By Michael Hicks
We’ll sit in front of the television, we’ll invite over friends and family, and we’ll throw back a few drinks all in the process.
It’s Super Sunday when you and yours get together and for three-plus hours to watch a bunch of multimillion dollar commercials. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. In between all those commercials there’s actually a football game — this year Super Bowl XLIII and a halftime performance by Bruce Springsteen.
Unlike any other sporting event, the NFL’s annual championship game is a big draw. People will stop what they’re doing, even if they don’t care who wins or loses. It’s that big of a spectacle, even if most of the 70,000-plus seats that were sold for this year’s festivities in Tampa, Fla., went to the upper class. Thanks, NFL.
That’s why the Super Bowl is more of a made-for-TV event. It’s pretty much the only way the actual fans will get to see the game because getting a ticket, well, that’s almost as hard, if not more so, than winning the lottery.
But we don’t care. When Faith Hill started singing “America the Beautiful” to the “National Anthem”, sung by Jennifer Hudson, to the opening coin toss with John Elway, Lynn Swann and Roger Craig participating, you almost forget there was a game about to be played. Super Sunday wasn’t a football game. The pomp and circumstance made this an event like none other on the sports calendar all year long.
Not the World Series. Not the Final Four. Not the Stanley Cup finals. Nothing compares to the Super Bowl. Ask most people what happened at the World Series, Final Four or Stanley Cup finals and they’re not likely to tell you much. But ask them about the Super Bowl and they’ll be able to tell you something, even if it was their favorite commercial. That’s the NFL’s media machine working at full speed. How else can you explain it?
If you’re like me, you probably didn’t have much of a rooting interest in the game. The outcome was somewhat meaningless unless you happened to be a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals. I’m a fan of neither, though I openly cheered for the underdog Cardinals. Not so much because I wanted to see them win as much as I wanted to see the Steelers lose. But there were more selfish reasons for that as the Steelers shared along with my beloved Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers the record for most Super Bowl titles with five each.
But, truthfully, it didn’t matter which team won the game. By the way, the Steelers won 27-23 and Pittsburgh wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who caught nine passes for 131-yards and the game-winning TD with 42 seconds left, was named the MVP. I was going to watch even if I didn’t have much interest in the outcome. It’s the Super Bowl, and there’s nothing like it.