
According to the NFL Network, they’re will be 7.5 million Super Bowl parties tonight where over 12.5 million pizzas will be ordered, not to mention the 325.5 million gallons of beer. It’s estimated that 1.25 billion chicken wings, 19.4 million pounds of potato chips, 4.3 million pounds of pretzels, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn, and 79 million avocados will be consumed.
I need brioschi just thinking about it.
And even if you don’t tune in to CBS, you’re unlikely to avoid the noise. Social media will make sure of that. Last year there were over 28.4 million tweets. Facebook had over 265 million posts, likes and comments in reference to the game.
In case you still don’t feel like watching, and joining in on an unofficial National holiday, just remember, with four Lombardi trophies sitting at Patriot Place in Foxboro, the Super Bowl is now part of our heritage.
So, enjoy the ability to watch a Super Bowl with minimal angst because next year, most likely, you won’t be so lucky.
Christian A. Guarino, a Boston North End resident, writes about football and soccer for the Boston Post Gazette.