Busted Halo
feature: entertainment & lifestyle
January 27th, 2014

The Super Bowl…How Super Is It?

 
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A football signed by the Denver Broncos and presented to Pope Francis. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A football signed by the Denver Broncos and presented to Pope Francis. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

We often hear of things being super, but how super are they really? Superstorm Sandy was not any fun for people in the Northeast. Superman isn’t even a real human person, only a character of comic and film fiction. And the Super Mario Bros. don’t have anything on me and my two brothers. (Please… we can jump higher and grow better mustaches.) But the Super Bowl? That might actually be worthy of being called “super.”

It’s Super Pop Cultural

Although the Super Bowl is really just a football game, is it so much more than that. The Super Bowl is one of the most watched athletic events on television every year. It carries with it many pop subcultures. Super Bowl commercials are often more watched and talked about than the game itself. Many people literally watch the game for the commercials.

The game has a show-stopping halftime performance. The biggest names in music and entertainment are tapped to entertain millions at one of sports’ largest events. Beyoncé’s performance last year was so monumental that I know some people who referred to the Super Bowl as the football game around the Beyoncé concert. The Super Bowl halftime show can be career-making (or sometimes breaking — have the Black Eyed Peas recovered yet?)

The Super Bowl is a super big deal for the host city — even this year for the New York/New Jersey metro area, despite the fact that it already has every entertainment industry present in full force. When I was in college in San Diego, we hosted the Super Bowl and it was a huge deal in the city. We were all talking about it for a year before it even happened. There’s something special about hosting the country (and the world) through hosting the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl Sunday is basically a holiday. Many people call in sick to work the day after or are at least less productive. Also, it’s a major event to spend with others. No one wants a friend to be alone for the Super Bowl — it’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas. For weeks leading up to it, the big topic of conversation is, “What are you doing for the big game?”

The Super Bowl is also a big deal for the teams playing. I haven’t heard people talk about Seattle and Denver this much in a long time. (Both charming and beautiful places by the way.) The Super Bowl team cities get exposure in ways unparalleled outside of sport.

It’s Super Social

Super Bowl Sunday is a major social event. It’s basically a holiday. Many people call in sick to work the day after or are at least less productive. Also, it’s a major event to spend with others. No one wants a friend to be alone for the Super Bowl — it’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas. For weeks leading up to it, the big topic of conversation is, “What are you doing for the big game?” There are Super Bowl parties, bars and restaurants dedicated to the Super Bowl teams, and commercial parties (when talking is only permitted during game play). There is a social gathering for everyone on Super Bowl Sunday.

And social media goes berserk (#SuperBowl #SB48 #NFL #AdScrimmage). People comment on everything: random plays, fashion, performances, hating or loving a certain player or coach or city (oh and of course the commercials too). Some even turn to social media in protest of the Super Bowl (#iheardtherewasafootballgametoday). There really is no escaping the media super storm of the Super Bowl.

It’s Super Exciting

Regardless of your opinions on sports, media and pop culture, the Super Bowl is super exciting. Where else do so many worlds collide and play out on an actual field through sport? Also, the Super Bowl is a one-shot deal for all the marbles. The World Series, NBA and NHL Championships are all played out in a series of games. But the Super Bowl is just one game, winner takes all. Unlike other championships, this game is played away at a neutral (pre-determined) site. Fans from each team traverse the country to support their hometown heroes. Not only do they cheer, but they show up in droves decked out in team gear from head to toe. Their energy is contagious, their devotion unparalleled. And it’s all for the joy and love of this game, this super game!

It Can Be Super Spiritual

All the elements are there: 1) family and friends gathering in community and sharing food, 2) celebrating the God-given talents of athletes, entertainers and marketing associates, 3) a common experience that unites all who participate, and 4) rituals and practices that transcend the event itself. With the proper approach, the Super Bowl is also super spiritual. This year on Super Bowl Sunday, go out and find your version of what makes this game so incredibly super.

 
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The Author : Craig Smith
A California native, Craig has been a lifelong recipient and practitioner of Catholic education and is a lover of all sports, especially tennis. He holds bachelor's degrees in theology and religious studies and Spanish from the University of San Diego. Craig also has a master’s degree in theology from Boston College and a master’s degree in Catholic school administration from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in religious education at Fordham University.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Edward Thompson

    The better question to ask is whether the Super Bowl and NFL games in general are moral or immoral. Too many players die young or are permanently disabled due to the trauma of getting repeat concussions during their careers. The NFL has failed to recognize the seriousness of these lifelong injuries until players have brought a series of lawsuits against the league. What to do now? Enjoy the game, but pray that these players don’t incur serious injuries as a result. Maybe someday, there will be improved equipment to reduce these horrendous impacts. Also change the culture of the defense not to ‘kill’ the opponent, while stopping his advance up the field.

  • Catherine

    Great job, Mr. Smith. Your take on things is refreshing!

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